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Manchester Museum will be able to house major international exhibitions with £4.2m grant

Manchester Museum, part of The University of Manchester has received a confirmed grant of £4,215,800 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a major capital project.

Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the project will develop and transform the museum by providing new exhibition space, the North’s first South Asian gallery and an improved programme of outreach.

Through ‘The Courtyard project’, Manchester Museum will become the UK’s most imaginative, inclusive and caring museum. As the UK’s leading university museum, the museum is committed to becoming an ever more powerful source of inspiration for learning for more people. This transformation, driven by social purpose, will make the museum more relevant and welcoming to all ages and communities.

Work will start in August 2018 and the finished building will reopen in late 2020. The transformation will include;

  • A major new Temporary Exhibitions Gallery enabling the museum to become the North of England’s leading venue for producing and hosting international-quality exhibitions on human cultures and the natural world. The 421m2 space will be a new home for blockbuster and international shows, drawing visitors from across the North of England who previously would have had to travel to London to see shows of such scale.
  • The North of England’s first large-scale gallery of South Asian history and culture, created in partnership with the British Museum, bringing together the very best of Manchester Museum’s own South Asian collections and world-class sculpture, textiles and artefacts from the British Museum. It will be the UK’s first permanent gallery to explore the stories, experiences and contributions of diaspora communities. At the heart of the gallery will be a unique performance space, dedicated to showing the very best live music, dance and performance from and inspired by South Asia.
  • A new Oxford Road-facing entrance, welcome area and shop, to create a more visible and welcoming first impression. Throughout, particular emphasis will be placed on accessible design for older visitors and people with a disability.
  • Underpinning the transformation, there will be a dynamic co-created participatory programme to imaginatively address some of the key issues of our time; climate change, ageing, migration and belonging. This will extend the museum’s award-winning volunteering work and be pivotal to changing how we work with and reach new audiences

“With new world-class spaces for extraordinary objects and stories, more volunteering opportunities and imaginative partnerships, Manchester Museum will reflect and explore the needs, interests and opportunities of the diverse communities we serve. The project will develop and transform the museum to bring more wonder and inspiration from around the world to the people of Greater Manchester and beyond.” – Esme Ward, Director of Manchester Museum

Read more at: http://www.manchester.ac.uk/discover/news/multi-million-pound-funding-to-bring-new-galleries-and-exhibition-space-to-manchester-museum/

Survey: Happy Museum goes international

Happy Museum is hoping to widen its community of practice and make international links with organisations also interested in themes of community wellbeing and environmental sustainability.

It has therefore launched a scoping exercise to find out what other institutions are doing and if there is a demand for an international network.


If you know of museums or museum professionals likely to be interested internationally, please pass this survey along.

Complete the Exhibitions – Going Green Survey 2018 – Ten Years On

The Sustainable Exhibitions for Museums (SEFM), invite you to complete the on-line Exhibitions – Going Green Survey 2018 – Ten Years On, through the following link:


SEFM is a UK-based informal network of museum and gallery professionals who want to promote and encourage sustainability in all we do in this field, with a particular focus on the production and staging of exhibitions.

We are looking for survey responses from museums or galleries of any kind – multiple sites may want to submit by each major site. We wish to once again review our industry to assess how environmentally sustainable or ‘green’ our work practices and institutions are, and how our approaches to exhibitions have changed in the last ten years.

To see the results summary of the first survey issued in 2008 follow the following link to the report pdf: 2008 Survey Summary Report

In order to prepare and gather your information to complete this ten years on survey you can preview the survey first in its entirety by downloading the pdf at this link – and then start the survey when you are ready: 2018 Survey Questions Preview

This 2018 Survey is based on the original 2008 Survey so we can analyse ‘like for like’. We recognize though we may have advanced quite some way since then and that the questions/topics may have been overtaken by progress.

Most questions are ‘green’ and a few new ones ‘financial’ as we are taking this opportunity to see how tight budgets have affected exhibition programming and museum operations – perhaps with green benefits.

The actual survey will take roughly 30 minutes but you may need extra time to gather information. You can stop and start until finally selecting the ‘Submit’ button.

The survey will close on Sunday 30 September 2018 at midnight GMT.

