January 2015

NMDC newsletter: January 2015
 
    nmdc  
 
 
  NMDC newsletter: January 2015
 
 
 
 
  In this month's edition:  
 
 
  NMDC Chair receives CBE in the New Years Honours list

Arts Council places greater emphasis on diversity

Better than Prozac? Peter Bazalgette says arts underpin good health

Inspirational founder of the Beamish Museum dies

Review of the Spoliation Advisory Panel

New £3m exhibition space for MOSI

Money from bankers fines to fund IWM Duxford

Chancellor awards £141m to ‘Olympicopolis’

British Library among the partners as new Cultural Quarter arises at King’s Cross

Taking Part Adult statistics released

Sajid Javid says culture must not get sucked into political boycotts

Birmingham Museums face cuts as Birmingham Library loses half its staff

Arts Fundraising and philanthropy programme launches

Wellcome takes online collections further with Mindcraft
 
 
 
  Section headings:  
 
 
  NMDC news  |  Social impact of culture  |  Appointments, resignations, obituary  |  Cultural Property  |  Funding  |  Awards  |  Rise of the Cultural Quarters  |  Statistics  |  The politics of culture  |  Paradise Lost  |  Events  |  Tech  |  Exhibition highlights 2015  |  And finally…  |  Jobs  
 
 
  NMDC news  
 
 
Sonic the Hedgehog heralds the forthcoming National Museums Scotland Games Master
 
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  NMDC Chair receives CBE in the New Years Honours list  
 
 
NMDC Chair and Director-General of the Imperial War Museums Diane Lees was awarded a CBE in the New Years Honours list for services to museums.  Her award follows the successful re-opening of the Imperial War Museum in Lambeth in July 2014, and the pivotal role IWM has played in marking the Centenary of the First World War. 
 
Also: David Verey, until recently Chair of The Art Fund, received a Knighthood for services to arts philanthropy, and Michael Day, Chief Executive of Historic Royal Palaces received a CVO. Bridget McConnell, Chief Executive of Glasgow Life (which includes Glasgow Museums), was awarded a CBE, as were Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of the South Bank Centre, and Alan Davey, former Chief Executive of Arts Council England and now Controller of BBC Radio 3.  Ann Carter, Project Director for the re-development of the Imperial War Museum, was awarded an MBE, as was Kate Pugh, CEO of the Heritage Alliance and Bruce Minto Chairman, Board of Trustees, National Museums Scotland.  Carol Rogers, Executive Director at National Museums Liverpool, received an MBE for establishing the House of Memoriesproject. Other MBE winners were Andrew Wallis Curator, The Guards Museum and Gurmel Singh Kandola Chief Executive, National Sikh Museum, Derby.  Many congratulations to all.  Museums Journal, Guardian (full list)  
 
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  2015 Working Internationally Conference  
 
 
ICOM UK, NMDC and York Museums Trust will host the third Working Internationally Conference on 5th March 2015 at The Hospitium in York. This is the first time that the Conference has been located outside London, and is an opportunity for those involved in museums' international work to share information and good practice, discover new developments, and network.
 
The programme for 2015 has five themes:
 
  • International audiences: with a focus on inbound tourists.
  • International partnerships: working with India and Europe.
  • Practicalities of international work: managing the risks to objects, people, finances and reputation.
  • Putting funding packages together: case studies.
  • Recent developments: Arts Council England and international work.
 
The cost of the one-day conference is £35 per person including morning tea and coffee, lunch and a post-conference tour of the newly refurbished York Art Gallery. Tickets and the outline of the programme are available here: http://2015workinginternationallyconference.eventbrite.co.uk
 
Also: The Working Internationally Regional Project is offering five travel bursaries of up to £200 each to support the cost of travelling to the 2015 Working Internationally Conference.  One bursary will be awarded in each Arts Council England region (London, East, South West, Midlands, North) and priority will be given to applications from regional non-Major Partner Museums and smaller museums who have participated in the WIRP Workshops in 2014/15.  An application form and guidelines are available on the ICOM UK website and the deadline for applications is 26th January 2015.  For further information, contact the WIRP Co-ordinator, Dana Andrew at [email protected] or 03330 143 875.  ICOM UK
 
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  Social impact of culture  
 
 
  Arts Council places greater emphasis on diversity  
 
 
In a speech which he described as the most important he had given as Chair of Arts Council England, Sir Peter Bazalgette said that from April 2015, it would become central for Arts Council funded organisations and Major Partner Museums to serve the diverse communities which surround them. 
 
