John Orna-Ornstein, our Director of Museums, blogs about the future of local authority funded museums.
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.
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.
It’s now been a week or so since we announced our decisions on National portfolio organisations and Major partner museums. We’ve had many reactions, as you’d imagine.
When you are making these kinds of announcements a press conference or in a blog, you have to think very quickly.
Reflecting on the process, and talking to people who’ve been on the receiving end of these decisions, I find myself wanting to share one or two thoughts I was unable to dwell on at the time.
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.
It is just over a year since we announced the first museums funded through our Renaissance programme. Here Hedley Swain, Director, Museums, takes a look at what has been achieved since then.
Last month we announced a £17 million investment in English regional museums through the latest round of the Renaissance Strategic support fund, a good time to reflect on how much has happened since we first assumed responsibility for museums at the Arts Council in October 2011 and some of the challenges currently facing us.