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Society and Culture Society and Culture

Share museums’ and galleries’ work and expertise across the country

Last updated: 09:13am 17 January 2019

….we will work with the nation’s most eminent museums and galleries to ensure their works and expertise are shared across the country.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.34

Our verdict

This policy sits within the “Our Precious Union” section of the manifesto and is part of the government’s broader ambition of ensuring that “our civil service and major cultural bodies…represent and be present across our whole United Kingdom”. In particular, this is about shifting the focus away from London and give major cultural institutions, like museums and galleries, a presence across the UK.

In November 2017 the government published The Mendoza Review: an independent review of museums in England, alongside the Strategic review of DCMS-sponsored museums, both of which make recommendations for government actions.

The Mendoza Review proposes efforts “to ensure audiences and museums outside London get what they need from the nationals”. Specifically, with regard to moving the focus away from London, the review says:

“The nationals will, through the National Museums Directors’ Council (NMDC), work with DCMS [Department for Culture, Media and Sport], ACE [Arts Council England] and HLF [Heritage Lottery Fund] in building a new ‘partnership framework’ to extend their reach throughout England in a more strategic way.”

Additionally, both reviews highlight the importance of digital innovation and delivering cultural education to young people, strategies which contribute towards fulfilling this policy promise.

On behalf of the government, the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism accepted the Mendoza Review’s recommendations and pledged to work to make them a reality.

In October 2018, the Museums Action Plan was published, outlining steps to implementation of all the Mendoza Review recommendations. Alongside the action plan, the Museums’ Partnership Framework was launched which details four aims and nine actions, all of which are designed to meet this policy objective. The government should publish its first “annual partnership report” in spring of 2019.

We’re marking this as ‘in progress’. Much has already taken place to move this forwards, but we’ll be looking for detailed evidence in the upcoming annual report of galleries and museums sharing work and expertise across the country in order to move this to ‘done’. Follow this policy for updates.

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