Currently BME representation is 13% in the sector against a background of 15% of the population, with fewer than one in ten BME managers.  Sir Peter said progression is an issue: “For things to change, long term, they need to become more uncomfortable at the top.  We have to open up access to power and to resources.  Looking up, too many see the white cliff-face of the arts establishment and feel they just cannot climb it.  We can’t give people creative talent.  But we can and must give those with talent creative opportunities.”
 
From 2015, Arts Council England will:
 
  • Publish and comment on the diversity data from national portfolio organisations and major partner museums;
  • Monitor and support NPOs to make sure their programming reflects the diversity of the country;
  • Use the data from the next few years to inform funding decisions in the 2018 round.
 
Arts Council, Guardian
 
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  Better than Prozac? Peter Bazalgette says arts underpin good health  
 
 
Writing for the Guardian, Peter Bazalgette summarises examples of how the arts have a powerful role to play in increasing health and easing the pressures on the NHS.  He quotes the new NHS Chief Executive for England, Simon Stevens, who says that more is spent on curing obesity than preventing it.  Meanwhile in Arts Council England’s recent publication Create, John Ashton, Chief Executive of the Faculty of Public Health, writes, “Unhealthy people cost the taxpayer much more than investing in the kinds of activities, facilities and public environments that help prevent or ameliorate illness.”
 
Examples of arts led activities which impact on health include:
 
  • English National Ballet’s Dance for Parkinsons, which helps researchers investigating treatments for the condition
  • An NHS funded project in Gloucestershire which prescribes drama, music or painting rather than medication for anxiety, chronic pain, weight management and substance abuse. 
 
Estimates suggest that projects already underway may save the NHS half a billion pounds, and ACE is committed to further research in 2015.  ACE is also funding the National Council for Voluntary Organisations to help artists secure health-related commissions.  Guardian
 
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  ‘Mothers apart’ launch new exhibition at Mental Health Museum  
 
 
The Mental Health Museum in Wakefield which is within the grounds of an NHS Foundation Trust Hospital is launching a new exhibition in partnership with a local women’s centre.  The Mothers Apart project deals with the experience of women who live apart from their children.  The Museum's Curator Cara Sutherland said, “We’re really excited to welcome WomenCentre to the museum.  Their work makes a huge difference to the local community and I’d encourage anyone who is interested in finding out more about mental health to come down and visit the museum.”  Mental Health Museum
 
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  Welsh Government plans for reaching poorest regions with culture begins  
 
 
The Welsh Government's plan to ensure that Wales’ poorest children are reached by the arts has begun with projects in Swansea.  Local authorities will fund part of the work.  The Welsh Local Government Association agreed that “community access to cultural services has an integral role to play in tackling poverty…” but that “Wales’ cultural services have taken some of the hardest financial hits”. The actor Michael Sheen is also quoted as saying that putting on plays alone will not tackle poverty, and that other policy interventions are necessary.  BBC
 
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  Five star reviews for immersive National Gallery film  
 
 
The film maker Frederick Wiseman has brought his immersive, fly on the wall approach to film making to the National Gallery.  The eponymous three hour film shows the public face and interior functions of the institution, drawing a bunch of five star reviews.
 
After praising Wiseman’s approach Variety becomes equally enthusiastic about the National Gallery itself:
 
“In fact, National Gallery proves what a terrific job the museum does in opening itself to the public, not just via lectures and exhibitions (such as the hugely popular Leonardo da Vinci show) but also through concerts, life-model sketch classes, workshops for teachers, and even hands-on experiences for the blind.  Pushing the museum off its pedestal is a foolish notion when surely the goal should be to make people aware that what’s on that pedestal can communicate directly with them, if they give it the time to do so.”
 
Meanwhile the Telegraph praises the “good value” staff and their “chatty erudition” and the Independent admires the guides adding “the overall impression he gives is of a museum that is thriving in spite of continuing questions over its funding and identity.” Variety, Telegraph, Independent, Guardian
 
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  Appointments, resignations, obituary  
 
 
  Appointments  
 
 
Dr Nicholas Cullinan has been appointed new Director of the National Portrait Gallery in London.  Dr Cullinan left the Tate in 2013 to join the Metropolitan Museum of Art as curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.  He returns to London to head the National Portrait Gallery in spring 2015.  National Portrait Gallery, Museums Journal
 
Darren Henley has been announced as the new Chief Executive of the Arts Council.  He is the author of 27 books about music and the arts, and has led Classic FM since 1999.  His predecessor Alan Davey left the Arts Council on 31st December and also resigns as Chair of the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies, a post which he held for five years.  Arts Council, IFACCA
 