The results from this 2018 survey will be added to and compared with the previous 2008 data we have collected and will be shared in November 2018. All respondents will be sent the survey analysis report by email in due course.

We understand how pressured your work-time is, so thank you in advance for your input. If you have any enquiries or questions about the survey, please email: stephen.mellor@chalkface.net.au

Please forward this email invitation and links to any contacts you have and who you think might be interested in taking the survey – we want to share/connect as widely as possible across the world and join up the many green initiatives, supporters and enthusiasts that are already ‘green exhibitions’ advocates.

Thank you,

Stephen Mellor

(Stephen Mellor, formerly Exhibitions Co-ordinator at Tate Modern, London and a committee member of the International Exhibition Organisers group, is managing this 2018 survey in association with Sustainable Exhibitions for Museums (SEFM).

This survey is a volunteer initiative and any views or information are offered in good faith.

Check Out the World’s Largest Archive Digitally Preserving At-Risk Heritage Sites

Ben Kacyra decided to use [portable scanning] technology to found CyArk, a non-profit with a mission to preserve cultural heritage sites so that other sites could never be completely obliterated.

Now, CyArk has teamed up with Google Arts & Culture to launch an online library of its cultural heritage sites. Called Open Heritage, the project includes a trove of open-source data and visual representations of heritage sites.

Currently it chronicles 27 sites in 15 countries, including the Maya ruins of Chichén Itzá in Mexico, the ancient city of Bagan in Myanmar, and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., with more sites to be added in the future.

Open Heritage is meant to document a site at a particular point in time — essentially, a record of heritage that can be used for research in the future. According to Google, the Open Heritage is the world’s largest archive of this type of open-source heritage data.  READ MORE

Connecting Scotland through a Travelling Gallery

In celebration of International Museum Day 2018 and Travelling Gallery’s 40th anniversary, we sat down with curator Claire Craig to talk about the gallery’s unique approach to outreach, community engagement and creating exhibitions for new audiences.

What actually is the Travelling Gallery?

The Travelling Gallery exists on a purpose-built bus that tours Scotland twice yearly with new exhibitions with varying works by established and up and coming artists.

What is it like, running a mobile gallery?

Travelling Gallery is, literally, an outreach vehicle, a core value that hasn’t changed since its conception in   1978. At that time, arts in Scotland were -and still are- focused largely on the central belt, with Glasgow and Edinburgh being the cultural hubs. These areas are important centres of both art production and consummation, but the majority of existing outreach programs focus on the direct hinterland of these hubs.

The biggest opportunity of running a mobile art gallery is that we are in a position where we can  make contemporary art accessible to anyone through our bus. Because we can bring our exhibitions anywhere, we are very aware that we are often providing our audiences’ first encounter with contemporary art and are introducing the sector to new audiences.

How do you engage with audiences who may be new to contemporary art?

We are aware that most of our audiences will have their first encounter with a modern art gallery specifically when visiting the bus. We don’t want to underestimate our audience and shy away from featuring challenging pieces, so we find other ways of lowering the threshold to come in and engage with the exhibitions.

Careful consideration has gone into the appearance of the bus. The wrap is a bright, vibrant piece by Mike Inglis. It looks inviting and looks great in both urban and rural settings. Also, as simple as it sounds, a bus is something people know and is a lot less daunting for new audiences ; the touch of familiarity is welcoming .


Video credit: Joe Dransfield


The exhibitions are accompanied by our core-team, who can discuss the pieces, the process the artist has gone through and the themes they are exploring. This often leads to a conversation or a discussion with the audience about anything: the art, their lives, families and communities.


How do you connect with such diverse audiences ?

 Travelling Gallery actively targets audiences that are underrepresented in our visitor demographics. One way we do that is through partnerships.


In 2017, we partnered with Glasgow Women’s Library to tap into their existing network of women’s groups across Scotland, which made it possible for us  to work more quickly and more effectively with these target audiences.


In a similar way, Travelling Gallery fosters its local connections and makes active use of the knowledge that is already there. Working with partners who know their locality better than we do, means we get a greater impact.

