Arts Council England Welcomes Evidence Of Cultural Shift

Arts Council England today launched its diversity data report Equality, Diversity and the Creative Case 2015/16 at their Power Through Diversity event in Manchester. The Report shows that there are signs of a cultural shift emerging around workforce, with more black and minority representation, but that more progress was needed, particularly in the area of disabled representation.

For the first time the Arts Council has collected and published data on the socio-economic profile of audiences. The report shows that those most actively involved in arts and culture tend to be from the most privileged parts of society. This adds to previous research from DCMS’s Taking Part surveys which looked at the diversity of audiences and revealed that Black, minority ethnic, and disabled audiences continue to be underrepresented.


Speaking at the event, Arts Council England’s Chief Executive Darren Henley said, “Our challenge is to remain focused on that mission – to bring great art and culture to everyone.” Darren, who has authored two Government reports on the importance of cultural education, said: “From cultural education, through apprenticeships, training and skills, to higher education, to leadership opportunities. We need to see where the barriers and gaps are, and how we can overcome these. Any young person, whether disabled or not, black, Asian or working-class white, urban or rural, should feel that if they’ve got the talent and the commitment, we’re offering them a roadmap to success.”

It is also the first time the Arts Council has collected diversity data on leadership. The data reveals that women, and people who identified as Black, minority ethnic or disabled, are underrepresented in boards and senior roles in the arts and culture sector. Darren called for sustained investment in talent across the sector: “That means putting diverse talent at the centre of our work and at the top of our organisations.”

He also reiterated the Art Council’s commitment to capturing reliable data as this remains crucial to the sector’s case for public investment. He said, “We must be able to present an accurate picture of progress and of problems, and when we identify those problems, what we’re going to do about them.”


Arts Council England’s Chief Executive Darren Henley said, “Our challenge is to remain focused on that mission – to bring great art and culture to everyone.”

Key report findings include:

Sector Workforce (pages 10-18 of the report):

From data submitted by National Portfolio Organisations we see that:

17 % of the workforce is Black and minority ethnic

4% of the workforce identifies as disabled

55% of the workforce are female

The most represented age group was aged between 20 and 34, which made up 29% of the workforce

From data submitted by Major Partner Museums we see that:

7% of the workforce is Black and minority ethnic

4% of the workforce identifies as disabled

62% of the workforce are female

The most represented age group was aged between 20 and 34, which made up 17% of the workforce

Leadership (page 18):

8% of chief executives, 10% of artistic directors, and 9% of chairs, are black and minority ethnic.

5% of the Chief Executives, Artistic Directors and Chairs have a disability.

And although well over half of the sector workforce is female, percentages are lower in the most senior positions: 43% of Chief Executives, 28% of Artistic Directors and 32% of Chairs are women

Arts Council England’s Workforce (p29):

11% of the workforce and 18% of directors are Black and minority ethnic

4% of the workforce identifies as disabled

65% workforce are female

Download a copy of the Arts Council’s report here:

Equality, Diversity and the Creative Case 2015/16

A full copy of Darren Henley’s speech is available from the Arts Council England press office. Please email:






Launch Of A New Peer Learning Network – The Happy Museum Affiliate Scheme

Since 2011 the Happy Museum Project has been bringing together thinking around sustainability and wellbeing. The project has explored how these, together, offer an approach to creating more sustainable and resilient museums and communities. The project worked with a growing number of individuals and museums through funded commissions, peer learning, open workshops and the creation and sharing of a suite of tools and resources.


In late 2014 the project published a 5-year Plan outlining a programme of activity at the completion of they intend to disband.  A key element of this programme, the new Affiliate Scheme, offers the opportunity for a wider network of individuals and organisations to connect with, and contribute to, the development of Happy Museum thinking and practice. It will create a peer learning network which will:

*Work with a positive frame for practical action which puts societal wellbeing at its heart

*Form a supportive and collaborative group in which to share practice and build learning

*Encourage exploration of the particular role of museums and culture in addressing the big issues – such as climate change and social justice

*Connect with relevant thinkers in fields such as economics, ecology and psychology

*Provide the opportunity to experiment, innovate, reflect, connect and play


Affiliates may be cultural organisations as well as museums. They may be departments. They may be individuals working with or in a museum/cultural organisation.

