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Posts Tagged ‘funding’

The arts are thriving across the north

In art, galleries, Museums on October 31, 2017 at 3:48 pm

For a few years the predominant news story about the UK arts sector has been about constraints, cutbacks and cost-effectiveness (i.e. doing the same but for less money). But a clutch of new and refurbished art galleries opening across Yorkshire and the north of England have given us all hope that the future for the cultural sector is brighter than might have been thought. Indeed, there’s a sense of optimism in the air. Investment in the region is paying off …

Leeds Art Gallery has just reopened after an extensive refurbishment at a cost of £4 million. While restoration work on the Victorian building was underway a barrelled ceiling was uncovered and has been transformed into a beautiful top-lit space for displaying sculpture. The gallery is once again at the heart of the civic centre of the city, sandwiched between the library and Henry Moore Institute.

Newcastle University’s Hatton Gallery also reopened in October after a £3.8 million redevelopment. Here Edwardian architecture has been polished up and combined with new spaces for exhibitions and public events. Their opening exhibition Pioneers of Pop seems to be as fresh faced as the institution now is.

A few miles south, the town of Bishop Auckland is home to a brand new arts venue. The Mining Art Gallery is the first institution of its kind to celebrate art made by miners who worked underground. In an area that has seen so much uncertainty and necessary economic diversification since the decline of coalmining in the area, celebrating the mines and their creative output is seen as a hugely positive step. It’s the first venue to open as part of The Auckland Project which will see more exciting museums and galleries opening in Bishop Auckland in coming years.

Developments such as the revamped The Piece Hall in Halifax and the refitted JORVIK Viking Centre in York are creating economic income for the region from increased tourism, which always benefits the wider arts sector.

And while Hull’s year as UK City of Culture is coming a close this part of the country is also looking forward. The Great Exhibition of the North in summer 2018 will be another focus of artistic talent and activity to keep momentum in the region going.

So rather than doom and gloom, the artistic future of the north is looking rather positive.

Keep the funding, and the visitors, coming.

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Plymtouh History Centre aims high

In Museum [Insider], Museums on February 12, 2014 at 1:30 pm

Councillors in Plymouth believe that by investing in a new history-themed visitor attraction, they will attract new visitors and business to the city.

The council intends for Plymouth History Centre (name to be confirmed) to bring to life the city’s rich history and tell the stories of some of their legends and heroes such as Scott, Darwin and Drake.

They claim the ‘not to be missed’ attraction will open by January 2018 and will cost in the region of £21 million. And more than just historical storytelling, they hope the new initiative will attract more visitors, create local jobs and boost the city’s economy.

We see a lot of projects coming along in the museum and heritage sector with high ambitions. I was recently working on a project which had the aim of being ‘the best museum in the world’. But what are these claims worth? Is it just hot air to get funders to agree to give you a load of cash so you can build it? Perhaps I’m battle hardened by working on these projects, but I wonder if they really have the power to make good their ambitions and create something truly different and novel in a sector already saturated with ‘new’ projects.

I truly hope the people at Plymouth prove me wrong and this is one of the greatest museums we see built in the next few years. Good luck to them!