Blog | Making the case for museums under threat and sharing our advocacy tips
How have we been advocating for the museum sector?
Advocacy is a key part of the MA’s work. We regularly write to and meet with politicians, policymakers and decision makers to make a strong case for the museum sector across all four nations of the UK.
As an independent organisation, we can speak openly to decision makers and provide challenge where necessary.
Over the summer we have been actively making the case for the museums across the UK. Below are some of the key advocacy activities we have undertaken over the last few months.
We have been responding to policy consultations including the Scottish Government International Culture Strategy, Scottish Parliament’s inquiry on Culture in Communities and the Scottish Government’s budget inquiry.
We have written letters to local councillors at Glasgow City Council to express our concern over the cuts to Glasgow Museums.
We met with Scotland’s new minister for culture, Christina McKelvie, to introduce the work of the MA and the key issues facing the museum sector.
We gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Committee on their pre-budget scrutiny on funding for culture.
We have been undertaking research into the social impact work of museums in Northern Ireland across four areas: health and wellbeing, placemaking, museums as spaces for engagement, reflection and debate, and addressing the legacy of colonial collections. We launched the report, Museums changing lives in Northern Ireland, in September and we will use the findings to support our advocacy in Northern Ireland.
We have successfully lobbied Cardiff Council to grant the Museum of Cardiff a five-year stay of execution and are currently working with council leaders and museum staff to help find a new home for the museum.
We are also co-organising an advocacy event at the Senedd, alongside the Welsh Federation of Museums and Galleries and Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales. This will provide an opportunity for elected officials to learn more about the contributions museums make to make to cultural rights, anti-racism and wellbeing in Wales.
We meet regularly with the department for culture and Arts Council England to discuss strategic priorities for the sector in England, and we work with other sector bodies, including the English Civic Museums Network, to ensure that the challenges and opportunities that museums face are understood by funders and decision makers.
We continue to make the case for the extension of the Mend fund and the Museums and Galleries Exhibition Tax Relief.
DCMS has confirmed that the Public Sector Decarbonisation scheme portal will open on to applications on 10 October and is expected to close a few days later once the required volume of applications is received. DCMS is also processing this year’s applications to join the VAT33a refund scheme and will shortly confirm expected timings.
In September, we held an online Museum Conversations event on advocating for your museum where a panel of speakers from across the UK discussed what effective advocacy looks like and provided tips on how to advocate for your museum.
Our next advocacy event will be on 8 November at MA Conference 2023 in Newcastle-Gateshead, where we will run a workshop for in-person attendees on how to advocate for your museum.
Image: The People’s Palace, Glasgow