“The [Affiliate Scheme] understands that museums are well-placed to open up wider societal conversations about difficult and challenging topics and should model this by developing resilience in their own staff and communities…it acknowledges that investment in people is key!” Kate Forde, Senior Curator, Wellcome Trust

The scheme will be underpinned by the principles of give and gain developed by Project Phakama in ground-breaking work in South Africa. Through this process ‘learning becomes two-way; everyone has something they can give to the project and everyone has something to gain. And through this interchange of skills, knowledge, information and ideas, everyone becomes both student and teacher.’

The aim is to keep the scheme light touch and financially, organisationally and individually sustainable, taking ideas from the sharing and gift economy (how about museum B&B where host organisations offer accommodation to visiting peers?) and open source learning – including online and social media alongside face-to-face gatherings.

Read more about the scheme and how to submit an Expression of Interest by the deadline of Wednesday 7 December.  Please direct any queries to Hilary Jennings at



Increase Your Knowledge And Skills In 2017 With AIM

If you are looking to increase your professional knowledge and skills to enable you and the museums that you lead or support to flourish in 2017, then make sure you apply for the AIM Hallmarks Leaders and Enablers Programme which is now open for applications.

You might be a Museum Director who wants to build a supportive network of peers facing similar challenges – or to share ideas – or perhaps you are a Museum Development Officer or Consultant looking to extend your range of tools to resolve dilemmas and address complex issues. Whatever your role, the range of practical tools, ongoing support and new networks will inspire you with new ideas and enhance your confidence.

The AIM Hallmarks Learning Programme has been developed to address the needs of those who lead or support museums and is delivered on behalf of AIM by Ruth Lesirge and Hilary Barnard: highly experienced consultants with a strong track record of supporting chief executives from across the voluntary sector.


The learning programme is delivered over a series of short residentials to make it as easy as possible to fit in around work and personal commitments and participants in Round 1 commented that they appreciated the flexibility of the programme.

Each residential features expert guest speakers; usually one from the museum sector and one from the broader voluntary sector to offer a rich range of perspectives and we will be announcing our 2017 schedule of speakers very soon.

There are 12 places on each of the programmes for people working in or for museums in England, supported by Arts Council England. There are 2 places for museum leaders working in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, supported by AIM. If you work in a museum development role in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland and are interested in the Enablers programme, please contact us to discuss the possibility of a self-funded place.


Round 2 of the AIM Hallmarks Leaders and Enablers Programme is now open for applications with a closing date of 9 January 2016 and further information including the benefits of participating, scheduled dates for the residential and costs and eligibility are available to download below and from the AIM website:

Leaders – Programme Outline: Leaders – Programme Outline PDF

Enablers – Programme Outline: Enablers – Programme Outline PDF

Full information on the AIM website: AIM Hallmarks Leaders and Enablers Programme


Museums And Galleries Encouraged To Mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2017

Looking ahead to Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) 2017 on 27 January, Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT) has produced free guides and resources to help museums and galleries organise events and activities.

Over 5,590 local activities took place to mark HMD 2016. HMDT hopes to build on this by supporting more museums and galleries to get involved and mark HMD 2017.

The theme for 2017 is How can life go on? The aftermath of the Holocaust and of subsequent genocides continues to raise challenging questions for individuals, communities and nations. HMD 2017 asks audiences to think about what happens after genocide and of our own responsibilities in the wake of such a crime. This year’s theme is broad and open ended, there are few known answers.


Stained glass window created by the Institute for Conflict Research in Belfast

Museums and galleries are ideally placed to commemorate HMD and, as community-based organisations which regularly communicate powerful messages to the public, you are often able to use collections and expertise in learning and interpretation to engage and inspire local communities. You can find a dedicated guide for Museums and Galleries with advice on how to mark HMD here.