We’re aware that Scotland has an increasingly ageing population; an overlooked demographic. A new challenge for the gallery has become reaching out to these groups and making new contacts and collaborations with care homes, dementia groups and knitting groups. The value of archive material has become apparent with older audiences. In our current exhibition ‘Are Teenage Dreams so Hard to Beat?’ old teenage magazines are used in contrast with vlogging as a way in for an older audience that doesn’t necessarily connect with modern teen culture.”



What would you like to encourage your peers to take from the Travelling Gallery model?


Finding ways ‘in’ for people of different walks of life can help people relate to an exhibition and make it feel more relevant to them as an individual. This takes careful planning on several levels, from how to start a conversation with visitors to deciding what supporting material to include on a tour besides the core collection.


The most important thing Travelling Gallery emphasizes in all its communications, from Facebook posts to posters and mail outs is one simple message: welcome to all. All Travelling Gallery ask is for people to come with an open mind, leave the idea that one needs to ‘get it’ at the double doors and step inside for some art, a good conversation and hopefully a new experience.


Diversity in the Museum Workforce

Building on the New Approaches theme of International Museum Day 2018, we consider some of the statistics of diversity within the museum workforce, and question what new steps could be taken to ensure diversity is not a one-time project, but becomes a continued movement towards reshaping the future.

The case for increased diversity in the museums and galleries sector first started being heard during the 1970s. With BAME constituting 13% of the working-age population in 2017 and expecting to rise, British social structure is changing and become more diverse than ever before. At the same time, museums and galleries are finding themselves at a crucial point in their history; their social function is changing from being keepers of objects and knowledge to a place where people and their individual relations are starting to take center stage. How can museums and galleries be expected to successfully diversify their audiences if they can’t manage to diversify their own workforce?

Recent study “Panic! Social Class, Taste and Inequalities in the Creative Industries” shows that despite continued calls to diversify the workforce, no significant changes to the makeup have been achieved in the creative sector as a whole.[1]

The study suggests that young workers entering the arts were much more likely to be from an upper middle class background in 2011 than they were in 1981. The data for 1981 lists 23% of employees in the arts were of a working class background, and 15% of workers from an upper middle class whereas 2011 the upper middle class doubles to 33%, whereas the percentage workers from a working class background has dropped to 13%.

A thought provoking video by Johnnetta Cole, director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art and president of the Association of Art Museum Directors

The lack of diversity within the sector starts with recruitment. As with many other sectors, supply of graduates outreaches demand, which has led to a trend in over qualification. A recent study into the hiring practices of museums shows that 69% of open jobs in the sector require an undergraduate degree, with a further 10% demanding a graduate degree. Only 30% of job listings are open to hearing from applicants who’ve got relevant experience instead of a degree.[2] This trend is further fed by 61% of employees in creative industries holding a degree.[3]

New incentives like the Government’s apprentice scheme hopes to encourage more social mobility within the sector, by giving young professionals from more varied backgrounds paid entry level roles within institutions. The scheme launched in 2017, and we will look out for impact studies later this year[4]

However, the museums and galleries sector is one of the few industries where there are more women in the workforce than men. The male to female ratio is 40%-60% as opposed to other sectors where the numbers, are in the 62%-38% region[5]. There is scope and potential for change and new approaches to ensuring workforces reflect audiences and communities.

Campaigns such as ‘Act for Change’[6] have already taken great steps to promote diversity within the performing arts, and museums need to take similar steps to proactively adopt new approaches to reach new audiences and create new opportunities.

Let us know what you are doing via twitter @UK_ICOM or join as an ICOM UK Member and add to the debate.


Further Reading






[1] https://www.barbican.org.uk/sites/default/files/documents/2018-04/Panic-Paper-2018.pdf

[2] https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/sites/default/files/download-file/ACE_Museums_Workforce_ABS_BOP_Final_Report.pdf

[3] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/640628/DCMS_Sectors_Economic_Estimates_2017_Employment_and_Trade.pdf

[4] DCMS Culture Paper 2017, p 8

[5] World Data Bank 05 2018

[6] DCMS Culture Paper 2017, p 26

The Design Museum, London wins European Museum of the Year Award 2018

This article was originally posted here http://www.ne-mo.org/news/article/nc/1/nemo/winners-of-the-european-museum-of-the-year-award-2018/346.html

The award is organised by the NEMO partner European Museum Forum (EMF) in collaboration with the National Institute for Museums and Public Collections and the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. The EMYA and the Council of Europe Museum Prize are the longest running and most prestigious museum awards in Europe.

