Arts Council England has revealed the 28 museums and libraries which have been awarded a combined total of £2.1 million in the third round of Designation Development Funding. The cash injection will reach the chosen organisations in the period of 2019-2022.

“We have some of the finest museums in the world across this country, which are home to a great number of nationally and internationally significant collections,” according to Kate Bellamy, director of museums at Arts Council England. “I’m very pleased for the museums awarded funding today, helping them to protect and develop their collections so they can continue to inspire, entertain, engage and educate visitors from all over the globe.”

The Designation Development Fund was established to support projects that safeguard the long-term sustainability of Designated collections, maximise public value and encourage the sharing of best practice across the sector. Financed with National Lottery money, individual grants were made available between £20,000 and £90,000.

Chartered Institute of Fundraising October 2021

Where will the £2.1m go?

The third round of Designation Development Funding has been awarded to Designated collections including:

  • The Sedgwick Museum, £89,406 to create a world leading research centre for its collection of rocks and fossils
  • The Weiner Holocaust Library, £89,944 to increase access to its Jewish refugee family papers through cataloguing, conserving and digitising the collection

Redressing the balance

From April 2020, Arts Council is introducing a socio-economic monitoring question into its annual data survey for National Portfolio Organisations.

Following a pilot phase, 2021 will be the first time Arts Council will be able to assess these responses. The question has been arrived upon following extensive research conducted by Dr Susan Oman and in line with Cabinet Office recommendations on methods of measuring background.

Taking this step, Arts Council claims, will be integral in developing a “detailed picture of the socio-economic background of the sector”. The organisation will also be publishing its own socio-economic data.

The question will be: Thinking back to when you were aged about 14, which best describes the sort of work the main/highest income earner in your household did in their main job?

“There is a growing body of evidence that people from lower socio-economic backgrounds are under-represented in publicly funded culture,” Simon Mellor, Arts Council England’s deputy chief executive, noted.

“This is a significant concern both to the Arts Council and the organisations that we invest in. Gathering better data about the backgrounds of those who currently work in our National Portfolio is an important step in understanding the scale of the problem and helping us to consider what steps we can all take to challenge the barriers that people face in entering and progressing in our industry.”

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