Free Activity Packs are available to order from the HMDT website here, which include further guidance on how to plan an event or activity, posters for a display, a badge, sticker sheet and a sample About HMD booklet. You can also find other free resources, including arts resources and education materials for different age groups.

For more information about how your museum or gallery can get involved with Holocaust Memorial Day 2017, please contact:

Phone: 020 7785 7029


A dedicated guide for Museums and Galleries with advice on how to mark HMD can be downloaded here: museums-and-galleries-get-involved-guide-for-hmd


Save Your Museum Money This Winter With The AIM Energy Action Group

If you are keen to save your museum or heritage site money, then the free to join AIM Energy Action Group is a great place to start. Run in partnership with DTA Wales, the group can advise you on the best energy supplier, the correct tariff for your organisation and can add you to the AIM energy bulk buying basket to ensure you get the best deals on your energy costs.

UK gas prices are directly linked to the cost of oil and with nearly half of the electricity produced in the UK generated by gas, now is a good time to lock in energy contracts for the longer term. Overall, prices have risen by at least 10% since last March when we launched the very successful AIM Energy Action Group 2016 Basket so make sure you secure the best pricing while you can.

Now is a good time to get quotes to lock in prices for the longer term to provide some very useful budget security at a relatively low price as prices tend to harden as we move more strongly into winter temperatures and demand increases. The benefits of fixed procurement are evident and include:

*Price protection – Contract prices are fixed for the contract duration.

*Budget certainty – Budgets can be predicted and therefore managed

*Security – Provides protection from volatility in the energy market.


But to take advantage of these reduced energy costs, you must ensure that you are with the most competitive supplier and on the correct tariff. This can be a confusing and time consuming task, but the AIM Energy Action Group can provide all the free advice you need to help cut your energy bills.

“We would urge all museums who so far have not taken up this free service to request quotes now on all contracts coming to an end between now and late 2016,” said Ken Shaw, Head of Enterprise at AIM Energy Action Group.

To take part in the AIM Energy Action Group, please visit the website for further information: AIM Energy Action Group

Or email Ken Shaw at:

Or telephone: 02920 259560

Autumn Statement Brings Good News For Sector

AIM is delighted by today’s announcement in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement that the new museums and galleries tax relief will be expanded to include permanent exhibitions.

The new tax relief, which starts in April 2017, was originally only intended to be available for temporary and touring exhibitions.

However, AIM initiated a campaign to include permanent exhibitions in the relief, arguing that the majority of museums would not have been able to benefit from a scheme limited to temporary and touring exhibitions.

The campaign was given strong support by colleagues across the museum sector and we know that its success is down to the fact that the sector presented such a strong and united argument. AIM is very grateful to everyone in museums and support organisations who supported the campaign, writing to their MPs and responding to the consultation.


Image: Exhibition at Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery

The rates of relief will be set at 20% for non-touring exhibitions and 25% for touring exhibitions. The relief will be capped at £500,000 of qualifying expenditure per exhibition, meaning that museums will be able to claim up to a maximum of £80,000 of relief for a non-touring exhibition or £100,000 if it is toured (as with all the creative sector tax reliefs, relief is available on a maximum of 80% of qualifying expenditure).

The relief will be available from 1 April 2017 and will initially expire in 2022, although there will be scope for its extension.

The government plans to publish a response to the consultation shortly, which will contain more detailed information on the proposed definitions, while draft legislation will also be published for comment in December.

The Autumn Statement also included funding for cultural and heritage projects including a grant to restore Wentworth Woodhouse, a historic house in South Yorkshire.

For full details see:



AIM Survey 2016: Please Tell Us What You Think

We are thinking about how AIM can better help heritage organisations prosper in the next few years and we’d really like to know what you think. We’ve put together a survey to help you share your views with us and we’d be grateful if you would take five or ten minutes to complete it.

You are welcome to complete the survey even if you are not an AIM member.