Hadrian Ellory-van Dekker, currently Head of Collections at the Science Museum, has been appointed Chair of the Museum Accreditation Committee.  Arts Council
 
Chris Bryant has been appointed Shadow Minister for the Arts, replacing Helen Goodman.  Bryant is an associate of the National Youth Theatre, a former member of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, and is writing a history of the British aristocracy due out in 2016.  He described the post as “just about the best job there is”.  The Stage, Daily Mail
 
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  NMNI resignation  
 
 
Tim Cooke has resigned as Chief Executive of National Museums Northern Ireland, citing personal reasons.  He has been at NMNI for over ten years, overseeing major projects including the redevelopment of the Ulster Museum, which won the Art Fund Museum of the Year Award in 2010.  The BBC reports that an investigation is taking place following ‘an allegation of a serious breach of procedure’ by the former Chief Executive.  Museums Journal, BBC
 
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  Inspirational founder of the Beamish Museum dies  
 
 
Frank Atkinson, whose vision drove the creation of Beamish Museum, has died aged 90.  Believing that the social and industrial history of the North East was being gradually lost, he began the museum with a ‘no object refused’ collections policy for everyday items from the region, which were initially gathered in the attic of the Bowes Museum where he was then Director.  He became Director of the Beamish in 1970, and the following year accepted the whole of Rowley train station as a donation. Current Director Richard Evans said “he was a one off, a truly remarkable man, with boundless energy combined with a striking intellect and an infectious curiosity for history.” Beamish continues to acquire buildings, with a recently conceived project to produce a reconstructed Georgian Coaching Inn, and a public competition to choose a design for a 50s semi for their 1950s town.  Guardian, Beamish, BBC, Beamish (future plans), Beamish (nominate your 50s semi)
 
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  Cultural Property  
 
 
  Review of the Spoliation Advisory Panel  
 
 
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has announced an independent review into the work of the Spoliation Advisory Panel.  The Panel was set up to resolve claims for property lost during the Nazi era and now held in UK national collections.  The review is being led by Sir Paul Jenkins KCB QC in consultation with key stakeholders, and will cover all aspects of the Panel and its work including membership, terms of reference, working arrangements, relationship with DCMS and resourcing.
 
Written responses from museums with experience of the spoliation claim process are invited via this online survey.  To participate follow the link and enter validation code 10213243.  The deadline for responses is 19th January.  For further information or any queries contact [email protected]  DCMS
 
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  Funding  
 
 
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  New £3m exhibition space for MOSI  
 
 
Chancellor George Osborne has announced that the Treasury will be granting £3m to the Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester towards the creation of a new temporary exhibition gallery in the museum’s 1830 warehouse.  He made the announcement at the museum during a launch for Manchester’s designation as European City of Science 2016.  £800k has already been awarded to the project.  Manchester will also be the site of a new £235m science research centre, as part of a wider initiative to support northern science.  BBC, Manchester Evening News, Culture24
 
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  Money from bankers fines to fund IWM Duxford  
 
 
£8m paid in fines by bankers has been used by Chancellor George Osborne to invest in IWM Duxford.  The money will support IWM’s education and outreach departments, which were under threat in the face of major funding cuts.  The museum was given the money to cover education work until 2019 following an intervention by the local MP Andrew Lansley.  Granting the money, George Osborne wrote: "I agree that the educational work in support of schools undertaken by the Imperial War Museum (IWM) is something that we would not want to lose, and in particular the Duxford primary school site and its impressive tally of students taught each day.  As you know I am determined that the fines levied under LIBOR are used to help those who are most deserving.  I am convinced that we should be redistributing them in support of those who demonstrate the best of values; I think that the continuation of a project such as this undoubtedly fits the bill."  Cambridge News, Museums Journal, BBC
 
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  Norfolk Museums granted £1.4m for workhouse project  
 
 
The HLF has announced a grant of £1.4m to help Norfolk Museums Service display its 1,000-strong nationally significant collection of objects associated with workhouses.  The new displays will be at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse, which was once one of 22 workhouses across Norfolk, and is now a museum.  Robyn Llewellyn of HLF said “Voices from the Workhouse explores themes that are still so relevant today and will give Gressenhall’s nationally significant collection a new lease of life.”  HLF
 
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  Woolly rhinos and more sporting history in major Weston Park Museum makeover  
 
 
Weston Park Museum in Sheffield has successfully applied for HLF support for a gallery makeover.  £697k will fund changes to the About Art and History Lab galleries, updates to the Sheffield Life & Times and What on Earth display spaces, as well as an upstairs picnic space.  After feedback from visitors, sporting history and archaeological finds will be more prominently displayed.  HLF, Museums Journal
 
