ACE outlines new approach to Renaissance

Core museums model scrapped in favour of major grant programme
Sharon Heal
Arts Council England (ACE) has announced details about how it will deliver Renaissance in the Regions from October.

The announcement will mean major changes to how Renaissance is operated and funded. Instead of Core museums, ACE has announced that it will run a programme of major grants, similar to the national portfolio programme that it already runs, and the proposed challenge fund will be replaced with a strategic support fund.

Alan Davey, chief executive of ACE, said: “Our new approach to Renaissance will strike a balance between continuity and change, building on the considerable achievements of the past.

“We’ve looked carefully at each area of the programme to try and achieve the greatest possible alignment with ACE’s work, making sure Renaissance helps museums across the country to fulfil their aims and ambitions.

He added: “We recognise there is still work to do in taking on these functions and we’ll continue to talk to the museums and libraries sector as we look to adjust ACE’s goals to reflect their needs and priorities.”

Mark Taylor, the director of the Museums Association (MA), said he broadly welcomed the announcement.

“What’s pleasing is that ACE appears to have taken on board some of what the MA has been pushing for. I hope the funding criteria and the goals for museums reflect the MA’s ideal of proven public benefit.”

He added that the MA would be giving the results of its consultation with members on the new goals to ACE, and that the review of museum development and the details of the strategic support fund needed to be urgently addressed.

The major grants programme will begin with an open application process, and according to a statement from ACE it will look for museums with the “appetite and capacity to play a wider leadership role in the sector”.

Full details of the criteria and application process will be available in early September, with successful applicants informed by early 2012.

The details of the strategic support fund are still under discussion.

ACE has said it will maintain a “strong commitment to museum development” and that national programmes such as Accreditation, Designation and advice on security and cultural property will be retained.

In September ACE will also publish a companion document to Achieving Great Art for Everyone, its 10 year strategy for the arts, on how it will interpret its strategic goals for museums and libraries.

  • ACE’s chief operating officer, Althea Efunshile, will address the MA conference this year – click here to find out more