Survey link: AIM Membership Survey 2016

Last time we asked you to complete a survey like this (in 2014) we were thrilled at the response and it made a big difference to what we do. The results were used by AIM Council to help develop our planning for 2015-18 and helped us create the Hallmarks of Prospering Museums.

It also helped us to secure the £900,000 investment from Arts Council England and funds from the Welsh Government, which are being used now through our Hallmarks programmes of leadership development, grants and governance support. Most of all – it helps us understand your challenges and how we can do more to help you. 


The survey is primarily designed for people working in or supporting heritage organisations, so some of the questions may not be relevant if you are a supplier or consultant member (and thank you again to those of our suppliers and consultants who completed our survey for you last year.)

Please consider sharing this link with colleagues in the museum and heritage sector.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to let us know what you think. We will share the results with you in the February Bulletin and on the AIM blog.

If you have thoughts that don’t fit in the survey, please email me as well at 

Tamalie Newbery

Executive Director (AIM)


Your Chance To Shine – Enter the Museums + Heritage Awards 2017

The Museums + Heritage Awards 2017 are now open for entry. Now in their 15th year these prestigious awards give all organisations, regardless of size and budget, the chance to be recognised and to be celebrated for the quality of their work.

Back for its second year is the free to enter Volunteer(s) of the Year Award in partnership with AIM and sponsored by BDRC Continental. This award is a fantastic opportunity to give your volunteers the recognition they deserve and has a very simple and free entry process.


Deadline for entries is 1st February 2017 and once the deadline has passed the hundreds of entries will be whittled down to a shortlist by the esteemed panel of judges made up of seven sector leading lights.

With 11 categories, the awards generate very public recognition for the winners and shortlistees and have been instrumental in helping many to secure funding and support from key stakeholders. Award winners have also enjoyed recognition both locally and further afield as the awards increasingly gain an international profile.

The categories for the 2017 Awards include:

Temporary or Touring Exhibition

Educational Initiative sponsored by schoolzone

Project on a Limited Budget

Innovation sponsored by The Hub

Marketing Campaign sponsored by Volunteer Makers

Trading & Enterprise supported by ACE

Permanent Exhibition sponsored by Martello Media

International Award

Restoration or Conservation

Fundraisers of the Year


The winners are announced at a glittering ceremony, where more than 300 industry professionals gather at the historic staterooms of 8 Northumberland Avenue in the heart of London to find out who has triumphed. As Anna Preedy, Awards Director, says “These awards really count as they are a direct endorsement by senior industry colleagues whose opinions matter”.

Hall of Fame, Entry Information and Entry Form can all be found on

Deadline for entries – Monday 1 February 2017

Winner’s ceremony – Wednesday 17 May 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London



Round 2 Of The AIM Hallmarks Leaders and Enablers Programme Is Now Open

The second round of the AIM Hallmarks Leaders and Enablers Programme is now open for applications. AIM’s development programmes support people who work in or with museums, with the aim of helping heritage organisations prosper.

The AIM Hallmarks Museum Leaders Programme provides practical tools, useful insights and a supportive peer network to equip museum directors to realise the full potential of their organisations.  Guest speakers from across the wider third sector will enable you to learn from successful charities, particularly focusing on organisational resilience and leadership. The programme will give you:

*Increased confidence, knowledge and skills

*The tools to increase the resilience and long term prosperity of your museum, strengthening its organisational culture and embedding the AIM Hallmarks

*A mutually supportive peer network

*A positive approach to problem solving

*Opportunities for reflection and review

“The AIM Museum Leaders course provides an invaluable opportunity to better understand and develop your own leadership skills, and offers a constructive and supportive environment to constructively review your Museum and gain new insight into how to implement change,” said Eleanor Pulfer-Sharma, Director, Bentley Priory Museum and a participant in Leaders Round 1.

“The programme is a worthwhile investment of your time and energy, to promote your development as a leader in the museum sector and to equip you and your organisation to be resilient in the face of the many challenges that lie ahead, particularly given the political and financial uncertainty of the next few years,” said Jason Semmens, Director, Army Medical Services Museum and a participant in Leaders Round 1.