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  EU announce funding to explore cultural heritage and European identities  
 
 
The EU has announced a fund of €17.5m to explore cultural heritage and European identities.  Work funded by the grant will explore how more effective research in social science and the humanities can be used to improve European society.  Broad ranging consortia including researchers, businesses and social institutions are invited to apply, with ideas to both harness the research methods used in STEM subjects and to move beyond them with approaches specific to social science and the humanities.  EU
 
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  Court tells Tate to reveal details of BP sponsorship  
 
 
Following a hearing at the Information Tribunal, Tate has been given 35 days to reveal the extent of BP sponsorship of its work from 1990–2006, as well as details of internal decision making underpinning the sponsorship. 
 
The ruling from the Information Tribunal said “The long standing relationship between BP and Tate is controversial.  Only when the public are fully informed about how much money Tate actually receives from the company, can a properly informed debate take place about whether BP is an appropriate sponsor for the art gallery and its work.”  Anna Galkina of the group Platform, which pursued the case said that BP gained a “veneer of respectability” from Tate sponsorship adding “Tate can do without BP, considering the deal is likely worth less than 0.5% of Tate’s budget. ” Rejecting the idea that the disclosures would lead to health and safety risks from further protest, the tribunal nevertheless said that Tate had “gone through the requests painstakingly and had bent over backwards to be as open as it could, and had disclosed a great deal of information”.  Guardian, Arts Industry (subscription only)
 
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  HLF gets back to the garden with new year funding  
 
 
Many of HLF’s first grants of 2015 are to continue their support for UK parks and gardens, maintaining public spaces which were often first created by Victorians.  Seven public parks will receive £20.6m. They include Stanmer Park, Brighton and Canon Hall and Park in Barnsley. HLF
 
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  Awards  
 
 
  Marketing Excellence Awards offered for Welsh museums and archives  
 
 
Marketing Excellence Awards 2015 have been announced to celebrate the successes of libraries, museums and archives in Wales who succeed in reaching new audiences, often on a limited budget, through innovative approaches to marketing.  There are prizes for partnership and Marketing Champion of the Year.  Winners will be announced on 27th February 2015.  Archives Wales
 
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  World Monuments Fund seeks WATCH listings for 2015  
 
 
The World Monuments Fund is seeking buildings or monuments under threat of damage or destruction to be included in its 2015 listings.  Although the body does not directly fund repairs, listings have helped $90m of support since 1996.  The deadline for 2015 referrals is 1st March 2015.  World Monuments Fund
 
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  Three UK museums in the running for EMYA  
 
 
Three UK museums are included in the 42-strong longlist from 20 countries for European Museum of the Year.  They are the Mary Rose Museum, National Football Museum and Titanic Belfast.  The award, which has been running for 37 years, includes a new prize for sustainability.  Judge Shirley Collier said "With many museums now also thinking seriously about sustainability - economic, environmental and social - the introduction of a new commendation for sustainability is timely."  The winners will be announced in mid May.  Museums Journal, EMYA
 
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  Rise of the Cultural Quarters  
 
 
  Chancellor awards £141m to ‘Olympicopolis’  
 
 
Chancellor George Osborne has announced that the government will invest £141m in evolving plans for a cultural hub in East London on the former Olympic Games site, nicknamed ‘Olympicopolis’ by London Mayor, Boris Johnson.  It is hoped the scheme will generate 3,000 jobs and £2.8bn of economic value in the area around Stratford.  The V&A outpost, E20, will occupy 20,000m2 with a museum space dedicated to design, architecture, art and performance, and documenting the history of digital design.  Guardian, Arts Industry (subscription only),
 
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  British Library among the partners as new Cultural Quarter arises at King’s Cross  
 
 
A new Knowledge Quarter has been launched in the King’s Cross area of London, bringing together 35 organisations including the British Library, British Museum, Guardian newspaper, Wellcome Trust and University of the Arts London.  The group will work to share innovation, ideas and research as well as working with local London government to support infrastructure projects.
 
The first major project will be the £42m Turing Institute for Data Science, which will also have outposts in universities around the country.  Chancellor George Osborne said “the institute will bring benefits to the whole country through partnerships with universities and businesses across Britain, including in our great northern cities, to better understand and exploit the amazing opportunities presented by big data.  It’s a fitting tribute to Alan Turing – the father of modern computer science and a national hero – and will ensure Britain continues to lead the whole world in this important field.
 
