The New Museum School is a £1 million educational programme supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and operated by Culture& and Create Jobs. The latter duo of charitable organisations aim to open up the arts and heritage industries to a more diverse workforce so the sectors can be better representative of society at large in future.

This mission is underpinned by findings from the PANIC! Social Class, Taste and Inequalities in the Creative Industries report, conducted by the Universities of Edinburgh and Sheffield in 2018. This paper highlighted the difficulties facing people from working class, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds in forging careers in the cultural and creative industries.

Student Opps Grant
The first 16 New Museum School trainees graduated this week © Culture&

To help counteract this, New Museum School particularly supports individuals who are underrepresented in the cultural industries. This includes people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, differently abled people, those from the LGBTQ+ community, as well people from a range of socio-economic backgrounds. There are also no formal entry requirements in terms of academic qualifications.

“As we know from our wider work in this space, pathways into work within the heritage sector and the creative sector more broadly is very complex and often predicated on experience rather than potential and mindset,” Oliver Benjamin, director of employment and skills at Create Jobs, explains. “With the New Museum School we have had the opportunity to develop a new way for diverse new talent, which would otherwise be overlooked through traditional recruitment methods, to access paid work.”

The graduation ceremony was held at Queen’s House in Greenwich © Culture&

To this point the scheme has gone from strength to strength. In its inaugural year 16 traineeships were undertaken, with participants achieving a 100% Diploma completion rate. Space on the course’s first year was oversubscribed by more than ten people for each place. 2019-2020 has seen a further 18 trainees taken on, all of whom are currently embedded within a partner institution.

Partner institutions

2018/2019 Partners:
Brent Museum & Archive
English Heritage Trust
Keats House
Magnum Photos
Museum of Croydon
Museum of London
Three National Trust sites: Sutton House, Rainham Hall and the London Creative Team
Royal Academy of Arts
Royal Collection Trust
Royal Museums Greenwich
Shape Arts
Southbank Centre
William Morris Gallery

New 2019/2020 Partners:
City of London
University of West London

Rob Shakespeare, principal curator at Keats House, one of the New Museum School partner institutions, said the programme has provided a “fantastic way to connect Keats House with new talent”, adding that the trainees brought “fresh ideas and creative thinking into the team and help diversify the people who work in and enjoy the cultural offer of London.”

The scheme provides work-based training which leads to an RQF Level 3 Diploma in Cultural Heritage, alongside access to continuous professional development and a peer-led alumni programme. A tax-free bursary equivalent to that of the London Living Wage is also available for participants.

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