There are 12 places for museum leaders in England, and 2 places for museum leaders from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Visit the AIM website for application information: The AIM Hallmarks Museum Leaders Programme

Applications close: 5pm on Monday 9 January 2017

Download: aim-hallmarks-leaders-enablers-programme-brochure-2017

Startup Stock Photos

The AIM Hallmarks Enablers Programme is for people who support museums through their work, for example through Museum Development or as independent consultants. It aims to equip participants to support organisations more effectively. Participants will become part of a skilled group of enablers who can support museums to use the AIM Hallmarks, helping them prosper.

The programme gives you the chance to develop consultancy and coaching techniques and use them effectively to help organisations change. It will develop your understanding of how organisations work and of the challenges of leadership, with insight from senior managers and trustees.

Through the programme, you will have chance to build a dynamic portfolio of tools to use in your work with museums and become part of a peer network and share ideas and insights.

The programme will give you:

*High quality facilitation techniques to use with museums

*The opportunity to develop independent thinking and new approaches to complex issues

*A mutually supportive peer network

*A positive approach to problem solving

*Opportunities for reflection and review

“Engaging with the Enablers programme has allowed me to evaluate and strengthen my relationships with museums. It is helping me to develop more effective mentoring, advocacy and facilitation skills which are transferable across all areas of Museum Development delivery,” said Sarah Spurrier, Museum Development East Midlands and an Enablers Participant in Round 1.

“Taking part in the Enablers programme has helped me develop my skillset and learn from and share ideas with the excellent Hilary and Ruth as well as an inspirational group of consultants and Museum Development Officers. Knowledge I have developed on the programme has enabled me to better support museum staff and trustees to embed change at their organisations and make their organisations more resilient,” said Laura Crossley, independent consultant and an Enablers Participant in Round 1.

There are 12 supported places for people working in England. If you work in a museum development role in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, please contact us to discuss the possibility of a self-funded place. Consultants and freelancers are encouraged to apply.

Visit the AIM website for application information: The AIM Hallmarks Enablers Programme

Applications close: 5pm on Monday 9 January 2017

Download: aim-hallmarks-leaders-enablers-programme-brochure-2017


The Welsh VisitorVerdict Forum Fforwm VisitorVerdict Cymru

This is a bilingual message / Neges ddwyieithog yw hon

Customer feedback is vital for museums, heritage sites and visitor attractions as it enables them to improve the visitor experience, grow audiences and boost income streams. But gaining important visitor feedback on tight budgets and with limited time and resources can be tricky: this is where VisitorVerdict can help Welsh museums and visitor attractions.

In partnership with the Association of Independent Museums (AIM) and Welsh Government, VisitorVerdict will be hosting an inaugural forum for all Welsh visitor attractions on Wednesday 16th November at Wrexham Museum. The event will bring alive the world of visitor research and benchmark evaluation, inspiring you to weave it into the heart of your operation.

VisitorVerdict can support Welsh museums and heritage sites by informing them about their audiences and can help to address the lack of data about museum audiences as highlighted in the ‘Expert Review of Local Museum Provision in Wales 2015’. VisitorVerdict provides information about who visits, why they are there, what they do on their visit and how many local residents, schools and groups visit. Visitor attractions outside of the heritage sector are also able to access the bilingual VisitorVerdict benchmarking service and are welcome to attend this event.

In addition, Welsh Government have provided funding of £150 for the each of the first ten newly signed up Welsh museums that reach one hundred completed VisitorVerdict surveys. Your museum must be a member of AIM to be eligible and accredited or registered with the Welsh Government as being eligible to apply for accreditation.

Attend the event for:

*Analysis of 2016 visitor trends

*Top tips for data collection

*Live interaction with the web reporting

*Feedback from other attractions that use the service

Attendance includes a free lunch. Invitations are for maximum of two people per organisation.