Chief Executive of the British Library, Roly Keating said “The area around King’s Cross, St Pancras, Euston and Bloomsbury is a gateway to the most valuable commodity of the 21st century – knowledge.  Just as the great Victorian railway engineers built a revolutionary transport hub for people and goods in this part of London, so the Knowledge Quarter is rapidly becoming a world-class interchange for creative ideas, research and innovation.”  Kids In Museums, British Library, Gov.uk
 
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  Cuming Museum redesign begins  
 
 
Southwark Council has released designs by three architects to rebuild the Cuming Museum and adjoining public library, both destroyed by the Walworth Town Hall fire of 2013.  Local residents will be voting on the designs between now and February: the Council says it is committed to rebuilding the Cuming’s home, but that it may take ‘several years’ to complete.  Museums Journal, Southwark Council
 
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  Statistics  
 
 
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  Taking Part Adult statistics released  
 
 
The Taking Part survey has issued statistics for adult participation in arts, heritage and culture for the year from September 2013 – October 2014.  Findings include:
 
  • 52% of adults visited a museum – a similar figure to 2012/13, but the highest recorded percentage since Taking Part began in 2005/6 when the proportion was 42.3%.
  • 60.8% of those in the upper socio-economic group visited a museum in 2013/14, and 38.6% in the lower socio-economic group.  Both of these attendance figures are up by c.10% since 2005/6.
  • 27.3% of adults visited a museum or gallery website: a similar figure to 2011/12, but down from a high of 33% in 2013/14.  Most of those visiting museum websites also made a physical museum visit.
  • 77% of adults attended an arts event, 1% less than the previous year.
  • 35% used a library in the last 12 months, down 2% from 2012/13.
  • 29% of adults donated money in a DCMS sector, a significant decline from 33% in 2010/11.
  • Between July and September 2014, 55% of adults said they were aware of local or national events to commemorate the First World War.
 
DCMS
 
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  Creative Industries growth continued in 2014  
 
 
DCMS reports that 2014 was another year of record growth for the UK creative industries, with film, music and video games having a significant impact internationally.  Figures include:
 
  • The top five British films collectively brought in £72.93m to the UK box office in the year to October.
  • Nine of the top ten selling albums in 2014 were UK acts.
  • Overseas video games companies continue to invest in the UK for major projects.  The UK is home to the greatest number of gaming businesses in Europe, bringing a potential £1.72bn to the economy. 
 
DCMS, CreativeIndustries.co.uk
 
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  The politics of culture  
 
 
  Sajid Javid says culture must not get sucked into political boycotts  
 
 
In a speech to the Union of Jewish Students Annual conference, Culture Secretary Sajid Javid criticised politically driven cultural boycotts.  Describing his intervention when the Tricycle Theatre refused to host the UK Jewish Film Festival he said “the moment I heard about the Tricycle ban I knew I couldn’t just let it go.  It’s completely unacceptable for a theatre to act in this way, and I didn’t shy away from telling its directors that.  And I’m pleased to say that, after lengthy discussions, the Tricycle and the UK Jewish Film Festival have resolved their differences.”
 
He added “as we have said many times, a cultural boycott would achieve nothing.  It would be needlessly divisive, and would run counter to the long history of cultural freedom that this country holds dear.  Britain is currently leading the way in imposing economic sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine.  But that’s not a reason to stop the British Museum loaning part of the Parthenon Sculptures to a museum in St Petersburg.”  Jewish News, Gov.uk
 
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  Patrick Brill to stand against Michael Gove in the next election  
 
 
Patrick Brill, better known as the artist Bob and Roberta Smith, is to stand against MP Michael Gove in the next election.  Brill says he hopes to emphasise the importance of the arts which he believes were marginalised during Gove’s tenure as Education Secretary: “He has become a fulcrum to say the arts are really important in this country… it’s a chance to say a lot of positive things about the arts rather than just bashing politicians.”  Brill is realistic about his chances in the staunchly Conservative constituency, but says “it would be great to chip away at that majority”.  Independent, Arts Industry (subscription only)
 
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  Heritage Day hustings  
 
 
As part of the Heritage Alliance’s annual Heritage Day event in December representatives from the three main political parties - Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, Lib Dem Lords Culture spokesperson Baroness Bonham Carter and new Shadow Culture Minister Chris Bryant - spoke at their hustings about the place of heritage in national life.  Questions covered issues from volunteering to VAT on buildings.  Heritage Alliance
 
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  Election promises and arts funding  
 
