Funding for three touring exhibitions as part of network
Arts Council England and Art Fund have announced a £336,000 grant for touring projects for the Museums and Galleries Network for Exhibition Touring (Magnet).
The funding will help develop and tour three new exhibitions opening in 2025, £75,000 of which will be put towards a three-year full-time network coordinator post.
Magnet comprises 12 partners from across England, as well as the Touring Exhibitions Group (TEG), to co-develop new exhibitions that will tour between partner venues.
One of Magnet’s key aims to address the unsustainability of “single use” exhibitions, as well as to share collections more widely and for more people to see them.
With museum partners in nearly every corner of England, the Magnet network comprises: Brighton & Hove Museums; Bristol Museums; Derby Museums; Hampshire Cultural Trust; Horniman Museum and Gardens (lead), London; Manchester Museum, part of the University of Manchester; Norfolk Museums Service; Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter; Sheffield Museums; Touring Exhibitions Group (TEG); Tullie House, Carlisle; Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, Newcastle-Gateshead; and the World Museum Liverpool.
The three collections-based exhibitions that will be developed with the funding are:
- A for Anthropocene (working title) at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery and Derby’s Museum and Art Gallery, followed later by Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, Manchester Museum and the Horniman
- What Does Colour Mean To You? (working title) at Exeter’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Tullie, Carlisle, and Gosport Museum and Art Gallery, followed by Sheffield Museums and Bristol Museum and Art Gallery
- Gender Stories (working title) at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery and Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, followed by World Museum Liverpool.
Magnet secured the funding following the successful pilot of its inaugural exhibition, Hair: Untold Stories, which opened at the Horniman Museum and Gardens in south London in December 2022 before touring to Tullie House in Carlisle, and is currently at Weston Park Museum in Sheffield. This pilot phase of was funded by Art Fund as a strategic partner.
Nick Merriman, the chief executive of the Horniman Museum and Gardens and Magnet lead, said: “There is now real momentum and a nationwide movement to support touring exhibitions. We know that, by pooling our resources, we can offer high-quality, co-curated exhibitions that make the collections of the whole network accessible to the public in a meaningful way. Thanks to Arts Council England and Art Fund we can now continue Magnet’s reach beyond the walls and vaults of any one museum and into local communities around the country.”
Jenny Waldman, the director of Art Fund, said: “Magnet’s pilot exhibition demonstrated how museums and galleries can collaborate on ambitious exhibitions, involving communities more deeply in the process, and foregrounding environmental sustainability. This new funding commitment will enable more of our wonderful collections to be seen and enjoyed by even more people across the country in a series of exciting new exhibitions. I’m thrilled that Art Fund has helped this innovative project to come to fruition, as one of an exciting array of new initiatives supporting touring exhibitions alongside our new UK-wide programme Going Places.”