“VisitorVerdict has been a bit of an eye opener. We have begun to really appreciate the depth built into the system that allows us to address our visitor challenges and experiences from a range of angles and perspectives.” Lucinda Middleton, Richard and Ann Mayou – Fund Curator at MOMA MACHYNLLETH

Further information and how to book: The Welsh VisitorVerdict Forum


 Fforwm VisitorVerdict Cymru

Mae adborth cwsmeriaid yn hanfodol i amgueddfeydd, safleoedd treftadaeth ac atyniadau ymwelwyr gan ei fod yn eu galluogi i wella profiad yr ymwelydd, tyfu cynulleidfaoedd a chynyddu ffrydau incwm. Ond gall gasglu adborth pwysig gan ymwelwyr gyda chyllidebau tynn a gydag amser ac adnoddau cyfyngedig fod yn anodd: dyma pryd y gall VisitorVerdict fod o gymorth i amgueddfeydd Cymru ac atyniadau ymwelwyr.

Mewn partneriaeth â Chymdeithas yr Amgueddfeydd Annibynnol (AIM) a Llywodraeth Cymru, bydd VisitorVerdict yn cynnal fforwm cychwynnol i atyniadau ymwelwyr Cymru i gyd ar Ddydd Mercher 16eg Tachwedd yn Amgueddfa Wrecsam. Bydd y digwyddiad yn dod â’r byd ymchwil ymwelwyr a gwerthuso meincnodi yn fyw, gan eich ysbrydoli i’w plethu i galon eich gweithrediad.

Gall Visitor Verdict fod o gymorth i amgueddfeydd a safloedd treftadaeth Cymru drwy eu hysbysu am eu cynulleidfaoedd, a helpu i fynd i’r afael â’r diffyg data am gynulleidfaoedd amgueddfa fel a amlygir yn ‘Yr Adolygiad Arbenigol o Ddarpariaeth Amgueddfeydd Lleol yn Nghymru 2015’.

Mae Visitor Verdict yn darparu gwybodaeth am bwy sydd yn ymweld, pam eu bod yno, beth maent yn ei wneud yn ystod eu hymweliad a faint o breswylwyr, ysgolion a grwpiau lleol sydd yn ymweld. Mae atyniadau ymwelwyr y tu allan i’r sector treftadaeth hefyd yn gallu cael mynediad i’r gwasanaeth meincnodi dwyieithog Visitor Verdict, ac mae croeso iddynt fynychu’r digwyddiad hwn.

Yn ogystal, mae Llywodraeth Cymru wedi darparu cyllid o £150 i bob un o’r deg amgueddfa cyntaf yng Nghymru i arwyddo i fyny o’r newydd, sydd yn llwyddo cyrraedd cant o arolygon Visitor Verdict wedi eu cwblhau. Rhaid i’ch amgueddfa fod yn aelod o AIM i fod yn gymwys ac wedi’i hachredu neu ei chofrestu gyda Llywodraeth Cymru fel bod yn gymwys ar gyfer achrediad.  Mynychwch y digwyddiad ar gyfer:

*Dadansoddiad o dueddiadau ymwelwd 2016

*Sïon sicr ar gyfer casglu data

*Rhyngweithio byw gydag adrodd ar y we

*Adborth gan atyniadau eraill sydd yn defnyddio’r gwasanaeth

Mae mynychu yn cynnwys cinio di-dâl. Mae’r gwahoddiadau ar gyfer dau berson ar y mwyaf o bob sefydliad.

“Mae VisitorVerdict yn agor eich llygaid. Rydym wedi dechrau gwerthfawrogi dyfnder y system sydd yn ein caniatau i fynd i’r afael â heriau a phrofiadau ein ymwelwyr o amrywiaeth o onglau a safbwyntiau.” Lucinda Middleton, Richard ac Ann Mayou – Curadur Cronfa Amgueddfa Gelf Fodern MACHYNLLETH

Rhagor o wybodaeth a sut i archebu lle: Fforwm VisitorVerdict Cymru