 
In the run up to the May General Election, the Conservative Party has published a dossier detailing cuts which it says the Labour Party would reverse, including £83m of Arts Council funding, with the implication that such reversals would be irresponsible.  Responding in a tweet, the Labour Party press office said “p.44 of Tory dossier says Labour will cancel cuts to the arts budget.  We won't.” Harriet Harman said that the starting point for Labour’s spending plans on the arts would be the government’s current policy.  The Stage, Guardian, BBC
 
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  Colin Tweedy calls for five year London lottery money freeze  
 
 
Former head of Arts & Business, Colin Tweedy has said that lottery money for London arts should be frozen for five years and the funds given to the regions.  He said “A lot of the cultural community don’t seem to appreciate that we are living in a divided country. People in London are living in a fabulous cultural island. Yet, we are seeing cuts to public funding that will devastate the arts outside Londonnobody in London wants to admit that it’s had a great period and we’re not reaching the people we’ve said we want to reach.” He added that he would like to see a task force encompassing philanthropists, the Arts Council, local government and the Museums Association, to address arts education for the young, and the situation in the regions. Independent
 
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  Paradise Lost  
 
 
  Paradise Lost?  Brueghel’s Garden of Eden at risk of export  
 
 
Culture Secretary Ed Vaizey has put an export bar on a painting by Jan Brueghel the Elder, The Garden of Eden with the Fall of Man.  The bar is in place until 4th March 2015, and may be extended to July if there is a serious intent to match the sale price of £6,963,000.  Vaizey said “This work is an exceptional piece, celebrating not only the beauty of the natural world, but reflecting the growing scientific interest in nature of the time.  The painting’s remarkable condition further enhances the works importance and rarity.”  A 1st century AD statue of Aphrodite has also had an export bar imposed, with an asking price of £9,594,200.  Arts Council (Breughel), Guardian, Arts Council (Aphrodite)
 
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  Birmingham Museums face cuts as Birmingham Library loses half its staff  
 
 
Costing £189m and opened a year ago, Birmingham’s landmark library is to lose more than half of its staff in the next round of local government cuts.  The local council needs to save £117m in the next financial year.  100 of the 188 staff posts are earmarked for redundancy, part of much wider job losses which the Council says will see 6,000 of its 13,000 posts removed by 2018.  Library opening hours will be reduced from 73 to 40 hours a week.
 
Meanwhile Birmingham Museum Trust will lose 15% or £850k from its local council support from April 2015, rising to £2.55m in 2017/18.  The service currently receives 33% of its support from the council, and is also an Arts Council England Major Partner Museum.  Director Ellen McAdam said “This suggested reduction in funding is likely to affect the scope of what Birmingham Museums Trust is able to offer as a museums service.  We are now reviewing operational plans within the changing resources, and will continue to focus on income generation and growing audiences.”  Birmingham Museums Trust has launched a petition to ask the Council to reconsider the cuts to the museum service.  Arts Industry (subscription only), BBC, Museums Journal, Change.org
 
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  Museum services ‘fourth most threatened’ as local government deals with further cuts  
 
 
Figures published last week by the Department for Communities and Local Government suggest that funding to local government will be cut by a further 1.8% in 2015/16.  A survey published alongside these statistics suggested that culture is the fourth most likely area to be cut.  In a statement the Museums Association emphasised the wellbeing benefits of museums, adding “the contribution that cuts to cultural services are able to make to the total savings required is miniscule – just 3% in 2013.”  Museums Journal
 
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  Ireland cancels next City of Culture to save money  
 
 
The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in Ireland has announced that the next City of Culture, pencilled in for 2018, has been cancelled.  Minister Heather Humphries said “Due to the level of exchequer funding which would be required, and so as not to dilute the importance of the European Capital of Culture in 2020, it has been decided to defer the next Irish City of Culture”.  The Journal
 
Also: The National Museum of Ireland has said that it is not facing museum closures or charges for admission.  The service has seen 40% cuts since 2008, and there have been recent rumours that the Board was contemplating both as routes to solvency.  BBC
 
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  Events  
 
 
  Next Working Internationally workshop in Exeter  
 
 
The Working Internationally Regional Project, which helps regional museums who want to create connections with other museums abroad, is holding its final workshop in Exeter on 29th January.  Subjects include case studies, funding options and facilitated sessions to share ideas and experience.  Tickets are £35 (£25 for small museums).  Eventbrite
 
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  Kids in Museums announces Spring training programme  
 
 
Kids in Museums are running a number of workshops during Spring 2015 to help museum professionals engage with children, teenagers and families.  They include a workshop on cross-artform working (for instance, museums working with theatre companies on youth projects) at the Barbican on 25th February, and an event at Cardiff Story on 3rd March on engaging teenagers.  Further events will be held at the British Museum and Science Museum.  Ticket prices start at £37.50 for day long workshops.  Kids in Museums
 
