Written evidence submitted by Renaissance
South East (arts 212)
This document outlines a preliminary response
from Renaissance South East to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee
inquiry and call for evidence for The Funding of the Arts and
The key points include:
Museums should be considered as part
of the broader heritage sector in this inquiry.
Uncertainty of future funding models
can have a negative multiplying effect.
Sector consolidation is likely to
result in knowledge loss and reduced capacity to support local
museums undertaking beneficial transformation.
2. RESPONSE TO
2.1 What impact recent, and future, spending
cuts from central and local Government will have on the arts and
heritage at a national and local level
2.1.1 For the purpose of this response, heritage
is considered to incorporate museums. Museums are an integral
part of this cultural landscape providing for the cultural entitlement
needs of local communities and supporting wider tourism agendas.
The Renaissance programme to date has encouraged the museums sector
to transform itself into a dynamic cultural asset that contributes
significantly to economic and social priorities. The South East
Museum context is illustrated in Appendix A.
2.1.2 Proposed spending cuts at both a national
and local level are likely to result in a reduction in the capacity
of museums to sustain the quality of outreach, learning, museum
support advice, training and collections care. The reductions
are likely to result in staff consolidation and associated experience/
knowledge loss from the heritage sector.
2.1.3 When considering wide spread spending
cuts it is necessary to consider the multiplying impact it may
have in the local economy and the capacity of the heritage sector
to recover in the longer term. Appendix B outlines some of the
recent achievements of Renaissance South East to highlight what
the opportunity cost could be.
2.1.4 The potential impact of a combination
of reduced national and local investment in heritage may include:
Local Authority Museum consolidation
of capacity and an associated reduction in ancillary support to
independent local museums.
Consolidation of museum assetsrequiring
advice on ethical disposal of collections and closure of museums.
Reduce capital budget expenditure
on the maintenance and enhancement of facilities and buildings.
Reduced support to museum accreditation
and the sustainment of standards.
Reduced capacity for museums to undertake
quality outreach and community engagement programmes.
Reduced capacity to undertake volunteer
coordination and provide opportunities for volunteering in the
Reduced opportunity to undertake
good practice sharing and continual professional development as
specific interest networks become unsupported and training budgets
Knowledge/experience lost from the
sector as staff levels reduce.
2.2 What arts organisations can do to work
more closely together in order to reduce duplication of effort
and to make economies of scale
2.2.1 There is scope for a number of heritage
organisations to collaborate more closely to ensure the efficient
use of public funding to support the sector. The short nature
of a project based approach to cultural support (typically with
a business case of two years) limits the substantial benefits
which could be realised from considering them as part of a transformational
programme for the heritage sector.
2.3 What level of public subsidy for the
arts and heritage is necessary and sustainable
2.3.1 Renaissance South East has been working
with museums to help them become more economically sustainable
and giving them the skills to develop into thriving, cultural
organisations. The programme is transitional and will take a period
of time to fully realise the benefits. Investment is necessary
for this transformational programme to continue.
2.4 Whether the current system, and structure,
of funding distribution is the right one
2.4.1 The abolition of the MLA presents an opportunity
to establish a more sustainable model of funding for museum transformation
in which it directly meets the regions needs and has a low central
administration. The process of transition needs to be transparent
and have adequate time for local consultation.
2.4.2 This investment must be highly targeted.
We propose to build upon the achievements of Renaissance and focus
on activities that strengthen the economic performance in the
regions. Specifically future funding should be used to support
activities that encourage national and international tourism,
sustain quality of place at a local level, improve the quality
of life for all residents, and encourage centres of excellence.
Activities that develop a skilled workforce and that inspire Big
2.4.3 The South East region is one of the greatest
contributors to the nation's economy and will be vital to its
recovery. Many of the communities in the South East have high
cultural participation, cutting back significantly on investment
in museums and wider cultural activity in this difficult financial
climate will be counterproductive in terms of economic recovery
in the short and longer term. Clearly efficiencies and savings
need to be made, but now is the time to continue a good degree
of investment if we are to look after the reputation of the South
East as a quality place to live and attract business. See Appendix
A for précis of the South East Museum context.
2.4.4 This investment must be highly targeted.
We propose to build upon the achievements of Renaissance and focus
on activities that strengthen the economic performance of the
South East. Specifically future Renaissance funding would be used
to support activities that encourage national and international
tourism, and that sustain quality of place at a local level. Activities
that develop a skilled workforce and that inspire Big Society.
The programme would continue to make museums more economically
sustainable, joining up with other cultural providers to maximise
resources and potential.
2.5 What impact recent changes to the distribution
of National Lottery funds will have on arts and heritage organisations
2.5.1 Jeremy Hunt's promise of more lottery
money for heritage, that the Heritage Lottery Fund would receive
an increased share of lottery profits, back to the levels it received
when the lottery was founded in 1994 has been welcomed by museums.
As other sources of capital funding for museum-related projects
become harder to access, the Heritage Lottery Fund will become
even more key to museums' drive to revitalise their services and
ensure they are relevant to modern audiences, so that they can
continue to increase the public's interest in the past and the
world around them.
2.6 Whether the policy guidelines for National
Lottery funding need to be reviewed
2.6.1 There needs to be an increase in the flexibility
regarding match funding as other sources of funding become even
harder to unlock.
2.7 The impact of recent changes to DCMS
arm's-length bodiesin particular the abolition of the UK
Film Council and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council
2.7.1 The most significant impact of the changes
is the increased uncertainly it has perpetuated in the heritage
sector. The abolition of the MLA as a wider umbrella organisation
for the sector increases the need for strong regional organisations
such as Renaissance which can support the transformational change
of the sector.
2.8 Whether businesses and philanthropists
can play a long-term role in funding arts at a national and local
2.8.1 Yes, there is scope for greater involvement
of business and philanthropists in the long term funding of the
heritage sector. This approach requires further investigation
to identify how external funding can be optimised to support the
heritage sector in the long term. Something in here about how
successful Arts and Business has been as an organisation especially
within the arts sector and how this can possibly be replicated
in the museums sector?
2.9 Whether there need to be more Government
incentives to encourage private donations.
2.9.1 Private donations to museums will be become
an increasing source of revenue, especially in larger scale capital
projects. Government incentives to make private donations easier
would be welcomed by the sector.