Tuesday, 27 July 2010

MLA says ‘stormy seas call for cool heads and steady hands’

Responding to the government’s announcement that the MLA is to be wound up by April 2012, Chair Sir Andrew Motion and Chief Executive Roy Clare pledge a smooth and orderly transition to deliver the best possible future for museums, libraries and archives across England and for the people and communities who expect to use them.
In a joint statement, Sir Andrew Motion and Roy Clare say: “Stormy seas call for cool heads and steady hands. The team in the MLA have worked tirelessly and with commendable commitment to develop the capacity of the organisation since 2007. Now, faced with an unforeseen degree of economic pressure, government has chosen to balance the books and to prioritise the rationalisation of its existing cultural agencies as a contribution.
“As a result we will work methodically and calmly to continue to deliver a vibrant and effective expert service for the public who rightly expect excellent, sustainable museums, libraries and record offices in their local neighbourhoods. Our accent is on strong strategic leadership; access to expert advice which can help people to weather the effects of recession; strong investment programmes; joining up across the network; good links into local government, and provision of resources that demonstrate good practice. We are committed to arguing for these to be reflected clearly in the new arrangements.
”MLA is currently engaged with local authorities and independent museums, libraries and archives all over the country. We are helping them to weather the storm of recession and funding cuts and to emerge stronger and more sustainable. Maintaining the tempo of this work will continue to be a major priority for us.
Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, comments: “Sir Andrew Motion and Roy Clare have shown great leadership of the MLA and have made great strides in the last two years to streamline the organisation, significantly improving efficiency and effectiveness. However, there is now an opportunity to integrate Renaissance and the other important functions of the MLA into the wider cultural framework.”
The MLA believes that cultural and artistic activities are at the heart of Britain’s recovery. Museums, libraries, archives and other places of art and creativity are nourishment for the spirit and encouragement for everyone in times of adversity; these are vital components for tourism, the economy, quality of life, cultural creativity and personal well-being. In the current climate especially, museums, libraries and other cultural services are at significant risk.
The MLA has called for more creative and systematic planning to ensure the public get the most out of the sector. The prospectus that we launched this year, ‘Sharper Investment for Changing Times’, recognises that around three quarters of the £2bn-plus spent on cultural services in England is in the control of local, not central, government.
Sir Andrew Motion and Roy Clare add:
“Over the year or so ahead our focus is on continuing to boost the impact and potential of museums, libraries and archives in locations across the country. An economy only slowly emerging from recession and pressures on public spending provide the spur to make even greater efforts to deliver social, economic and environmental benefits for people and communities.
“Our various programmes and the expertise of our staff, including the Field Teams across the country, will continue unabated. Many longer term decisions will need to be taken and the outcome in October of the government’s Spending Review will have a pivotal bearing on the details.
“It is our firm, joint intention to continue to provide strong and visible national leadership and a consistent, purposeful voice. We are confident that the various important capabilities of the MLA will be found new homes and we are determined to ensure that there continues to be sources of robust advocacy for museums, libraries and archives and for the people and places that depend upon them; with provision of experts, know-how, advice, specialist resources, detailed research and evidence and informed guidance. 
“We are already working closely with local government and with professional colleagues in the Local Government Association, Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund and a number of leading museums and other key organisations. These relationships are strong and will become stronger. Place-based investment, with much more joined-up and better strategic planning, can and must deliver more for less; closer attention to demand and better systems for delivery must result from all new alignments.
“Specific partnership work is already in hand on a Ministerial initiative to develop and improve library services; this will continue, and will be delivered by MLA and LGA this autumn, unaffected by the announcement. We have also put specific proposals to Ministers about the future of Renaissance in the Regions and its relationship to the strategy for archives; further work is in hand that will lead to consultation and a statement by Ministers later this year, in time for new elements to be adopted during 2011 and the ensuing years, subject to funding.
“As an example of our specialist resources, we have just agreed to second an MLA expert, Natasha Innocent, to RaceOnline 2012 for 6 months from September. Natasha will work with Martha Lane Fox and her team to help deliver their Manifesto for a Networked Nation; and specifically to ensure that public library services are fully integrated in moves to secure positive digital outcomes for people in Britain.
“We are also proud of our range of cultural services, including Acceptance in Lieu, National Security Advisor, Export Licensing, Reviewing Committee, Accreditation, Designation and Government Indemnity. These will be maintained throughout the transition as will our engagement with the Cultural Festival, a vital component of London’s 2012 Olympics, especially in terms of our support and leadership for Stories of the World and Our Sporting Life.
“The members of the MLA Board join us in expressing our very sincere gratitude to the staff of the MLA for all their work to date; and together we will uppermost in mind their interests and those of our many professional stakeholders across the country as we work to secure the future for the MLA’s many valuable capabilities and ensure their sustained effectiveness on behalf of the public.
Review of Arm's Length Bodies
DCMS:  26 July 2010
A number of our public bodies are set to be merged, abolished or streamlined

