Museums invited to take part in BBC’s Art That Made Us Festival - Museums Association

Museums invited to take part in BBC’s Art That Made Us Festival

UK-wide festival celebrating creativity will take place throughout April

Museums, galleries, archives and libraries are invited to take part in a BBC festival to celebrate creativity in collections across the UK from 1-30 April.

The Art That Made Us Festival is seeking partners to help spotlight examples of creativity through events inspired by objects in their collections, including debates, displays, talks, tours, exhibitions, performances and workshops. The BBC will encourage audiences to engage with these events through its networks, stations and digital platforms.

All museums, galleries, libraries and archives are welcome as festival partners and no institution is too big or event too small. New events can be created or existing events badged as part of the festival, and events can be digital or held in real life.

The BBC is working with stakeholders, including the Museums Association, Art UK, Art Fund, Association of Independent Museums, Culture24, Libraries Connected, National Museum Directors’ Council and Scottish Libraries Information Council, to engage with audiences across the UK.

The festival will coincide with the broadcast of a new BBC Two series, Art That Made Us, an eight-part cultural history of the British Isles. The series will explore how pivotal works of art, literature, design and music have helped shape the UK’s creative story.

The BBC says the series “traces an exciting, contested narrative, focusing on artworks that emerged at times of turbulence: the constant flux of migration and conquest in our early history; the trauma of the Black Death in the middle ages; the religious upheaval of the reformation; the civil war; the industrial revolution; the explosive growth of the city during the 19th century and divisions between town and country; and the generational impacts of world war in the 20th, a youth culture challenging the old establishment and the rise of a multicultural society”. 


“It’s also a story of innovators, disruptors and visionaries, responding to seismic events and redefining our art and its possibilities,” says the BBC. “Each programme focuses on eight to ten extraordinary objects and explores what they reveal about a turning point in our history. Housed in galleries, museums, archives and libraries from around the home nations, some works are well-known, and others overlooked. The series features contributions from a diverse range of working artists inspired by the past and comment and analysis from cultural historians and curators.”

Alistair Brown, the MA’s policy manager, said: “This is a great opportunity for museums to participate in a UK-wide festival and build on the BBC’s landmark new TV series to engage people with the history of creativity across the UK. We’re encouraging museums of all types and sizes to sign up and get involved – whether by creating new events or rebadging existing programming.”

The BBC would like museums:
  • To sign up as a festival partner 
  • To create free or cost recovery events inspired by books or objects in your library which celebrate creativity
  • To register those events with Culture24 so they can be listed on Museum Crush
  • To use festival branding
You can sign up:
  • To tell stories that have a particular relevance for your audiences
  • To shine a light on the treasures in your collection
  • To encourage the public to visit their local museums
  • To shine a light on the UK’s extraordinary cultural heritage
  • To be part of a BBC nationwide initiative celebrating our creativity
The BBC will support festival partners by:
  • Broadcasting Art That Made Us, a landmark series on BBC Two which is already in production
  • Providing programme synopses for partners and listing of some of the objects featured in the series to help with planning events
  • Opening up its archives of TV, radio, photographs and documents collections (with reasonable access and subject to rights) to help you enhance your festival content
  • Working with a small selection of institutions to try out the latest storytelling technologies the BBC has been developing on MakerBox. These tools may enhance your archive assets and create interactive and immersive experiences for your visitors online and in-person. You could use Canvas to easily create scrolling stories using archive content such as this page on Wedgewood’s First Day’s Vase or the story of Scotland’s dancing prisoners of war. You could also create soundscapes to complement your collection using Audio Orchestrator which visitors can listen to on their phones. You might want to create a soundscape to complement a new art collection, or use the BBC sound effects archive to recreate the sound and atmosphere of medieval battle using visitors’ phones as speakers. Stories and partners will be selected after application
  • Aiming to promote the festival and tell festival stories across all its platforms - television, radio and digital
  • Providing partners with festival branding
  • Using digital platforms to bring together festival content in one place
  • Updating partners via a newsletter containing the latest information about the festival and series

To sign up as partner and for more information visit the Art That Made Us Festival homepage.

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