Museums Summit 2014 report
- 10 December 2014
Download a report about our conference in July, where 200 representatives of the UK cultural sector across the UK came together to consider the political, social and economic impact of museums.
The event took place on 9 July, a few hours before Yorkshire Sculpture Park was declared Museum of the Year 2014. It was run by the Art Fund, hosted by the National Gallery and sponsored by Farrer & Co. It was made possible thanks to the generosity of the 15 speakers who came together to discuss the value of museums – including former Art Fund chairman David Verey; our new chairman Chris Smith, Lord Smith of Finsbury; arts journalist (and 2015 Prize judge) Fiammetta Rocco; BBC arts editor, Will Gompertz and many more.
During the past decade, the Art Fund has enabled over 28,000 works of art and objects of historical significance of a total value of £370m to enter into the collection of 350 museums around the country. The idea that museums and their collections are 'valuable' clearly underpins all the work of the Art Fund; there is a guiding belief that access to great art for everyone is something worth paying and fighting for.
Ten years ago, in Capturing Cultural Value, Demos associate John Holden argued that ‘we need a clearer understanding of what Cultural Value might be’. A decade later that need is still clearly present: there is currently a broader climate of projects seeking to identify the value of culture – from the DCMS’s own work to the AHRC’s Cultural Value project and the Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value. We can use many mechanisms to demonstrate the value of museums in specific areas, but often these fall short of a true measure of why museums matter. The Museums Summit sought to frame this debate and consider value in its broadest possible sense.