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DCMS Museums and Galleries Sector Coronavirus Bulletin 6 Dec 21

Below is a link to download the latest coronavirus PDF bulletin from DCMS for the museums and galleries sector, containing links to government information and advice, including:

  • Face coverings are compulsory in shops and on public transport in England.
  • Face coverings are mandatory in museum shops in England.
  • They are not mandatory in other parts of museums in England, and all hospitality settings will be exempt.
  • Posters can be downloaded to remind visitors.
  • All international arrivals must take a Day 2 PCR test and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.
  • Nigeria has been added to the travel red list from 6 December.
  • All contacts of suspected Omicron cases must self-isolate, regardless of their vaccination status. They will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace.


Interview with Cat Gardiner, owner and curator of TEN in Cardiff, Wales

Catherine McDermott, ICOM UK Co-Chair, talks to Cat Gardiner, owner and curator of TEN in Cardiff.

Cat would you please introduce your gallery to ICOM UK members:

Established in 2010, TEN is a contemporary art gallery specialising in Welsh and Wales-based artists. The private commercial gallery represents emerging and established painters, sculptors, ceramicists and printmakers. The gallery is housed in a converted Victorian coach house in the city centre suburb of Roath and acts as the main exhibition space for the gallery’s artists. We established the gallery to fill a void in the exhibiting and dealing of the art of Wales’s foremost contemporary artists – some of whom had international representation, numerous accolades and works acquired by public collections worldwide – yet no permanent representation and permanent support in Wales. My aim in opening and operating TEN is to actively contribute to and promote contemporary Welsh culture and support contemporary Welsh artists.

And this is the gallery’s reputation, the ‘go-to’ private gallery for the work of the very best contemporary artists in Wales. There is a certain aesthetic and feel to the gallery – I deliberately represent artists who shy away from the typical, cliché Welsh characteristics – dragons, miners, heavy impasto oil paintings of Yr Wyddfa, scenes of Pembrokeshire, sheep and shepherds. The history of visual arts in Wales is landscape-heavy – the land is so sublime and beautiful and has attracted artists over the centuries – and the hangover of the traditional remains. But there’s so much more to Welsh visual culture – and contemporary inspiration of the landscape has produced incredible land artists and sculptors, immersive site-specific theatre productions, and the post-industrial landscape influencing many. TEN artists have a strong Welsh connection but more often than not, this is not discernible in the artworks created – and that has become the gallery’s signature.


What key projects are you developing to build audiences after Covid?

2020 saw the gallery’s best year of business – without being able to physically welcome visitors to the gallery for 90% of the year. The audiences continued to grow throughout COVID – and artworks were sent to all corners of the earth. BUT nothing beats curating exhibitions and inviting audiences to stand in front of art in the flesh.

The gallery’s programme of exhibitions is back in full swing – with solo exhibitions and mixed shows changing every 6 weeks, coupled with themed online-only features. The next few years will see new artists join the gallery’s stable, key projects include presence at UK art fairs, off-site exhibitions and collaborative events. I believe in the organic growth of audiences – continuing to be active both online and in the flesh is the key and that, coupled with longevity and stamina ensures an interested, engaged and sustained audience.


What challenges is TEN facing?

COVID and its hangover hasn’t presented serious challenges for TEN – the benefit of being a one-woman business is the agility and ability to pivot and evolve, which certainly happened in 2020, and for the better.

There are two main challenges in running the gallery – as there always has been over the years – and both are an issue of balance.

The first is maintaining the balance between the curatorial side of the gallery, and the commercial. I seek that perfect balance with each artist represented, each exhibition held and each event the gallery hosts. The operation and continuation of the gallery is reliant on the income generated from sales, but I refuse to let that dictate too much. I’d say that there are three categories of artists on board – those whose artworks sell often, those which sell fairly often and those which rarely sell but strengthen the curatorial vision of the gallery. The art on show must be of a high standard, be interesting to both private clients and public institutions and contribute culturally to the arts in Wales – and be the work of artists that I personally believe in.

