ACE urged to review support for museums

Patrick Steel, 03.04.2012
MA calls for streamlined system with focus on impact
Responding to Arts Council England’s (ACE) paper Culture, Knowledge and Understanding: Great Museums and Libraries for Everyone, the Museums Association has called for a fundamental review of the purpose and responsibilities of ACE’s funding for museums.

The MA response reads: “Over the next year or so, ACE has the opportunity to provide greater clarity of purpose, remove duplication and ensure support meets strategic priorities… this should have the aim of producing a streamlined system, better able to support museums in improving their impact.”

The MA urges ACE to encourage greater sharing of collections, facilitate increased co-production with people and communities, address skills needs around business and entrepreneurship, and to fund activites that encourage diversity.

The response also raises the need to allocate resources to broaden entry routes to the sector, improve career structures and address low pay.

In a blog entry today, Maurice Davies, the MA’s head of policy, expanded on the response, expressing concern that ACE’s “preoccupation with artistic excellence” has less relevance for many museums, while its inheritance from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council should be reviewed and only the best elements retained.

“Looking back, the MLA was right on many of the principles, but sometimes made the implementation rather too complicated… there are many things that the MLA championed that ACE should retain. But some parts of the inheritance could happily be disposed of.

“I’d like to see ACE directly funding a far wider range of activity than the MLA did.”

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MA response to Culture, knowledge and understanding (word)

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