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Arts Council England announces further details of its Renaissance programme – the Strategic support and Designation development funds


Arts Council England is announcing further details of its Renaissance programme for English museums – the Renaissance strategic support fund and the Designation development fund.

Today’s announcement includes:

· details of the recipients of Renaissance Strategic support in 2012/13

· the opening to applications of the 2013/14 Renaissance Strategic support fund

· the 25 successful projects awarded funding through the Designation development fund

Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, said: “Excellence occurs in all shapes and sizes and nowhere is that more true than in our regional museums. Their sheer variety demands different kinds of support to help them make the most of their outstanding collections and work.

“The various parts of Renaissance recognise those needs, and I’m delighted that we are now putting in place the last pieces of this comprehensive programme.

“The Renaissance Strategic support and Designation development funds will help museums to become more resilient and more ambitious, exploring original ways for people to engage with collections, and attracting even wider audiences.”

Renaissance Strategic support fund

The Arts Council is today announcing the 82 organisations who will receive a total of £6,892,400 through the Renaissance Strategic support fund in 2012/13. For many museums services, this will be the first time that they will be benefitting directly from funding through the Renaissance programme.

Funds have been awarded to a wide range of projects across the country. A full list of the recipients can be found on the Arts Council website here.

This fund is supporting activity that will contribute to the Arts Council’s goals as set out in Culture, knowledge and understanding: great museums and libraries for everyone, particularly in ensuring that museums become more sustainable, resilient and innovative, and able to attract wider audiences.

The awards announced today are for projects commencing no later than October 2012, and for activity largely taking place in 2012/13. They address two key areas:

· some geographical gaps in the portfolio of Major partner museums

· the development of knowledge through research to address issues across the museums sector

Projects receiving an award include:

· work with Museums Association, the Collections Trust, the Association of Independent Museums and the Local Government Association to address national issues including workforce development, security and leadership in local authority museums

· funding to help improve the resilience of Museums Sheffield through the development of audience engagement, improvement of access to the archaeology collection, and workforce development

· many regional projects including work with the Bulldog Trust to showcase regional collections of Cornish Art in London

Mark Taylor, Director, Museums Association, said: “Much progress has been made on developing the museum workforce in the last decade and it is good to see the Arts Council investing in this important area. Working with the Arts Council and Creative & Cultural Skills, the Museums Association will be leading the sector in developing an action plan to maintain the impetus of the last few years.”

Renaissance strategic support fund 2013/14 opens to applications

An open application process for the second stage of the Strategic support fund also opens today, for activity starting in April 2013. Applications for activity commencing in April 2014 will open in Autumn 2013. Up to £13.5 million will be available to apply for in both of these years. More information and guidance for applicants can be found on the Arts Council website.

Designation development fund

The Arts Council is also today announcing the 25 projects involving museum collections that will receive funding through the Designation development fund. Around £1.7 million will be invested in these projects for activities taking place between 2012 and 2014. The second funding round (2014-15) will open in Autumn 2013.

The Designation development fund will invest in a wide range of projects that ensure the long-term sustainability of Designated museum collections, maximising their public value and sharing best practice across the sector. Examples of funded projects include:

· Leeds City Museum undertaking projects with their unique study collection of bird skins by researching, documenting and rehousing them so that they can be better accessed and used in their public programmes

· The Weald and Downland Museum developing a programme that will celebrate the art of thatching, with activities centred on the demonstration and capture of the craft, education and themes of sustainability

The Renaissance programme

The Strategic support fund and the Designation development fund are both parts of Arts Council England’s Renaissance programme for regional museums in England. The Renaissance programme includes: the 16 successful Major partner museums; nine museum development providers; and a suite of National programmes including Accreditation, Designation, the V&A Purchase Grant Fund, the PRISM fund, support for national campaigns such as Kids in Museums and Museums at Night, and Subject specialist networks. The Strategic support fund is the final part of the Renaissance programme.


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