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Harris Museum & Art Gallery – Claire Wood

Seizing opportunity in challenging times Regional advocacy messages Conference season

We are entering a period of uncertainty: a lot of things are changing rapidly with major shifts in response to the economic crisis. We are starting to see what the future might look like and are clarifying our advocacy messages to demonstrate the achievements of the Renaissance programme in our region. In May, MLA requested that each Hub identify 2.4% of Renaissance monies for in-year cuts; though MDF and Accreditation funds are ring-fenced. When this newsletter went to print, we had identified funds in the partnerships programme where reductions would have the least impact on public-facing services. To achieve this, the Regional Renaissance Board is working to the following principles:  Honouring what is already contracted, including salaries  Safeguarding programmes that we are measured against  Protecting outputs and outcomes  Protecting investment that will save money in the long term  Ring-fencing funds that have levered in match funding

Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport

There is a need to focus on what has been achieved over the last 6 years. Even though funding is reduced there is no going back. We need to refocus on fewer, bigger priorities and new entrepreneurial opportunities. We need to consolidate some of our work, continue to prioritise sustainability and find new approaches to business models.

Manchester Art Gallery

Claire Wood

Seizing opportunity in challenging times

Britain has one of the most vibrant, extraordinary cultural sectors in the world… We have more world-class museums and galleries than anywhere else in the world. There will be in-year cuts in the budget and a tough public spending settlement for the next three years… But what I can promise you is this: culture will not be singled out as a soft target.

Over the coming months we will be looking at opportunities to generate additional funds to continue to develop our work. For example, we have already been successful in drawing down funds from HLF’s Skills for the Future, the Museums Association’s Effective Collections programme, ERDF for Industrial Powerhouse and the RDA to support regional museums across the North West. Virginia Tandy OBE, Director of Culture: Manchester City Council & North West Hub Lead

Total Place: how can we secure improved outcomes at less cost? Total Place aims to explore how a ‘whole area’ approach to public services can deliver a higher quality offer, tailored to local need and at less cost. ‘Putting the citizen at the heart of service design’ sums up the ethos. There have been 13 Total Place pilots that involved different places and partnerships, tackled a range of problems and adopted various approaches. What has been radical is that it is not a simple cost cutting exercise or specific service improvement initiative but an approach to public value that focuses on improvement, innovation and value to citizens from every pound of expenditure.

Museums need to take every opportunity to show they understand the challenge to work differently by developing new ways of cooperating with local people, the voluntary, private and public sectors to meet the needs of local residents. Museums can contribute a wealth of knowledge and understanding to Total Place about the communities we work with and the people who use our services. Museums can also offer radically different ideas for how to meet the needs of local people. MLA and Renaissance North West encourage museums to explore this new learning and approach to service delivery. Nathan Lee, Regional Manager – North West, MLA

For more information and to download the Total Place Practitioners Guide visit:

Wordsworth Trust

Based on the advocacy messages that MLA issued, we have created the following five key messages that are specific to the North West:  regional museums are raising the profile of Designated and other significant collections to increase visitor numbers and help people understand their heritage

Claire Wood

Regional advocacy messages

The Renaissance North West team has been developing powerful stories to promote regional museums for an advocacy campaign that began after the election.

 regional museums are increasing participation by local people to create a sense of place  Renaissance is supporting key museums to lever additional funding to contribute towards their developing role in the tourism economy and regeneration  Renaissance funding has helped museums to have a real impact on early years, the quality of education and adult learning  museums in the region are playing an increasing role in improving health and well-being. We have been reviewing existing research and collecting new evidence to make the case for regional museums to illustrate each of the five messages. The focus of this work has been to demonstrate the outcomes that museums deliver for the benefit of their visitors. Many of you will know that the Museums Association launched an advocacy programme called Love Museums earlier this year. One of the MA’s top tips for museums that wish to promote the benefits of their service to stakeholders is to:  find information that you can draw on

New audiences are enjoying the region’s Designated Collections Students will be able to create their own transcriptions from the Wordsworth Trust’s collection of manuscripts. The Wordsworth Trust is embarking on a DDF project to investigate new ways of interpreting manuscripts to engage with new audiences. The Trust is developing a partnership with Newcastle University English department to create an interactive facility for their teaching with ‘turning the pages’ software which enables visitors to virtually leaf through manuscripts.

Museums shape communities and help residents make sense of local events Staff at Lancaster Maritime Museum responded to frequent visitor requests about the dangers of Morecambe Bay by transforming static archival material and oral history recordings into an interactive gallery resource of recent maritime history. The Museum addressed local need and now visitors can learn more about incidents that have touched their lives such as the Chinese cockle pickers tragedy and fatal helicopter ditching – issues that are important and relevant to the community.

 repurpose evidence that already exists  reinforce existing messages and make them meaningful for your organisation.

