We wanted to recognise that there are lots of museums working in completely different ways, such as with commissioning agencies in the NHS as well as working with other museums. I'd like to see partnerships that aren't traditional ... in which organisations are working in new ways to strengthen their value and add to the communities they serve

Diane Lees, Director General IWM and chair of the Museums + Heritage Awards judging panel

Partnerships between cultural institutions can provide a multitude of benefits such as the sharing of resources, ideas and audiences as well as revenue-generating opportunities where loans are concerned. Partnerships that expand beyond cultural organisations and link schools and universities, businesses and community groups can also generate income but also new approaches to working that engage new audiences.

The importance of partnerships was highlighted in the DCMS Action Plan published in October 2018 as a response to the previous year’s Mendoza Report, which wanted to see museums diversifying their income while ‘informing and playing a part in local cultural and placemaking strategies, including improved relationships with other culture providers, education organisations, healthcare, local authorities and LEPs’. It also wanted to see museums extend international partnerships in regards touring, loans, research and collections knowledge.

But what are the best examples of this? The Partnership of the Year Award seeks the most innovative and impactful partnership project or programme of 2018, which should involve at least one museum, collection or heritage site, and one or more additional partners (which may be non-museum or heritage organisations).

Judges will look for partnerships that have achieved something which individual organisations could not have realised by themselves that demonstrates creativity and has had a significant impact on people, collections or a place.

Projects and programmes should focus on an innovative use of a site, engaging audiences that might not otherwise experience the museum, use or management of a collection, and/or utilisation of digital technologies.

Advisor on Film: Diane Lees, Director General IWM and chair of the Museums + Heritage Awards judging panel

A step-by-step guide to entering the awards

To enter the awards follow this link to the Museums + Heritage Awards website

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