Our Chair, Helen Fairs, shares some updates from the NWFed board, including changes to the team, what we’ve been up to in recent months and tweaks to our small grants scheme.

It was October last year at our Annual General Meeting that I started my role as Chair of NWFed, which equally feels like just yesterday and a long time ago! It has certainly been a period of change for the Federation as several board members have left and new board members have joined us. As a board we have only met twice since then and in late March we met in-person to really establish what we want to
do over the next 12 months and beyond. In the spirit of openness and transparency, I’d like to update our members with the latest news, thoughts and plans.

We’ve said a very fond farewell to board member Andy Pearce in March, who is moving on to pastures new. Claire Sleightholm from Tullie House is taking on the responsibilities of Individual Members Secretary, so big thanks to her for stepping up into that role.

Since October I have been out and about, meeting you and visiting our member museums and galleries across the North West to help inform our decisions about what the NWFed is and should do. It is clear to me and the board that our workshops and seminars – both online and in-person – are popular and useful, so we won’t be changing what isn’t broken there. We can see that our work to connect the people who make and create in our museums and galleries across the North West is much needed and appreciated, so we are going to do more of that.

One thing we could see needed changing was our small grants programme. We have recently increased our maximum grant up to £300 to help members access professional development opportunities like in-person or online training, spending time with another organisation, or any other way of developing your skills and experience. We have also streamlined the application process to make it as straightforward as possible, with the introduction of a simple form on the website, which you can see here. The next deadline for applications is Friday 10 May.

We are also underway with our planning for NWFed’s 2024 Annual General Meeting and Conference, which will be on Thursday 17 October. The location is still to be finalised but please do go ahead and save that date in your diaries and look out for more information coming soon!

If you have any suggestions or feedback for NWFed please know that we are always keen to hear from our members about what we are doing well and what we can do better. I’m always up for visiting any of our galleries or museums so please do not hesitate to make contact with me if you’d like to – my email address is chair@nwfed.org.uk

All best wishes for now,