Simon Stephens, Issue 115/06, p4, 01.06.2015
Looking towards a radical future
With the general election behind us, museums in England will be waiting keenly to see how the policies of the new government will affect them.
This is obviously not the case for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as culture is a devolved responsibility across the four home nations.

But in England, there has already been an announcement of a plan to offer cities greater power, which could have an impact on museums.

Museums will also be looking at the depth of the inevitable forthcoming cuts in public spending. The National Museum Directors’ Council has responded with the I Love Museums campaign.

The publicity says the initiative will be “empowering the public to share why museums matter to them and providing resources to fight against funding cuts”.

Derby Museums has an exhibition, Common Treasury (until 21 June), that is asking questions about the purpose of a public museum, something that is being put into sharp focus as funding is reduced.

“How important is a freely accessible public space where everyone can learn about their place in the world?” the exhibition asks.

Common Treasury has an obvious link to All of this Belongs to You (until 19 July) at the Victoria and Albert Museum, which is “examining the role of public institutions in contemporary life and what it means to be responsible for a national collection”.

This year’s Turner Prize has an emphasis on political art with a social conscience.

Among the four- strong shortlist are Assemble, a London-based collective whose projects include a collaboration with residents in Granby Four Streets, a cluster of terraced houses in Toxteth, Liverpool.

This year the show will be at the Tramway, Glasgow, the first time the Turner Prize has been held in Scotland. Funding, politics and the civic purpose of museums will all be important issues at this year’s Museums Association conference in Birmingham (5-6 November).

The conference theme is Radical Futures, which should provide an excellent opportunity to debate these subjects and identify ways for the sector to move forward.

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Tony Butler
MA Member
Executive Director, Derby Museums Trust
03.06.2015, 07:45
The Common Treasury exhibition in Derby Museum and Art Gallery has proved so popular it will be extended until November 2015