Today plans were outlined for the funding of Renaissance along with a ‘road map’ for the evolution of the regional museum development programme in future years.
In a move which signals the Arts Council’s intention to strengthen its expertise in museums and libraries, Sir Andrew Motion – current Chair of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) – has also been appointed to its National Council as an observer. In addition, the Arts Council is committed to retaining the specialist knowledge and expertise necessary to fulfil its new responsibilities through the retention of key MLA staff.
Since the Arts Council agreed in December to assume responsibility for Renaissance in the Regions, the regional museums and libraries development agendas, and the cultural property functions, the two bodies have been working together to develop their transition plans and provide clarity for currently funded regional museums and other organisations as quickly as possible.
The emerging plans recognise the challenging funding environment for 2011/15 and are focused on achieving the best possible outcomes for regional museum and library users across the country with the resources available.
The two organisations are keen to provide clarity about funding in the short term (2011/12) while maintaining a collaborative and focused approach to funding for the following three years. Discussions have also centred on the future direction of the Renaissance programme and providing a ‘road map’ for change.
The principal agreements to date are:
- MLA retains responsibility for 2011/12 funding decisions, but decision-making on budgets with a longer-term impact will be shared with the Arts Council, to ensure that those decisions dovetail into the longer term objectives of the Arts Council
- to this end, the MLA will shortly release plans for the 2011/12 Renaissance budget that will enable nearly £35 million worth of grants to go directly to regional museums, as well as the funding for priority projects such as the V&A Purchase Fund, PRISM, digital services, Museums at Night, Kids in Museums, Portable Antiquities and more. Details will be published by the MLA by Friday 11 February
- Arts Council England will announce its long-term plans for Renaissance in autumn 2011, in time for the 2012/13 budget making process. Applications for Renaissance funding for 2012-15 will open in September and funding decisions will be announced by the end of 2011
- the Arts Council supports the MLA’s vision for a reshaped Renaissance and 2011/12 will be a transitional year. The Arts Council will consult with the museums sector during the spring and summer before taking final decisions on the new shape of Renaissance. The aim is to establish the needs and expectations of the museums sector, and to create a coherent cultural offer that encompasses the arts, museums and libraries
- the Arts Council will review the role it expects Core museums to fulfil within the museums sector alongside the role of those organisations with whom the Arts Council will forge a strategic relationship in its new National portfolio funding programme
- the Arts Council will continue the V&A and PRISM funds as part of its key museums activity, and invest in them via the Renaissance budget
- alongside the discretionary museum and library functions Arts Council is inheriting from the MLA, the two organisations are committed to the continued delivery of the statutory services connected with cultural property, such as acceptance in lieu, export licensing and government indemnity