The policy column

Funding, relevance and collections
Laura Pye
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The Museums Taskforce, which was convened by the Museums Association (MA), has met three times and, following an initial discussion on the opportunities and challenges, we have focused on three main areas: funding, relevance and collections.

In February, we published our first statement on funding in England. The recommendations are aimed at national and local government, strategic agencies and funders. We will also be making recommendations for the sector and sector bodies, and intend to publish a list of options that museums might wish to explore, in terms of securing alternative funding. The taskforce is working on funding statements for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and will publish statements on relevance and collections in due course.

Our discussion on relevance has focused on how we can ensure the sector is confident enough to articulate its relevance in different arenas. In terms of collections, we will focus on loss of expertise, contemporary collecting, disposal and collections knowledge. We have also reviewed what research is available to support the sector, and will be reviewing the results of the MA museum survey at our next meeting.

One of the most interesting areas of the taskforce’s findings is the insight into the situation in all nations, and the work of the supporting sub-committee has been invaluable. We can learn a lot by reviewing how each nation has tackled the challenges that we all face to ensure the future sustainability of the sector.

Laura Pye is the head of culture at Bristol City Council and is the chair of the Museums Taskforce


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