Posts Tagged ‘galleries’

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.


Another Review of the Year

In Awards, Museums on December 31, 2013 at 1:30 pm

It’s that time in the annual cycle when everything that happened in the preceding year gets reviewed, recapped and summarised into short, pithy pieces of media for us to consume quickly.

The museum and heritage industry is just the same. We love awarding presenting awards, putting up celebratory plaques and looking back at what was the ‘best’ of the last 12 months.

So, I teamed up with Joe Deeney (author of the blog The National Museum of Joe) to review what we think worked well – and not so well – in museums in 2013.  We got together and chatted through our favourite museums, exhibitions, objects and toilets of the last twelve months. And we made it into a little video (click on the pic)  …

joe deeney and steve slack


Ssssh, it’s a secret …

In Museums, Uncategorized on April 23, 2013 at 9:53 am

What do you think about secrets?

There are some necessary secrets we all need to keep – your PIN and passwords; anything to do with the security of the nation; perhaps some personal medical information. But after that I get a bit nervous about keeping secrets.

Someone told me a secret recently. I felt honoured to be told it. And then found myself wondering what I’m supposed to do with that information – apart from keep it secret, of course. But if they’ve told me the secret already, then is it still a secret any more? And does that mean that I’m allowed to share it??

It’s not a hugely important one in the scheme of things – it’s about an exciting plan for an exhibition coming up in a few years. Of course I can’t give any clues as to where the exhibition might be or what it’s about – but I can tell you that it’s pretty darn exciting news in the world of museums and heritage. It’ll be all over the news when it comes to it.

Have I said too much already, I wonder?

No, it’s fine. I’ve just acknowledged that I know something you don’t (unless you’re the person who told me and you’re reading this) which is sort of showing off.

There’s a lot of that in the museum/gallery/heritage sector – people tend to think that the decisions they take in private are much more important than they really are. Some announcements to the press in recent years have supposed to be huge media splashes, but have of course ended up being a public outing of the best-known secret across the sector. Gossip and word-of-mouth are pretty powerful tools.

Perhaps I’ll just keep this post sitting here on my blog for a few years and then, when the mighty revelation comes, I’ll revisit this and see if the secret ended up being kept a secret or if it got blown in the meantime. Watch this space ….