The second is linked to the first – the balance between the desired with reality. The desire to curate exhibitions in certain locations, produce books and catalogues, exhibit gallery artists work in Europe and further afield [whether in partnership with a gallery or at international art fairs] – and many more on the list – is controlled by finances and the realities of business.

Maintaining that balance between my two sides – the curator and the businesswoman – challenge me but I firmly believe that it is also my strength.

Ymlaen! [onwards!]

Launch of the Private Investment in Culture Survey by ACE – responses required

Arts Council England has launched the latest version of the Private Investment in Culture Survey, and would like to invite you to take part.

The survey covers the last three financial years, and is a key source of information on the role that corporate partnerships, individual giving and grants from trusts and foundations play in supporting the cultural sector.  By taking part you will be helping to understand trends in cultural fundraising, enable better advocacy for the sector and provide more effective support for cultural organisations.

The survey will inform a wider study of private investment in culture in England, with a report due to be published in Spring 2022, building on previous research commissioned by the Arts Council and exploring changes that may have occurred due to Covid-19.  As well as containing data and insights from the survey, the report will also showcase examples of best practice in fundraising throughout the cultural sector, and highlight the innovative ways cultural organisations are embracing the Arts Council’s Dynamism Investment Principle.

We know this is a busy time for you, but please consider taking part here if you can.

The survey closes at 12:00 on 12 January 2022.

If you need any assistance while completing the survey, please contact research consultants AEA Consulting at research@aeaconsulting.com

Two Temple Place – call for exhibition proposals

Two Temple Place is seeking creative proposals from freelance curators, regional cultural institutions and researchers, for our 11th major spring exhibition running January-April 2023.

Call for Proposals
For the 2023 exhibition, we are looking for a creative and ambitious brief that addresses three key objectives:
• The ability to showcase and raise awareness of one or more museum or gallery collections that are based outside London and that deserve wider recognition;
• A significant development opportunity for an up-and-coming curator or curatorial team;
• A focus on work that will engage, animate, enliven and provoke visitors to think differently about the world and the work, and encourage new audiences to explore more deeply.

Costs for the exhibition are paid for by Two Temple Place. Production, materials, transport, publicity and management costs will be covered and managed by us, and a fee is paid to the curator.

Exhibition Dates: January 2023 – mid-April 2023
Exhibition narrative: May 2022
Object list developed: July 2022
Catalogue article completed: October 2022
Interpretation completed: November 2022

Next steps
You must read the Exhibition Report www. www. twotempleplace.org/wpcontent/uploads/2021/04/2TP-Exhibition-Report-2011-20.pdf

Please send proposal ideas (a maximum of three pages excluding images) by email to Rebecca Hone, Head of Exhibitions, Two Temple Place, and she is also happy to discuss your proposal in advance rebecca@twotempleplace.org

For more information, read this PDF.

UK-China Digital Connections through Culture Grants

In respond to increasing restrictions on global travel due to Covid-19, and rising concerns about the sustainability of face-to-face collaborations, we are relaunching our UK-China Digital CtC which was initiated in 2020, to facilitate online networking and exchange between artists and professionals from arts and cultural organisations in China and the UK.

For over 16 years, the British Council has run a well-established Connections through Culture programme, which enables collaboration between creative and cultural professionals in China and the UK. Through brokering connections and offering travel grants, CtC has enabled over 370 creative and cultural professionals to see one another’s work, exchange skills and co-develop projects.

Connections through Culture is designed to be agile, responding to changing sector needs and the wider socio-economic context within the UK and China, and encouraging new collaborations on sustainability, inclusion and gender equality.

Although the grants are available to all UK artists, Connections through Culture receives additional specific support from the Scottish government for projects with a Scottish connection.


1.Professional Development Grants – a limited number of small grants to enable artists or members of arts organisations to work with their counterparts in China or the UK online, to develop projects, exchange skills or see others’ work.

2.Alumni Grants – a limited number of small grants for previous Connections through Culture alumni to access follow-up funding and continue the collaboration online.
They are only available to alumni who received initial grants in the last 3 years, and are designed to be strategic grants to further facilitate collaboration and partnerships.

