Archive for the ‘home’ Category

NWFED NEWS: Introducing New NWFED Board Member – Andy Pearce

Sunday, August 18th, 2019

Andy Pearce has over 30 years experience in the museum sector in the North West in roles ranging from Education Officer to Director. He has worked in a wide range of heritage organisations from small independents to large nationals, from charitable trusts to local authorities and has had responsibility for the care and display of many different types of collections from social history to fine arts. The institutions he has worked in, or led, have varied greatly in staff numbers from some of the smallest to some of the largest in region. For the last three years he has been lucky enough to work on museums internationally which (he hopes!) has given him a new perspective on our region.

Andy admits to having had two guiding passions throughout his career. Firstly, exploring how museums can uncover and present the stories of those whose history has often been forgotten or supressed. He is fascinated by how heritage can provide unique and revealing insights in to these rich and diverse ‘hidden’ histories. Secondly, encouraging and developing the staff and volunteers whose job it is to lead and encourage this exploration.

He hopes that with these experiences and enthusiasms he can make a worthwhile contribution to the NWFed’s aims to represent and champion the interests of museums and galleries in the North West, and the people who work in them, on both a regional and a national level.

On his appointment to the Board, Andy explained:  “When I first became aware of the North West Fed more than 30 years ago it performed a vital role providing accessible training, and perhaps more importantly, keeping us in touch with our colleagues across the region. The sector has changed beyond recognition since. However, I believe that in its unique position as a member led, regional organisation the NWFed can still play an important part in supporting and developing those who work and volunteer in the North West’s museums and galleries.”

NWFED NEWS: Introducing New Board Member – Rebecca Miles

Sunday, August 18th, 2019

Originally from America, Rebecca Miles is now permanently settled in the UK.  Before moving to the UK in 2013, she worked for the University of Kentucky as an archaeologist excavating and surveying prehistoric and historic sites throughout the state of Kentucky.  After arriving in the UK, she started building up her skills and experiences by volunteering for the Manchester Museum, the Science and Industry Museum, the National Trust’s Quarry Bank Mill, the People’s History Museum, and for an Arts Award project run by the charity Legasee teaching primary students about the history of the Korean War. In 2016, Rebecca was appointed to the Front of House team at Ordsall Hall as a Heritage Facilitator leading primary school learning sessions focused on Tudor history and culture. Outside of her work in museums, Rebecca’s many other interests revolve around handicrafts such as hand and machine knitting, working with felt, embroidery, and hand loom weaving.

When asked about her motivations for joining the board, Rebecca explained: “I wanted to join the board to represent fellow front of house staff who are integral to ensuring all visitors have a positive experience as soon as they walk in through the doors of our museums. As a newly appointed board member, I hope to highlight the efforts and unseen struggles of staff working within our region’s front of house teams and help to find more opportunities to help them develop the skills they have in providing our museum’s visitors with high-quality customer service and in engaging with local our communities.”

 

NWFED NEWS: Introducing New Board Member – Claire Benjamin

Sunday, August 18th, 2019

Claire Benjamin is Deputy Director of the Education and Visitors teams at National Museums Liverpool, which includes the International Slavery Museum, Merseyside Maritime Museum, Museum of Liverpool, World Museum, Walker Art Gallery, Sudley House and the Lady Lever Art Gallery. She is responsible for the strategic development of education initiatives, community engagement and front of house visitor experience across the museums. Claire is currently providing strategic support for the internationally acclaimed House of Memories dementia awareness programme and wider income generation initiatives for the organisation.

Claire joined National Museums Liverpool in 1998, and has previously worked as Communities Co-ordinator, Education Manager and Public Programmes Officer. She is a Fellow of the Museums Association.

On her appointment to the NWFed’s Board, Claire explained: “I am excited to be joining the NWFed’s Board at such an interesting time for the sector, given the exposure of the All Party Parliamentary report in 2017 on the value of arts and health, and the Mendoza Report looking at how the bigger national museums in the region can engage better with smaller regional museum services. I think the role of the NWFed has a significant part to play in this conversation, and the bigger agenda of a Northern powerhouse.”

NWFED NEWS: Introducing New Board Member – Gordon Chancellor

Sunday, August 18th, 2019

Gordon Chancellor moved to Stockport in February 2019 from the East of England, where he had been the Museum Development Officer (MDO) for Cambridgeshire since 2013. Gordon is now freelance and keen to work with museums in the North West. His museum career started as a geologist at the Oxford University Museum in the 1980s, before being appointed Curator of Peterborough Museum in the 1990s, and then taking on the role of Chief Executive Officer of the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society in the early 2000s. From there he went on to become an Archive Development Manager for the Museums Libraries and Archives Council, then Business Manager at the UK Data Archive in Essex before returning to museums as an MDO. Over his career, he has managed a considerable number of Heritage Lottery and Arts Council England funded projects and is especially interested in governance and the issues facing independent museums.