Posted via email from Copper Phoenix's posterous

Monday, 26 July 2010

Dishing the Dirt

Yesterday I had a very pleasant and educational afternoon looking at Roman coins, Anglo Saxon jewellery, belt buckles, rare Anglo Saxon coins, lead weights from a long extinct market, Norman "bling" and Civil War musket and pistol balls, some of which had obviously hit something...
This was part of the Archaeology Day at The Edward Jenner Museum, Berkeley, where the finds that had been discovered over the last few years on the University of Bristol digs were displayed and a very interesting talk given by Pete Twinn, Archaeologist and Metal Detectorist. One could also try Geo Physics (a la Time Team) in an undug part of the garden and a field walk looking for finds on the freshly dug spoil from the last trench that had been dug in June.
I know a lot about various periods of history but as for the Anglo Saxon era I'm still learning. The decoration and beauty of the tiny Anglo Saxon finds were quite breathtaking, especially as we tend to think of the Anglo Saxons as a fairly uncultured bunch who were rescued from obscurity by the invading Normans of 1066. Far from it.
It was the Normans who killed off all the beautiful art and decorative pieces by subjugating the population, building their massive castles and waging economic warfare on the Anglo Saxons. The latter had to conform to survive and so much that was existing before 1066 was lost. It is thought provoking to realise that one fifth of land in the UK is owned by the descendants of those invading Norman Knights from 1066.
The medieval bling was mainly pendants, coins and some heraldic pieces that may have been worn on a horse or on armour. Some heraldic devices have been identified and so we know that these people visited Berkeley, even if it is not backed up by written evidence anywhere else. The medieval weights and measures found demonstrate a thriving market and the slag found helps to confirm that there was a mint in Berkeley too.
The Civil War finds were interesting as the Museum's garden was a battlefield as well as that of the adjoining 13th Century church. Have a look at the West Door and you can still see the musket loops, bullet holes and axe marks from the fight. The defences at Berkeley were started in 1643 and these were found this summer by the University dig. Another piece of corroborating evidence was the number of pistol balls found on the site: we know that after Prince Rupert was defeated at Bristol that cavalry was sent to Berkeley, and they all carried pistols. And there is the evidence, a great quantity of small calibre pistol balls.
It is odd sitting in a tranquil garden on a sunny day, listening to the history (often violent) off the patch of land your are sitting on, but I am looking forward to the next Archaeology Day at the Museum as seeing what has been found and having the privilege of one to one talks from the experts who found the finds, and place them in context in the garden's history is fascinating and has inspired me to learn more about our Anglo Saxon forefathers.
For events at the Museum see www.jennermuseum.com and look out for the talk by Dr Stuart Prior from the University of Bristol, on the history of the site (including the exciting Roman discoveries in Berkeley) in the Old Cyder House.

that opening this message and / or any of its attachments will not adversely affect its systems. No responsibility is accepted by Copper Phoenix Ltd.

Friday, 9 July 2010

An Evening with the Angel of Death

The Angel of Death is one name given to smallpox, the deadly disease that killed millions throughout human history, and a new book has recently been written on the subject by Gareth Williams, a Trustee of the Edward Jenner Museum. On Thursday 22nd July he will be giving a talk “The House on the 13th Milestone: who really discovered vaccination?” at the Old Cyder House in Berkeley. The talk will draw on his book and introduces new angles to the story of how Jenner discovered vaccination.
While the account of Edward Jenner and his development of a vaccine against smallpox is well known, Gareth Williams will take the audience further into history with new and expanded information covering Edward Jenner’s experiments involving his gardener’s son with cowpox right up to 1980 when the World Health Organisation officially announced the eradication of the deadly disease.
Sarah Parker, the Director of the Edward Jenner Museum said We are delighted to welcome Gareth both as a Trustee and an energetic supporter of the Museum. He has told a compelling story in his book and we look forward to an entertaining and informative evening.
The talk is one of a series on medical subjects this year, linked to the Museum’s celebrations of the eradication of Smallpox, which has resulted in much coverage both in the UK and internationally – the small Gloucestershire town of Berkeley has been the global focus of honouring Edward Jenner’s work.
The Old Cyder House talks take place throughout the year covering a variety of subjects from a wide range of speakers: not all are medically related. Future talks will be covering North Wales’ Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways and the Loch Ness Monster!
All talks have proven popular so reserve your tickets now by contacting the Museum on 01453 810631 or emailing info@edwardjenner.co.uk , Gareth Williams’ talk will start at 7.30pm and cost £10 per person which includes a glass of wine or juice. 

More details can be found on the museum website, www.jennermuseum.com where there is also information on hiring The Old Cyder House and about other events at the Museum.

Posted via email from Copper Phoenix's posterous


Marketing services

Developing strategy, practical help, training and more.



About us

Adaptable, analytical and an absolute focus on delivering your goals.



Let us help you

To find out more, please don’t hesitate to contact us.