The 2018 winners and special commendations are presented below and more information can be found on EMF’s website.

The European Museum of the Year Award 2018 goes to the DESIGN MUSEUM, London, United Kingdom.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe decided to present its Museum Prize 2018 to the WAR CHILDHOOD MUSEUM in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. NEMO is especially happy to see the War Childhood Museum as one of the winners as the NEMO Executive Board was very moved after their visit to the museum last year.

The Silletto Prize goes to the BETINA MUSEUM OF WOODEN SHIPBUILDING, Betina, Croatia. The prize recognises excellence in working with the local community and involving volunteers.

The Kenneth Hudson Award goes to the ESTONIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM, Tartu, Estonia. The award is given in recognition of the most unusual and daring achievement that challenges common perceptions of the role of museums in society.


Special Commendations

  • Vapriikki Museum Centre, Tampere, Finland
  • Lascaux IV- International Centre For Cave Art, Dordogne, France
  • Helsinki City Museum, Helsinki, Finland
  • Rainis and Aspazija’s Museum, Riga, Jurmala and Dunava, Latvia
  • Museo dell’ Opera del Duomo, Florence, Italy
  • Museum University Of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain
  • Museo Egizio, Turin, Italy

This article was originally posted here http://www.ne-mo.org/news/article/nc/1/nemo/winners-of-the-european-museum-of-the-year-award-2018/346.html

Black Cultural Archives responds to the Windrush scandal

Black Cultural Archives in Brixton, the only heritage site dedicated to the African-Caribbean British story, has responded to the Windrush scandal following publicity about the large number of people deported or threatened with deportation to the Caribbean after lifetimes in the UK.

The archive is hosting one-to-one sessions with a team of lawyers for people who are affected by the fallout. BCA’s Director Paul Reid said “the government has been forced into retreating into ‘administrative error’, a sign of defeat, but I hope we can do something more than just address the issue of citizenship. I want to see the contribution of the Windrush descendants and black people though British history taught in the curriculum, to the streets and our angry young people, but I want the links to go further, right into the boardrooms of Canary Wharf. We can take this moment to make a fundamental change, that is my hope.” He also told Museums Journal that the archive, which sits in a ‘symbiotic place…between culture and activism’ would have accepted the Windrush landing cards, destroyed by the government in 2010, into its collections.

Read the full article in the Museums Journal HERE.  

Read other related articles in Arts Industry HERE and HERE.

From ghost boats to water treasures, museums seek to spur climate action

As world leaders increasingly face up to the fallout of climate change, curators are planning a new wave of museums, devoted to what many consider a defining issue of the times.

From Germany to Denmark, Hong Kong to Canada, talk of climate museums is on the rise. In 2015 former civil rights lawyer Miranda Massie created the first U.S. museum entirely dedicated to climate change in New York City, which so far has featured footage of ancient ice cores and live painting of melting Antarctic ice.

Flow Associates, a London-based consultancy working with arts and science organizations, wanted to raise awareness of the plight of the Pacific island nation of Kiribati, which is particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels. So [they] set up a “ghost boat” made of old fish nets at the University of Cambridge’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, and asked visitors what they would take with them if they were suddenly forced to leave their homes.  READ MORE

Registration open for European Registrars Conference, London


The 11th European Registrars Conference (ERC 2018) will take place on 17 – 19 November 2018 at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster

ERC 2018 will bring together registrars, collection and exhibition managers and colleagues from across the world. The European Registrars Conference takes place every two years and provides a fantastic forum to meet, network, exchange ideas and knowledge from across the sector.

The programme will focus on the conference’s key themes of Evolve, Refresh and Collaborate. The three themes will run throughout both days of the conference encompassing a number of topics.

The programme will be made up of keynote sessions, presented papers and smaller discussion sessions. We are hugely excited about our plans for the keynote sessions and details will be added shortly.

Included in the registration fee:

  • Attendance at the conference
  • Admission to the Welcome Reception, Farewell Reception, all sessions and market place
  • Conference materials
  • Refreshments and lunch during conference hours

Register at: http://www.erc2018.org/registration/registration/