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  Arts Fundraising and philanthropy programme launches  
 
 
The Arts Council is supporting a three year arts fundraising and leadership training programme, which is also open to museums.  The heavily subsidised courses include one day fundraising training courses for managers, half day courses in trustee leadership, six session coaching programmes for those leading development teams and a residential summer school for arts fundraising and leadership in partnership with the University of Leeds.  One of the most successful strands of the programme to date has been its training of Arts Fundraising Fellows.  These graduate trainees are recruited for a year-long intensive training programme, during which they fundraise for their host arts organisations.  Courses are being held in several cities including London, Manchester, Bristol, Nottingham and Birmingham.  Twitter: @artsfundraising  Arts Fundraising
 
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  Funded MAs in Museum Studies at UEA  
 
 
UEA is again offering scholarships and internships to offset some or all of the costs of an MA in Museum Studies.  The Arts and Humanities Research Council is completely funding four MAs, including all fees and around £9k in expenses.  There are also four internships paying £10k which can be taken up alongside study.  Four scholarships in World Arts are also available.  Deadline for applications is 1st March for entry in 2015/16.  UEA
 
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  Imperial War Museum and Welsh government partnership days  
 
 
Organisations and individuals working on First World War centenary events in Wales are invited to attend one of two partnership days to talk over progress so far and future plans, as well as encouraging partnership working between projects across Wales.  The morning session will consist of talks from Welsh museum staff and Gina Koutsika of IWM. The events are 10am – 4pm on 22nd and 23rd January.  Wales Remembers
 
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  Let’s get digital  
 
 
The Museums Association is offering a one day course on digital and museums on 20th January in London.  The emphasis will be away from showcasing shiny tech for its own sake, and instead on implementing and maintaining a clear digital strategy.  Speakers include Andrew Lewis of the V&A and Matt Jukes from the Office for National Statistics.  Tickets are £55-£195, with discounts for MA and Museum Computer Group members.  The event will be tweeted at #MAgetdigital Museums Journal
 
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  GLA event for museums who want to make energy savings  
 
 
The GLA are running an event for museum and heritage organisations who would like to make ‘substantial’ energy and financial savings through their retrofitting programme.  The introduction to RE:FIT takes place at City Hall from 1.30 – 3.30pm on 18th February, and covers carbon footprint reduction and RE:FIT’s free services, as well as featuring speakers from Dulwich Picture Gallery and the Natural History Museum.  RSVP to [email protected] before 30th January to participate.  Refit
 
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  Tech  
 
 
  Google Cultural Institute offers free app creation to museums  
 
 
Google Cultural Institute is extending its online presentation of museum artefacts to include apps for smartphones.  Eleven museums in Italy, France, the Netherlands and Nigeria have already been involved in the pilot, which allows institutions to harness Google Street View inside their buildings to create virtual tours, and allow visitors to find out more about individual artefacts.  A two minute video explains in more detail how the free technology works.  Tech Crunch
 
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  Wellcome takes online collections further with Mindcraft  
 
 
The Wellcome Collection has turned many of its online holdings into a complex interactive piece of digital storytelling, Mindcraft, which tracks the quackery, real science, mysteries and ongoing development of attempts to explore and control the mind – from Mesmerism to psychiatry.  The Wellcome hopes that it will lay down the capacity for similar projects in the future, creating a new benchmark for using collections creatively online.  Mindcraft
 
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  Tate puts archives of thousands of artists online  
 
 
The Tate has put 52,000 photographs, letters, sketchbooks and technical records online which chart the lives of many significant British 20th century artists.  The love letters of Paul Nash and sculpture records of Barbara Hepworth are among the holdings.  Tate archive’s head Adrian Glew said “We’ve been a hidden treasure for too long really.  It is a national archival treasure, but it is for the enrichment of the whole world; we’d like it to reach as wide an audience as we can.” Guardian
 
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  Exhibition highlights 2015  
 
 
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Over the January and February issue of NMDC news, we are drawing together exhibition highlights from the 39 museums and museum groups currently represented by the National Museum Directors’ Council.  You can see a selection from the first fifteen museums online here.
 
Images this month come from some of these forthcoming exhibitions: Sonic the Hedgehog heralds the forthcoming National Museums Scotland Games Master; Lionel Walden's Steelworks, Cardiff at Night will appear in National Museum Wales' US tour of British landscape painting; M C Escher's Day and Night will appear in an exhibition on Escher at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art; Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh's The Mysterious Garden will be showing in Scottish Women Artists 1880 – 1965, also at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.
 
