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2012-2-13 Prgramme SEWS

Highlights:

•Museums in SEWS and KEN received specialist remedial conservation advice, visits and training through a project led by Sussex Museums Group (funded through the ACE Strategic Support Fund). The SEMDP team have played a central part of this project and have helped to design, recruit, manage, promote and evaluate through the Steering Group. As part of the project, 54 museums have completed a Collections Condition Survey, with 26 receiving a follow up site visit from a professional conservator and a further 9 receiving remedial treatment for a key item in their collection. This augmentation of specialist conservation advice and training has been well received, and will be extended further through the recruitment of a Preventive Conservation Officer for the SEWS and KEN area funded through the RPM's Major Grant (see below).

•The Sussex Museums Group Archaeology Working Party continues to make significant progress towards resolving issues around the ongoing problems of Archaeological Archives storage. Sharing resources such as joint Deposition, Sampling and Retention Guidelines, should enable museums to have more robust collecting policies which limit post excavation depositions and review of existing archives.

•Social Media Seminar at the Lighthouse, Brighton, 12 December 2012. There were 32 delegates from SEWS, including speakers Kevin Bacon form RP&M, Stephanie Fuller from ACE and Rosie Clarke from Culture24. There was intent listening and some lively debate, and an appetite for more, so now that SEWS MDP has taken its first steps to raise awareness around all things digital, we want to go further & inspire to create digital platforms where they can shout about what they do and connect dynamically with new audiences.

•14 museums signed up to the Re:Fresh project. The partnership museums committed to a working group style led project which will run until the end of March 2015 with aims to; increase the quality of design & interpretation on their sites; improve team skills; establish partnerships with creative businesses; specialist courses & art practitioners; increase audiences; create better overall visitor experiences.

•A series of three 'Utilise' energy efficiency and waste management workshops were been delivered to 20 people from 15 museums, which have supported museums to reduce their energy bills, improve their energy efficiency, save money, and reduce their carbon footprint – "(The workshop) has also given several ideas that can save us a lot of money through changes in our lighting system. The benefits will be immediate." In addition, we were able to establish a small fund to help museums attending the workshops implement one or more of their priority actions from the newly written action plans, such as replacing halogen lamps with LED lamps.

•Partnership working between museums and other political/cultural/ community stakeholders, e.g. local authorities, Third Sector, and cultural organisations, has grown. The Illuminating the South Downs project in West Sussex is a pilot project linking the new South Downs National Park Authority, West Sussex County Council and museums, with the intended outcome of increasing interactions between museums, their collections and the wider creative sector.

•In SEWS, the Sustainable Volunteering programme has been extended, with action learning sets, ILM Level 3-based training for 12 museum staff, and 1-2-1 mentoring support to further professionalise volunteer management within museums. The impact of this has been: “… more management buy-in to volunteering – other departments are using (our) volunteer policies and procedures to take on and manage their volunteers."

•There has been a good take up of Arts Award across the region at both ‘Discover and Explore’ and Bronze and Silver levels. Attendee response has been extremely positive with participants able to see clear benefits for children and young people. Many are beginning to shape ideas for embedding Arts Award into current museum practice, with Haslemere Educational Museum already having put 177 children for forward Discover and Explore.

•100 museums in the South East contributed to the 'Schools4Museums’ database for 2011-12. There have been a series of presentations and discussions at each of the sub-regional learning networks about the future of the database and how it could be developed. A total of 20 museums (SEWS and KEN) contributed to these discussions and further work on encouraging the wider museum community to interrogate data is planned for 2013-14, to improve the understanding of schools’ use of museum services.

•The MDOs, the SEWS/KEN Learning Officer and learning networks have been working closely with the SE Bridge organisations and other partners to develop regional and sub-regional strategies to support museum-based and cross-cultural learning. Information sharing across sector is improved by tapping into their research and resources and linking up with the wider arts and cultural organisations.

•Further training held by the SEMDP has enabled 14 museums in the SEWS sub-region to actively engage in new initiative to develop programmes for Gifted and Talented children and young people. The aim is to create an offer for schools to continue enrichment provision now that government funding has ended.