How Will The Changes To The Arts Council England Investment Portfolio Benefit The Sector? We Talk To John Orna-Ornstein

Last week,  Arts Council England announced budgets for its 2018 to 2022 investment period, alongside sector guidance for applying to its National Portfolio. This follows on from an announcement by Arts Council England in July about changes to the way it will approach its investment from 2018, and for the first time,  museums and libraries will be part of the Arts Council’s investment portfolio. The application portal for the National Portfolio will open on 26 October 2016.

This is good news for AIM members in England, so we sat down with John Orna-Ornstein, Director of Museums and East of England for Arts Council England, to find out more about the changes and what AIM members should be aware of when applying.

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“We are keen to receive strong applications for funding from independent museums across the country” says John Orna-Ornstein, Director of Museums and East of England for Arts Council England

AIM: Why is the inclusion of museums and libraries in the ACE investment portfolio such good news for the sector John?

John: We have decided to integrate our funding for museums, libraries and arts organisations from 2018 onwards. We have just issued guidance for National Portfolio Funding, as well as information about Grants for Arts and Culture and our strategic funds.

The changes will allow the Arts Council to make the most strategic decisions about how to invest in culture and the arts in different places and they will encourage partnership between museums, libraries and arts organisations. For museums, they open up significant new sources of funding at a time of challenge.

AIM: John, why should independent museums apply for National Portfolio Funding 2018-22 and Grants for Arts and Culture?

John: The majority of museums are independent. Arts Council England aims to make great art and culture available to everyone; independent museums are a vital part of this. We are keen to receive strong applications for funding from independent museums across the country.

AIM: What should museums consider when deciding whether National Portfolio Funding 2018-22 or Grants for the Arts and Culture would be better for them – or can they apply for both?

John: They cannot apply for both – which is currently the case for NPOs. National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) will receive four years of regular funding. NPOs will be strong, dynamic organisations that are strategically important in providing a great cultural and diverse offer. This source of funding will only be available for a relatively small proportion of museums. Grants for Arts and Culture will be broadly accessible to Accredited museums, other than NPOs. It will fund a wide range of projects and activities, for sums of between £1,000 and £100,000.

AIM: Do you have any advice for AIM members considering applying for either NPO or G4AC funding?

John: These are new sources of funding and will be unfamiliar to many museums. The most important thing is to look carefully at the guidance on our website. After that, talk to one of the Arts Council team before thinking about an application. A conversation with an Arts Council England relationship manager is mandatory for new NPO applicants.

AIM: The first of ACE’s five goals is Excellence: what does excellence mean for museums in the context of the NPO funding… and is it different than for the arts?

John: Excellence is about a high quality product that engages a diverse audience. There are lots of common characteristics across museums and arts organisations, but a clear difference is around collections. We’d expect museum NPOs to have a strong collection that is well managed and supported, with dynamic plans to share that collection with audiences.

AIM:  What are you personally most looking forward to about having museums and libraries included in the ACE investment portfolio in the years ahead?

John: That’s a great question…I’m really excited about the new opportunity. I’m looking forward to being able to provide more support to museums and libraries doing great work in every part of England. I’m looking forward to more partnerships between the wonderful arts organisations we already fund and museums or libraries that we haven’t worked with before. And I’m looking forward to seeing arts and culture flourish despite the current economic challenge, partly because of effective investment from Arts Council England.

For further information please visit: Arts Council England’s “ambitious” 2018-22 investment emphasises geography and diversity

AIM would like to thank: John Orna-Ornstein, Director of Museums and East of England for Arts Council England and Eleanor Hutchins, Head of Media, Arts Council England.

 

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