Here are a few of the themes that have so far stood out this year.
 
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  Pastures Green and Dark Satanic Mills  
 
 
One of National Museum Wales’ most major undertakings for 2015 – 16 is appearing not in Wales, but at four venues in the US.  Pastures Green & Dark Satanic Mills: The British Passion for Landscape has just opened at the Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida, USA. The exhibition includes paintings, drawings and photographs selected from Wales’ national art collection most never been seen in the USA before. 
 
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  National anniversaries  
 
 
2015 marks the multi-centenary of many events hugely significant to the identity of the UK, and museums are leading commemorations.  The British Library’s Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy, looks at the significance of the document 800 years since it was granted by King John in 1215.  The library will show two of the original Magna Carta documents in its possession alongside Thomas Jefferson's handwritten text of the Declaration of Independence, an original copy of the US Bill of Rights. 
 
Royal Armouries will be marking 200 years since the Battle of Waterloo.  The museum will be marking the anniversary with a special exhibition of art and weapons (May – August).  The centrepiece of the exhibition will be the monumental 12m x 3m ‘cartoon’ by Daniel Maclise, on loan from the Royal Academy of Arts. 
 
For the Agincourt 600 exhibition at the Tower of London, Royal Armouries will be lending armour and participating in wider commemorations. The museum comments that “the French, of course, eventually won the conflict but Agincourt, thanks not least to Shakespeare’s play, has held, ‘From this day to the ending of the world’, a defining place in the English sense of nationhood.”
 
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  Women in art  
 
 
A number of exhibitions explore the influence of women in the art world.  Ripples on the Pond is a Glasgow Museums' collection exhibition and is designed as a conversation between works by women on paper and moving image.  It takes as the starting point recent acquisitions from the Glasgow Women's Library 21 Revolutions series, relating them to other works from collection and sparking questions about gender and media choice in relation to women's practice and visibility. 
 
Meanwhile Modern 2, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art will be showing Scottish Women Artists 1880 – 1965. It will concentrate on painters and sculptors, from Catherine Read of the eighteenth century, to Amelia Hill and the Nasmyth sisters of the mid-nineteenth century, to Joan Eardley and Anne Redpath, who both died in the 1960s. It will include familiar masterpieces alongside important works by significant artists which are rarely seen and who are not widely known. 
 
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  Keeping up with Sonic  
 
 
National Museums Scotland’s 2015 exhibitions feature two love affairs with modern technology. Games Masters features over 100 playable games spanning a period when gaming evolved from a niche interest to a global industry.  Pac-Man, Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario and Angry Birds are just some of the computer gaming legends included.  Scotland’s own contributions are explored through playable games and original artwork, including scripts and early sketches for Grand Theft Auto and Lemmings lent by leading figures from the Scottish gaming industry.
 
Meanwhile  Photography: A Victorian Sensation tells the story of when photography was an astonishing new innovation and how it allowed people to see real images of the politicians, stars and national heroes of Victorian age for the first time.
 
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  The Science Museum goes out to lunch  
 
 
In a society preoccupied with food and diets, the Science Museum brings a scientific eye to the processes which determine what we eat.  Cravings: Can your food control you? explores the flavours we learn to love in the womb, and how the brain, gut brain and bacteria work together to control our desire for food. Visitors will be able to discover how not one but two brains affect our cravings and take part in real experiments to uncover how our senses trick our brains into wanting more.  
 
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  And finally…  
 
 
Bob Combs, Director of Security at the Getty Museum, has been reviewing LEGO’s new ‘surprising’ Museum Break in Set.  The set provides on the one hand a gracious porticoed museum and an impressive array of police and helicopters, and on the other thieves in tell-tale stripy jumpers, a getaway van and a rope ladder.
 
Bob Combs is dubious about the museum’s chances. “The museum in question has an easily accessible skylight that appears not to be locked or alarmed, and the two thieves also come equipped with handy rope to assist them in their endeavor.  Conveniently, LEGO vines growing on the outside of the museum provide handgrips the thieves can use in climbing up to the skylight.  Also of concern is the lack of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) coverage.  However, after some looking online I did find a YouTube video in which a ten-year-old boy shows you how to make your own LEGO CCTV cameras with only five LEGO pieces.  Your child may want to look into adding this security measure, at the very least.”  Getty blog
 
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  Jobs  
 
 
Current vacancies on the NMDC jobs website include:
 
 
See the full selection of current jobs at NMDC members' organisations here.
 
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