We were delighted to welcome Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chairman of Arts Council England, to the AIM Conference on Friday 20th June 2014.
In his first major speech about museums this year, he praised museums for the strength of their community engagement – something he thought the rest of the arts sector could learn from. He highlighted the growth being experienced in the independent sector, contrasted with the extreme challenges being experienced by many Local Authority museums.
Bazalgette talked about the opportunity to and importance of collaborating across the museum sector at this time in making the case for museums and culture more widely. He pointed out that many people believe culture should be funded but they find it hard to say why – it is our job to help them understand why. He suggested that the intrinsic value of culture should stand above everything, but that the case should also be made around the contribution to society, learning and education and the economic impact of culture. He said AIM is recognised as having a central role to play in this and is seen as a key part of the museum sector.
He also paid tribute to museum development, describing it as ‘vital’ and reiterating Arts Council’s commitment to funding it in the future, though in Q&A John Orna-Ornstein pointed out that it may need to evolve in the coming years.
Bazalgette summed up by saying how much the Arts Council is enjoying having museums within its remit.
You can see the tweets sent during his speech on Storify. https://storify.com/Aimuseums/sir-peter-bazalgette-s-keynote-at-aim-conference-2