John Orna-Ornstein, our Director of Museums, blogs about the future of local authority funded museums.
Digital Utopias, which took place at Hull Truck Theatre earlier this week, was a one-day conference which aimed to inspire and incite debate about how new technologies are enabling creativity across the arts. The conference set out to capture topical and diverse approaches to curation, archiving, collecting and creating from a range of art forms, from the visual arts to theatre.
Last year we commissioned a research study, from economists Daniel Fujiwara and George MacKerron, examining how different arts and cultural institutions affect levels of happiness. Richard Russell, our Director of Policy and Research, blogs about the results, which we've just published.
Our departing Chief Executive Alan Davey blogs for us for the last time.
Swallows and Amazons - Bristol Old Vic. Credit: Simon Annand
I’m told I have a last opportunity to say anything I want, to get it off my chest. To say the words I want to leave ringing in the air as I leave the Arts Council.
Our Midlands Area Director, Peter Knott, tells us how we need to share our stories in order to keep making the case for public investment in arts and culture.
I think we would all agree that we are working in a time of economic challenge, but opportunities, possibilities and above all a positive future remain obtainable. These are extraordinary times and we need to find extraordinary solutions.
The dinner table conversation at my house last week revolved around the difficult environment facing museums at the moment. My family were asking me the question:
‘Why would anyone choose to work in a museum?’
I go to museums a lot; it’s part of Arts Council keeping fully in touch with what’s happening around the country. But Friday was unusual even for me. I visited all eight Cambridge University museums and galleries in a single day: an exhausting, inspiring whistle stop tour.
When I arrived at the Arts Council a little over two years ago, I discovered (with some alarm!) that I was going to be the Executive Board member with responsibility for Goal 1, for ensuring that ‘excellence is thriving and celebrated in arts, museums and libraries’. Who was going to determine what was ‘excellent’ – our arts and cultural leaders? The professional critics? …Me? Would it ever be possible to agree within the Arts Council – let alone amongst arts and cultural organisations – what are the key determinants of ‘quality’?
Today Arts Council England announces its National portfolio of arts organisations and its Major partner museums for 2015-18.
I believe the decisions we’ve made reward ambition. We have looked to the future, investing in work for children and young people, and seeking to develop talent, wherever it emerges. We’ve sought to reach into more communities, while continuing to invest in arts organisations that have done great things in the last three years; we want them to build on their past work, and go further.