Local people are benefiting from increased investment in public services

Here is a selection of case studies that illustrate the achievements of regional museums. We hope that this will help you start thinking about how you can develop your own advocacy to help you influence your museum’s stakeholders.

Residents in Middleton are curating and designing their own on-line exhibition from the collections at Touchstones Arts & Heritage Centre in Rochdale. Touchstones was awarded a £49,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to continue to grow the Community Curates: Middleton project which was supported by Renaissance North West in 2008.

Museums are increasing attainment in pupils There is a growing body of research which builds the case that there is a link between museum learning and school attainment. Renaissance North West pioneered a particularly innovative and effective partnership programme between Children’s Services and museums in Manchester. Primary schools are developing a ‘whole school approach’ to working with museums. In the 2006-07 academic year, progress in writing attainment which was ahead of local and national norms was associated with this programme.

Museums are improving health for the young and elderly Pupils are participating in physical activity, nutrition, mental health and wellbeing workshops at Tameside Museums as part of their Healthy Schools programme. Young people with addiction problems are being supported by Gallery Oldham through work with Connexions and with the Pupil Referral Unit, while residents and staff at Salford care homes are participating in a reminiscence project called ‘Memory Matter’ that Salford Museum runs with funding from the Primary Care Trust and Social Care.

Claire Wood

Museums in Manchester have initiated a culture change in the provision for Early Years Whitworth Art Gallery

NIACE, the leading nongovernmental organisation for adult learning in England and Wales, has said that the Manchester Museums Early Years Consortium has initiated a culture change within museums. They report that ‘from a very early age young children are comfortable with using and are inspired by museums and galleries’. In 2007-08 a joint evaluation of strategic commissioning and Renaissance education programmes concluded that regional museums are delivering against each of the Government’s Every Child Matters outcomes. Reviews of early years and family learning programmes in the North West outline how museums cater to young children’s physical and sensory need to learn through interaction with objects and people, and contribute to the development of communication and social skills.

Regional role of the Whitworth Art Gallery The Whitworth has always had an important role in the region as a centre of expertise in world textiles, prints, drawings, watercolours and wallpapers. Renaissance investment has allowed us to take on a regional leadership role for collections development. Deputy Director, Jennifer Harris, chairs the NW Collections Group that oversees a programme that invests in projects at museums that fall outside mainstream hub funding but want and need to benefit from the resources and expertise within hub partner organisations. Building on this and its acknowledged strength in textiles, the Whitworth is a lead partner for Stories of the World – the North West Cultural Olympiad programme. At the Whitworth this will mean an exhibition and a programme of work with young people exploring global reach and significance of cotton. For the region, it will mean a programme running from now to the Olympics that engages visitors and especially young people in thinking about the world significance of the North West’s most significant creative industry: textiles. We have started this work at the Whitworth by re-interpreting and displaying textile ‘slave-dolls’, which were selected for the BBC programme A History of the World. Another major strand of Renaissance collaboration has been developing awareness of the regions museums with visitors to the North-West. I have also had tremendous fun working with colleagues Kate Farmery (MAG), Susie Stubbs, Helen Palmer and Alex Saint from the Renaissance North West team to develop, a sassy and intelligent guide to the brilliant collections and exhibitions, like our current Walls Are Talking wallpaper show, presented by the museums in the North West. Dr Maria Balshaw, Director, Whitworth Art Gallery

Conference season MA conference returns to the region Renaissance North West is supporting free places at this year’s Museums Association Conference & Exhibition. The event will take place 4, 5 and 6 October 2010 in Manchester. These places are for colleagues:  e mployed at a museum or gallery in the North West   who are individual MA members  w  ho can commit to attend all three days

Save the date

 w  ho have not recently attended the MA Conference.

The final Curating for the Future conference will take place on Thursday 11 November 2010 at the People’s History Museum in Manchester.

Places are limited. To register your interest please contact Katie Athey by 13 August 2010. Successful delegates will be notified week commencing 16 August.

With the new political and economic climate, what opportunities does the future hold for museums and the people they serve? What are the tangible outcomes of advocacy? How can the sector plan for new ecologies?

If you or a colleague would like to gain work experience by volunteering at this year’s conference please contact Julian Andrejczuk, For more information about this event visit:

These are some of the themes that will underpin the event. Case studies from small to medium sized museums will kick off a series of intimate workshops of intense discussion and debate. Sharing practice, learning, examining new ways of working and new models of delivering services will be key – and every delegate will be invited to participate and contribute ideas and opinions to shape the day. This year’s conference will be very different in feel to any previous conference. It will be a celebration of what regional museums have achieved since Renaissance was established in the North West and provide delegates with the opportunity to share practice and start conversations with colleagues from across the region.

