The Great North Museum at Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums

Major grant allocations announced

Patrick Steel, 24.01.2012
ACE awards £20m Renaissance funding to 16 museums and partnerships
Arts Council England (ACE) has today announced funding allocations for its £20m Renaissance major grants programme.

The full list of museums and partnerships is:

  • Beamish and Bowes Museum
  • Birmingham Museums Trust (Birmingham City Council, Think Tank)
  • Bristol City Council
  • Cumbria Museums Consortium (Tullie House, Wordsworth Trust, Lakeland Arts Trust)
  • Horniman Museum and Gardens
  • Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust
  • Leeds Museums and Galleries
  • Manchester Partnership (Manchester City Galleries, Manchester Museum, Whitworth Art Gallery)
  • Museum of London
  • Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service
  • Oxford University Museums and Oxfordshire County Museums Service
  • Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter and Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery
  • Royal Pavilion and Museums, Brighton and Hove
  • Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums
  • University of Cambridge Museums
  • York Museums Trust

ACE received 29 eligible applications altogether. The 16 successful applicants requested a total of £23.5m a year against an annual budget of £20m per year to March 2015. The exact amounts of each award will be announced this April.

One year's transitional funding will be available to unsuccessful applicants who currently receive support from the MLA Renaissance hub scheme, to help them adjust to these changes. Transitional funding is negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

Map of ACE funded museums and partnerships

View ACE Museums RFOs in a larger map

To compare with a map of former MLA hub museums, click here

Alan Davey, the chief executive of ACE, said: "The announcement of our 16 major partner museums is a significant step forward in the Arts Council’s closer relationship with the wider cultural sector."

"They have all been chosen for the excellence of their work, their innovative approaches to connecting audiences with their collections, and for their compelling plans for the future.

"We are excited to be working with them and we’re confident that together they have the skills and ambition needed to provide the sort of inspirational leadership and direction that will benefit museums and audiences across the country."

Maurice Davies, the MA’s head of policy, said: “There are one or two rough edges, and obviously some museums will be disappointed, but the overall package looks like a good cut of the major regional museums.

"The fact that this outcome was arrived at through arts council criteria, without taking into account historic packages of funding, is a very positive reflection on the process which was very rigorous with very clear criteria for decision making.

“It is important to bear in mind that there is still £15m a year to come in strategic funding, and those museums that were not successful this time round could still receive funding, but on a different basis."

Strategic support and museum development funding

Details of the £15m a year Renaissance strategic support fund will be announced in the autumn. The fund is designed to complement major partner and museum development investment and, according to ACE, will focus on any gaps or development opportunities not addressed by the other funds.

From Tuesday 7 February until Wednesday 7 March this year, museums will also be able to bid for a share of the £3m per year Museum Development fund. The fund primarily targets accredited museums not covered by other strands of Renaissance funding. Successful applications will be announced by the end of April 2012.

For more on Museum Development fund, click here (ACE website)


This story was updated at 11.50am


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MA Member, MJ Subscriber, MP Subscriber
01.02.2012, 14:37
A quick glance shows only two university museums represented - Oxford and Cambridge - which have substantial alternative forms of funding and a rather elite university population.
There are a large number of university museums spread across the country. ... A fair choice?
MA Member, MJ Subscriber, MP Subscriber
25.01.2012, 17:08
The point that Peter makes is quite correct - the great infrastructure you mention is as much a negative as a positive, meaning most people are within an hour of London and the National's free-museum offer, as well as strong competition from the attractions markets.

That is my whole issue millions of people do not live in an area where they are within easy access of the free natiobal museums.

This settlement makes them rely soley on poorly funded local provision. How does the settlement give fair aceess to great museums for everyone.

ACE's own studies show that out of 356 local authorities Oxford & Brighton are areas with the highest participation in the accesing arts & culture ranked 346 and 345.

So where people are already accessing the arts more money is pumped in. The perception is that the rich get richer while those with less but more need wither.
25.01.2012, 15:11
To 14:20 - I would argue your views on the South East.

From the ACE reallocation, the SE has 2 funded museum services - a University service in Oxford and a large public funded service in Brighton.

The SE region is huge, it serves a huge population, it has the highest number of independent and voluntary museums in the country, and museums in the far east of the region do not have an ACE partner museum within 100 miles of them.

The great infrastructure you mention is as much a negative as a positive, meaning most people are within an hour of London and the National's free-museum offer, as well as strong competition from the attractions markets.

In Kent we have very little County leadership in heritage, meaning district councils use greatly reduced resources, a current part time county-wide MDO and no Federation for the whole region.

Kent, like the east Midlands is just as lacking in ACE leadership (but at least that region has some legacy to grow from).
MA Member, MJ Subscriber, MP Subscriber
25.01.2012, 14:20
So for whatever reason ACE has failed to keep their promise of a fair geographic spread. Large areas of the country go without, often with communities who would benefit most from access to a good museum service. Whilst areas that have great facilities already get more.

The south east is so well served with well funded museums and with the best transport infrastructure that it seems silly to put money into that region.