Gordon is delighted to be involved with the Federation and has already enjoyed getting to know other Board members. Being new to the North West, he is excited to be learning about the region which he says is very different (in good ways!) from the East of England. So far he has concentrated on visiting the bigger museums, but hopes that being on the Board will give him opportunities to contribute to the small and volunteer-led museums. Having been part of the SEMFed for many years, is keen to use that experience to help the NWFed to develop its programmes for members. He is also very keen to mentor young people who love art and nature and want to make a career in museums.

 

BLOG POST: NWFed Meeting at Manchester Museum, 28 June 2019

Friday, July 5th, 2019

Last Friday we were treated to a brilliant double session themed on Asia and hosted by Manchester Museum. Catherine Lumb, Learning and Engagement Co-ordinator, told us about the current exhibition from India, then Bryan Sitch, Deputy Head of Collections and Archaeology, described his research in advance of planned displays about China. Bryan said that the arrival of Esme Ward as Director in 2017 had focused the Museum’s activities on engaging with audiences. They are doing this by highlighting human stories, especially in the Lee Kai Hung Gallery of Chinese Culture. The gallery has been developed as part of the Museum’s ‘Hello Future’ project, which also includes a £13 million transformation, including a new South Asia Gallery (in partnership with the British Museum) and a new temporary exhibition gallery.

While many venues across Manchester are gearing up to commemorate the bicentenary of the peaceful but brutally suppressed rally which we know as Peterloo, the Museum is commemorating the even worse events at Amritsar in 1919. Catherine, who has led on the Jallianwalla Bagh 1919: Punjab under Seige exhibition from the Partition Museum in Amritsar, led us through the exhibition which tells the story of the terrible events of 13 April 1919 when General Reginald Dyer ordered his troops to open fire on unarmed men, women and children, killing at least 300, who had gathered to protest against their British oppressors. The exhibition also explains how the background of decades of injustice meted out by the British occupiers in the Punjab led to the massacre. It also covers its aftermath, namely global condemnation of the British which accelerated their departure from India twenty-eight years later. Tragically, as is well known, that departure led to the ‘Partition’ of Pakistan from India and terrible atrocities committed by both Muslims and Hindus. The Singh Twins have painted a superb picture of the massacre, hung near the entrance to the Museum as the central panel of a triptych, to be joined by one showing the events before 1919 and one showing the aftermath.

Catherine told us how she carried out almost all the liaison with the Partition Museum by Skype, only visiting Amritsar once at the end of negotiations, and she said that the five-hour time difference had presented challenges! A great outcome of the exhibition has been a co-curated approach, working with Manchester communities, which is central to the development of content for the South Asia Gallery.

Bryan explained how he had been awarded a Headley Trust Art Fund Fellowship to research content for a new Chinese Culture Gallery, which is planned to open around the same time as the South Asia Gallery in late 2021. A substantial donation from Businessman, Dr Lee Kai Hung (a Manchester University Alumnus) is funding the new gallery and Bryan is unearthing some of the amazing links between China and Manchester as part of the content. Bryan has so far unraveled the stories behind some of the great Chinese objects in the Museum’s collections, exploring the stories of Manchester’s people and their connection to China. The aim is to stimulate empathy in the visitor, fostering a stronger understanding between communities in the UK and China – including the missionary Alfred Bosshardt who was held captive by the Red Army and his relationship with the general Xiao Ke.

There is never a better way to find out about new approaches to the development of new galleries and exhibitions than hearing it from the people involved. We are grateful to Catherine and Bryan for sharing their vision and passion for creating a museum that focuses on empathy and collaboration.

If you have a project or an idea you are working on and would like to share it with the NWFed and its members, please email our News Editor, Emma Sumner: hello@emmasumner.com

NEWS: New-look National Lottery Heritage Fund unveils plans for the next five years

Monday, February 18th, 2019

A major decentralisation of decision-making across the whole of the UK is at the heart of new plans to distribute more than £1 Billion of National Lottery money to the UK’s heritage over the next five years which will see decisions on around 80% of all funding by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (previously the Heritage Lottery Fund), made in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and three new English areas.

In addition, the new look National Lottery Heritage Fund will have a major focus on several new areas including: nature, communities, and on ensuring everyone is able to enjoy heritage; new models of investment, moving beyond grants to include loans and partnerships; more support for commercial, sustainable approaches to tackling heritage that’s in danger of being lost; investment and support to help heritage organisations to be more financially sustainable; a requirement for every heritage project that receives funding to be environmentally friendly; greater engagement and support to help 13 deprived communities that have in the past been less successful securing funding; and continued support for large-scale, iconic projects over £5million

Ros Kerslake, CEO of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Over the past 25 years, money raised by people who buy National Lottery tickets has profoundly changed how we view and engage with the UK’s exceptionally varied heritage. By putting people at its heart, it has helped our wonderful buildings, iconic landscapes, cultural memories and traditions and native species not just survive, but thrive.

“Over the next five years, The National Lottery Heritage Fund will inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage, distributing more than £1bn. So we will be making more decisions on funding locally and focusing on the heritage that really matters to people, creating jobs, bringing economic prosperity and improving people’s lives right across the UK.”

To find out more and for details on how to apply, Click Here.