Sustaining museums, sustaining communities The Literary Houses Group and The Wordsworth Trust are staging a conference that examines new ways museums maintain their buildings, visitor figures, workforce, collections and income streams. Case studies on day 1:

Case studies on day 2:

 A  RUP – maintaining conditions for visitors and collections at the Wordsworth Trust

 A  ll About Audiences – what are Standpoint visitor surveys telling us about museum visitors in Cumbria?

 R  uskin Museum – how the Green Museums Leadership Programme is changing the culture of the museum

  The Wordsworth Trust – the role and impact of interns

 G  reen Museums – an online lecture exploring new technology

Day 2 will also include the Literary Houses AGM.

 R  enaissance North West – joint retail and income generation projects   Turton Tower – collections review at historic houses.

 Keats House – the poetry ambassadors. 14-15 October 2010, The Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere. For full programme visit:

For more information on all the conferences and to book a place contact Katie Athey

Changing practice One year on, catch up with two museum staff who were supported by Renaissance North West to participate on the Professional Development Programme at the University of Manchester. Joanne Davies, Schools and Colleges Manager, Manchester Art Gallery

Joanna Pugh, Regional External Affairs Manager, National Trust, North West

“Wow! Zing! What life, what energy! And truly surreal.”

I have really enjoyed my year as a PDP trainee. It has increased my knowledge and understanding of museums and I am now more confident when talking about good practice.

This quote sums up my experiences of the Professional Development Programme at the Centre for Museology. It’s a visitor’s reaction to an installation called Teenangels that I produced with young women from Levenshulme High School. The installation formed part of their GCSE coursework and coincided with Manchester Art Gallery’s Angels of Anarchy: Women Artists and Surrealism exhibition.

Training & Events 5 July Object Assessment and Conditioning Reporting FREE Manchester Museum

24 September Labelling and Marking Objects FREE NML, Dale Street Training Room, Liverpool 30 September Environmental Control and Monitoring FREE Lancashire Conservation Studios, Preston 21 October Care and Storage of Archival Material FREE Lancashire Records Office, Preston 22 October Developing Your Volunteers, Trustees and Friends Seminar FREE Manchester Museum For information about all events, including booking contact Katie Athey

For more information visit

Emma Anderson, Renaissance North West Manager 0161 235 8822 Myna Trustram, Research Manager 0161 235 8849 Jennie Pitceathly, Regional Museums Development Manager 0161 235 8810 Katie Athey, Events & Communications Support Officer 0161 235 8892 Kaye Tetlow, Collections Care Liaison Officer 07500 065537 Sarah Cooper, Accreditation, Standards & Review Officer 0161 306 1772 / 07500 226470 Julian Andrejczuk, Workforce & Skills Development Officer 07538 181257 David Craven, Collections Development Officer: Natural Sciences 07798 668258 Louise Sutherland, Learning Development Manager (maternity cover) Brendan Parker, Finance & Performance Manager 0161 235 8872 Connie Witham, Finance & Performance Officer 0161 235 8897

North West Museums Strategy Consultation Events 8 July Lancashire Conservation Studios, Preston & 15 July Catalyst, Cheshire

Alex Bird, Support Officer 0161 235 8825

For more information and to book a place contact Catriona West, NWFED Coordinator

To help protect the environment, this publication is printed on stock from renewable/sustainable sources using only organic based vegetable inks.

15 July Insurance, Loans and Couriering FREE Manchester Art Gallery

Contact the Renaissance North West team

I used this project to focus my time working with the Centre for Museology, a relationship that has proven the most valuable part of the programme. The experience has built my confidence in speaking out, communicating ideas, and sharing my working practice with team mates and external colleagues. This journey has created a buzz and an energy I am continuing to work on!

Over the year I met practitioners, visited a range of museums and had time to reflect on the context within which museums work. I also carried out a work-based piece of research, which examined how the National Trust presents its properties to audiences and how this contributes to visitor enjoyment. The programme gave me the opportunity to investigate an aspect of the Trust that I am not directly involved in and I am now starting to share my findings with colleagues and discuss how to take ideas forward.

Renaissance North West newsletter July 2010  
Renaissance North West newsletter July 2010  

ISSUE 14 JULY 10 Harris Museum & Art Gallery – Claire Wood Total Place aims to explore how a ‘whole area’ approach to public services ca...