117.04, p17, 01.04.2017
How can museums benefit from the Midlands Engine strategy?
Liz Weston, curator, Mansfield Museum

“We welcome the initiative as a positive step and are pleased that our sector is being mentioned in the same breath as infrastructure and business development.
We certainly feel that we have a key role to play in enhancing the quality of life in our area, as highlighted in the strategy’s objectives. Our one caveat is that smaller local museums, such as ourselves, are feeling the pinch of local government cutbacks so severely it makes it difficult to see how we could find the means to access the funding stream without the assistance of larger institutions.”

Simon Brown, curator, Nottingham Cities Museums and Galleries

01032017-voxpop5“The Midlands Engine Strategy recognises heritage as important to UK and overseas tourism. It is supported by local growth funding (LGF) distributed via local economic partnerships (LEPs). Museums that have a relationship with their LEP are in a strong position to apply for LGF for major development projects. It is vital that those without relationships get to know their LEP board members.

The strategy celebrates Midlands industries’ heritage. It is up to us to build on this to ensure LEPs recognise museums’ contribution to economic impact, skills development and quality of life.”

Rachel Cockett, director of development, Birmingham Museums Trust

01032017-voxpop-4“We have a strong natural alignment with the themes of the Midlands Engine, not least in the aspirations for local growth through skills development, outstanding visitor destinations, supported enterprise and lifelong learning.
However, the Midlands Engine and the industrial strategy reference the need for Stem (science, technology, engineering, and maths) skills in future workforces – this acronym should expand to incorporate arts (including humanities) to become Steam, to recognise the vital role creativity plays in true innovation and making.”

Hannah Fox, Silk Mill project director, Derby Museums Trust

01032017-voxpop-2“It is great that culture and museums are being recognised by national government as an intrinsic part of society. This holistic approach to museums alongside other infrastructure, town centres and the wider environment will maximise the benefit of this investment. I hope that the decisions on how the money is spent can be made at a local level. Nottingham Castle and Derby Silk Mill are examples of cultural development acting as a focal point for investment in city centres. There are numerous examples all over the country of urban regeneration with museums at the core.”