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Arts Council England announces successful Museum development providers and opens applications to the Subject specialist network fund

10 May 2012

Museums and Libraries

Arts Council England is today (Thursday 10 May) announcing the nine successful applicants to the Museum development fund, and is also opening the Subject specialist network fund to applications.

Both the Museum development fund and the Subject specialist network fund form part of the Renaissance programme – the Arts Council’s framework of support for the development of English regional museums between 2012 and 2015. During this period, the Arts Council will invest approximately £129 million in regional museums through Renaissance.

This is the first time Museum development funds have been awarded for just under a three year period (August 2012/13 – 2014/15) by Arts Council England.

The successful applicants to the Museum development fund announced today will provide a national network of professional advice to all museums, particularly supporting smaller museums. Their priority will be to improve the sustainability and resilience of the museums sector, helping to maximise benefits to audiences and communities.

Museum development funds will target areas of work that will increase the resilience and sustainability of these museums. Programmes of work will include business planning, workforce development, attracting new audiences and organisational improvement. The museum development providers will work closely with the roles supporting the Accreditation standard and the other elements of the Renaissance programme including the Major partner museums announced in January.

Together, these nine museum development providers will receive £8,071,077 between 2012 and 2015. With a museum development provider in each of the nine regions, support and expert advice will be available nationwide.

Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England said: “In revising the Renaissance programme following the Arts Council’s assumption of responsibilities for the development of English regional museums, we consulted closely with museums and their stakeholders, and in doing so, recognised the high value that the sector puts on museum development and the essential role it plays in supporting the sector.

“We are therefore very glad to be announcing, for the first time, our commitment to museum development for just under three years of funding. We’re confident that the final nine museum development providers are in the best position to build on previous successes, and, in working with the other strands of our Renaissance activity, can develop the sustainability of regional museums across the country.”

The Arts Council has also today opened applications to the Subject specialist network fund. Through this £150,000 annual fund, the Arts Council aims to support the sharing of knowledge and expertise about museum collections across the country to maximise their public value. In particular they offer a way for museums experts including those from national museums to work with collections from across the country. Examples of existing Subject specialist networks include the Society of Museum Archaeologists, Dress and Textiles Specialists, and the Sports Heritage Network.

The Arts Council is inviting existing and new Subject specialist networks to apply for funds to support them to share their knowledge and expertise widely across the museums sector. Money will go towards networking events such as study days or conferences, the development of digital resources, training, fellowships or mentoring schemes, and travel bursaries.

The Subject specialist network grants are one part of the Renaissance national programmes strand. This suite of activity also includes funding for Collections Trust and Culture24, campaigns such as Kids in Museums and Museums at Night, the V&A Purchase Grant Fund, the PRISM Fund, and the Designation development fund.

The £700,000 annual Designation development fund will open in late May 2012, and will invest in projects that ensure the long-term sustainability of Designated collections. More details will follow in due course.

The Arts Council will also announce details of the final part of the Renaissance programme – the Renaissance Strategic support fund – in the summer. Strategic support will focus on any gaps or development opportunities that have not been addressed by the other funds. In 2012-13, there is approximately £7 million available for strategic support, and £15 million a year in 2013-14 and 2014-15.

All parts of the Renaissance programme are delivered in the context of the strategic goals laid out in Culture, knowledge and understanding: great museums and libraries for everyone, and work together to provide support and drive improvements and excellence across the non-national museums sector in England. Museums can also apply for other Arts Council funds for arts based activity.

Notes to editors

The Museum development providers and the amounts they will receive from August 2012 to March 2015:

o Bristol City Museum & Art Gallery & Archives; Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery; Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery; South West Federation of Museums & Galleries - £1,192,000

o Herefordshire Heritage Service; The Marches Network - £832,000

o Leicestershire County Council - £719,887

o Manchester City Galleries; Manchester Museum; Whitworth Art Gallery; Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery; Wordsworth Trust; Lakeland Arts Trust - £880,000

o Museum of London - £650,190

o Norfolk Museum & Archaeology Service - £1,141,000

o Royal Pavilion & Museums Service, Brighton & Hove; Hampshire County Council Arts & Museums; Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust; Oxfordshire County Museums Service - £1,400,000

o Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums - £416,000

o York Museums Trust - £840,000

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2015 and 2018, we plan to invest £1.1 billion of public money from government and an estimated £700 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.