3. Digital Connections through Culture – online brokering and networking opportunity to connect artists and cultural organisations in China and the UK for future collaborations. Please note Digital Connections through Culture DOES NOT offer a grant. However, successful connections are welcomed to apply for future professional development grants/alumni grants for new collaborations.

What is the value of each grant?



November 2021 to March 2022

Digital Connections through Culture: to facilitate online networking and exchange between artists and professionals from arts and cultural organisations in China and the UK

6 December 2021

Round 37th Grant Application Open: to support the development of UK-China online collaboration projects, and visits between January and June 2022 (depending on travel restrictions)

For more information, please contact: arts@britishcouncil.org.cn

Notes for applicants can be found here.

Secretary Lonnie Bunch on What Excites Him About the Smithsonian’s New Futures Exhibition

This article was first published in the Smithsonian Magazine.

“The museum of the past must be set aside, reconstructed, transformed…into a nursery of living thoughts,” George Brown Goode, the first curator of the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building (AIB), wrote in 1889. “It should be a house full of ideas.”

AIB opened in 1881 as the first United States National Museum with a radical new philosophy. Museums could do more than research and showcase; they could teach and inspire as well. Thousands flocked to the Mall’s newest building to see firsthand the inventions that were changing the world: the electric light bulb, the steam locomotive, Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone. AIB pioneered many of the Smithsonian features we now consider essential: descriptive labels to explain what people saw, new ways of organizing displays to tell stories, and even “living animal” collections (an initiative that would eventually grow into the National Zoo).

By the time I worked as a curator at the National Museum of American History, AIB was serving even younger audiences: My daughter attended preschool in the building that had once housed the Star-Spangled Banner and the Spirit of St. Louis.

This November, after being closed for nearly two decades, AIB has temporarily reopened to the public with the launch of a new exhibition, “Futures.” The building-wide exhibit exemplifies the notion that the Smithsonian has always been a forward-looking institution. Continuing AIB’s long legacy of creativity and innovation, “Futures” features art installations, technology debuts, interactive experiences and ideas that preview humanity’s many potential futures. The exhibition doesn’t claim to predict what will happen, but rather asks visitors to engage with a range of possibilities—and, most important, to craft those possibilities themselves. Audiences can design future cities alongside an artificial intelligence architect, watch clean drinking water get harvested from the air, see clothes get washed in a wetland, or experience robot-guided meditation. Debuting in the central rotunda, “me + you,” Suchi Reddy’s AI-based installation, invites visitors to share their own future visions to help shape a two-story column of color and light. “Futures” is turning AIB into the hub of ideas—inventive, intriguing, ingenious—that Goode envisioned.

As the Smithsonian reflects on 175 years of service, “Futures” reminds me that the best museums are as much about today and tomorrow as they are about yesterday. And as we plan and strategize for the years to come, the exhibition represents the Smithsonian’s purpose going forward: to spark discovery, empower creativity and inspire wonder.

Lonnie G. Bunch III is the Smithsonian’s 14th Secretary, the founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture and Co-Chair of ICOM-US. He is the author of more than a dozen books on history, race and museum scholarship.

Curating for Change- Curatorial fellowship opportunity for D/deaf, disabled or neurodivergent folks

Recruitment for the first cohort of Curating for Change Curatorial Fellows is now open.

These 18-month work placements will provide four D/deaf, disabled and neurodivergent Fellows with the skills and support needed to advance their curatorial careers, and through this challenge the invisibility of D/deaf, disabled and neurodivergent people in our museums.

For more information and details on how to apply, visit https://screensouth.org/events/cfc-curatorial-fellowships/.

Via the link you can also find links to British Sign Language and Easy Read versions of the recruitment information.

Looted Sculptures from Palmyra Returned to Syria

This article was first published by ARTnews.

In 2009 or 2010, three looted sculptures were taken from the ancient city of Palmyra. Several years later, customs officers in Switzerland seized them at a Geneva freeport. At last, they’re heading home to Syria, the Art Newspaper reports.

