Following the official transfer this weekend, Chief Executive of Arts Council England Alan Davey reveals how his organisation has prepared to take on responsibility for museums and libraries from MLA.
It’s an exciting time for the Arts Council now we have assumed our new responsibilities for museums and libraries.
I am a keen advocate for the importance of museums and libraries to the quality of our country’s cultural life. My first experiences of culture were centred on my local library and museum and they have been a constant in my life ever since, giving me the space to read, explore and learn. This passion, which I know I share with many of my Arts Council colleagues, means we are determined to champion and develop them as a wonderful resource for current and future generations.
We’ve been working for many months to develop our strategy for museums and libraries to make sure we’ve got the knowledge and expertise in place to be an effective funder and developer for these vital sectors.
A new approach
We’ve already published our vision for museums and libraries and how we feel the Arts Council can reflect the aims and ambitions of these institutions based all over the country. We see this as central to the conversations we want to keep having with museums and libraries as we find the ways in which the Arts Council can best support their work.
And we’ve launched a new approach to the Renaissance in the Regions programme, building on the scheme’s successes while creating an open, transparent and fair process for awarding funding that we think will benefit the entire museum ecology.
We hope that by opening up the application process a new mix of museums will find support through Renaissance and we’re encouraging museums to be ambitious in their applications – to come to us with bold and innovative proposals as to how they will contribute to our goals.
Later this month we’ll be announcing how we will use the Future Libraries programme to develop libraries, promote their information and learning role, and to foster better links between libraries, museums and the arts.
We see out new responsibilities as a real opportunity to build these partnerships, creating new and exciting opportunities for people to experience culture and making sure our marvellous organisations continue to inform and inspire audiences and users across the country.
Photo © Britainonview / Eric Nathan