The three sculptures date back to the second and third centuries B.C.E., when Palmyra was still a nexus of trade, possibly during the rule of Queen Zenobia. One of the sculptures is a bust of a priest wearing a ceremonial headpiece. The sculpture was badly damaged by the looters when they removed it from the site, as the head once had a body as well. Experts have developed some hypotheses about which statue the head belongs to, but there has not been any confirmation. The other two sculptures are funerary reliefs, one of a woman and one of a man, both flanked by an animal holding a ring in its mouth.

The sculptures were looted before the start of the Civil War in Syria. Looted objects from ancient sites like Palmyra were known to be major sources of funds for terrorist groups. Artifacts stolen by ISIS flooded the antiquities market during the height of the group’s power. Along with looting, ISIS made a concerted effort to destroy pre-Islamic artifacts, as well as much of Palmyra, in what has been called cultural genocide. The return of these artifacts from Palmyra represents one of the first steps toward healing the wounds of these enormous losses.

In 2017, the looted artifacts were displayed at the Musée d’art et d’histoire in Geneva to raise awareness about the harm of looting. In 2020, the United Nations held a tribunal and it is there that Syrian authorities claimed the pieces and asked that they be restituted. The statues were held at the Musée d’art et d’histoire for safekeeping until the hand off.

When the artifacts were discovered in Geneva, authorities learned that they had been shipped from Qatar. The sculptures were found along with other looted artifacts from Libya and Yemen. The statues were handed over to Syria’s permanent mission at the United Nations last week.

DCMS Museums and Galleries Sector Coronavirus Bulletin 29 Nov 21

Below is a link to download the latest PDF coronavirus bulletin from DCMS for the museums and galleries sector, containing links to government information and advice, including:

  • Face coverings will be made compulsory in shops and on public transport in England from Tuesday 30 November.
  • Face coverings will be mandatory in museum shops in England.
  • They will not be mandatory in other parts of museums in England, and all hospitality settings will be exempt.
  • All international arrivals must take a Day 2 PCR test and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.
  • All contacts of suspected Omicron cases must self-isolate, regardless of their vaccination status. They will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
  • The measures are precautionary, and will be reviewed in three weeks.


Passionate about diversifying curatorial practice?

Jerwood Curatorial Accelerator is a new pilot scheme to support curatorial and leadership development for UK-based visual arts curators from low socio-economic backgrounds. Through a 12-month cohort-based learning and mentoring programme, curators will develop new networks, skills and knowledge to enable them to lead and impact the future of the visual arts sector.

There is a dearth of specific research into socio-economic backgrounds of curators, but what there is suggests the level of diversity of UK-based curators is very low: only 21% of museums and gallery staff are from low socio-economic backgrounds and there is a lack of ethnic diversity, disabled and women in senior leadership roles across the visual arts sector*. This programme responds to the need to address this, acknowledging the role of curators as ‘gate keepers’ to the diversity and breadth of art that is programmed and visible publicly.

Jerwood Curatorial Accelerator is focused around eight two-day residential training and networking intensives taking place in different locations across the UK. Each one is built around a host arts organisation who will support wider engagement with artists, curators, art leaders and arts organisations locally. Across the 12-months this is complemented by an online programme of workshops and talks co-created with the Accelerator Fellows, alongside individual mentoring.

The programme will support ten early-career curators from low socio-economic backgrounds who have overcome barriers already to be working in the arts. There is no educational eligibility requirement, and we encourage both those with an independent or institutional employed curatorial practice as their main role, or those who curate as part of a second or freelance role they support by other employment. Accelerator Fellows will be selected by a focused open call via Jerwood Arts and host organisations networks launching in Spring 2022.

Jerwood Curatorial Accelerator is funded by Arts Council England and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation with support from Art Fund. It is part of Arts Council England’s Transforming Leadership Programme, through which Jerwood Arts is also delivering the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries programme and Alumni Fund 2020-22.

If you are an arts organisation with a shared interest in supporting increased diversity and inclusion in curatorial practice and would like to discuss being part of this pilot programme please contact Harriet Cooper, Head of Visual Arts.


Find out more

Read the press release here.

Read our news story about Jerwood Curatorial Accelerator here.

Sign up to our newsletter for future updates here.

Find out more about the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries programme here.