Florence Nightingale Museum to reopen

21 Apr 2022

London’s Florence Nightingale Museum is set to reopen after two years of pandemic related closures.

The museum will welcome the public from May 12 - International Nurses’ Day and the 202nd anniversary of Nightingale’s birth.

Featured exhibitions include a celebration of Nightingale’s bicentenary, an updated Crimean War display, and a new family activity trail.

Director David Green says after an “immensely costly” closure, the museum is back on surer footing.

“After the experiences of the past two years, the value of nurses has never been clearer [and] we are so pleased to be returning to tell the story of Florence Nightingale and the people following in her footsteps today.”

Unapproved Covid tests used in TV and film

13 Apr 2022

Unapproved Covid tests have been "widely" used in TV and film productions, a laboratories trade body claims.

The Laboratory and Testing Industry Organisation (LTIO) found two Covid tests – MFX Biotech and Virolens - are being marketed to the film production industry despite not being authorised under the Medical Devices (Coronavirus Test Device Approvals) Regulations 2021.

The LTIO wrote to the Department of Health and Social Care, who confirmed these tests are illegal to sell in the UK.

LTIO Executive Director Matt Cartmell says the association is concerned.

“It is completely unacceptable that Covid tests that are not legal are in use by businesses in the UK, especially in the TV and production industry. Rogue manufacturers should be held accountable for their actions.”

Future of culture in Edinburgh

Seminar room Edinburgh University
12 Apr 2022

Recent research urged Edinburgh’s cultural sector to adopt a values-led approach to addressing inequities and precarities. Vikki Jones assesses the implications of the findings for the city.

Edinburgh to appoint music-writer-in-residence

06 Apr 2022

The city of Edinburgh will hold a competition to select a music-writer-in-residence.

The appointee will chronicle the recovery of the local live music scene on the webistes of Edinburgh Music Lovers and Forever Edinburgh, a £90,000 campaign by Visit Scotland.

Edinburgh Music Lovers founder Jim Byers he that "telling more people about music in Edinburgh is something I’m very passionate about ".

"Local venues and artists need support more than ever and a music writer in residence can help showcase Edinburgh to music fans around the UK and also showcase and develop their writing skills at the same time.”

How the pandemic changed the way we use social media

06 Apr 2022

Digital teams have been at the forefront of connecting the arts with social justice and reform, according to a new report, writes Alice Kent

Event organisers optimistic about future

05 Apr 2022

Worries about ticket sales, rising costs and staff shortages remain front of mind but organisers have "a much thicker skin" than before Covid.

Natural History Museum shared visitor data with Meta

04 Apr 2022

The Natural History Museum shared visitor data with Meta during the pandemic.

A Freedom of Information Act request by the Telegraph found data entered into online booking forms - including names, addresses and phone numbers - was shared with the parent company of Facebook and Instagram,

The museum logged 702,900 visits through its Covid-19 booking system, 140% more data entries during the pandemic than prior.

Information made available to Meta was “pseudonymised”, the museum said, and used to target advertising communications and identify new users likely to be interested in its content.

The process is legal but has been criticised by online privacy activists. Open Rights Group campaigner Jim Killock said the online booking system “hoovered up data”.

“The pandemic is not an excuse to collect anything and everything. There are continued risks of drifting into a surveillance society, and cultural institutions should ensure they play no part in that.”

Curtain closes on TV and Film support scheme

04 Apr 2022

The Government's pandemic insurance scheme for film and television is closing.

First unveiled in July 2020, The £500m Film and TV Production Restart Scheme was extended for six months in October.

DCMS says the scheme supported 95,000 jobs and led to a record £5.6bn production spend.

Its closure follows lobbying from film and TV groups who called for another extension.

Instead, insurance trade bodies will work with commercial firms to provide cover for the screen industries, the DCMS says.

Producers body Pact called the move “disappointing”.

“Pact members and the wider industry now face a very messy period where some productions will be able to get cover and others will not due to the limited number of insurance providers in the market.”

Final Culture Recovery Fund round delivers £35m

The Piece Hall in Halifax
31 Mar 2022

340 organisations share the final wave of funding, with over a third receiving support for the first time.

Spain offers 18-year-olds cultural vouchers

29 Mar 2022

18-year-olds in Spain will receive €400 (£335) in culture vouchers to spend on the arts this year.

Approved by the Spanish government last week, The Youth Cultural Bonus can be spent on festivals, live events, books, vinyl and digital music.

Vouchers must be split across cultural mediums, with a €200 (£170) spending cap on live events and festivals, a €100 (£85) limit for physical products and a €100 limit for digital products.

The project aims to generate new habits of cultural consumption, create new audiences and reduce the negative impact caused by the pandemic on the country's cultural sector, according to a statement from the Spanish government website.

The initiative follows similar examples in France and Italy, where 18-year-olds receive €300 (£250) and €500 (£450) respectively to put towards cultural spending.

York opens grants scheme for events

24 Mar 2022

Organisations in York that were negatively affected by Covid-19 are being encouraged to apply to a new grants scheme.

Awards of up to £10,000 are available to events and festivals to deliver activity planned for 2020 or 2021 this year. Applicants must demonstrate how their event supports economic recovery and the York Culture Strategy.

Funding has been provided by York City Council to Make it York from the authority's Additional Restrictions Grant allocation.

"Make It York have designed a quick turnaround grant-giving process, which opens from today (March 24), and we're looking forward to receiving applications," Managing Director Sarah Loftus said.

Applications close April 7, with successful organisations to be notified by the end of the month.

What does ‘living with Covid’ mean for your workplace?

two people discuss a business meeting
23 Mar 2022

As new regulations come into force for employers, James Tamm and Nick Wilson run though what organisations need to understand about working in the new ‘normal’. 

Hartlepool theatre eyes post-pandemic reopening

23 Mar 2022

Hartlepool Town Hall Theatre is set to reopen for the first time since March 2020.

Closed as a theatre for two years, the council-owned venue was used as a vaccination centre from December 2020, delivering more than 41,000 jabs.

On April 1 it will reopen with a performance of Pinocchio by Northern Ballet.

"We are absolutely delighted that we can finally re-open our doors to our audiences, and what better way to launch our new programme," Councillor Tim Fleming commented.

Booking patterns match pre-pandemic behaviour, survey finds

21 Mar 2022

Advance booking patterns for performing arts shows last year were “very similar” to before the pandemic, according to analysis from TRG Arts and Purple Seven.

The organisations' ‘Two Years On’ survey found more than half of bookers last year were first time patrons. 

TRG Chief Executive Jill Robinson said the result is "heartening news" but is "not new behaviour in the post-Covid world".

Analysis of 288 UK theatres found the average age of ticket bookers has fallen to 56.4 from 57.4 years old.

Fewer bookings are coming from those born between the mid-1940s and 1960s (down 3%). The greatest increase has come from those born between 1965 and 1980.

The research found the pace of Covid recovery varies across the country, with the South West of England and Northern Ireland performing stronger than Wales, Yorkshire and the North East of England.

Wales awards £4.2m in third CRF round

17 Mar 2022

Seventy-one organisations have been awarded a share of £4.2m in the third round of the Culture Recovery Fund in Wales.

It brings the total amount distributed in Wales via the flagship Covid emergency fund to more than £87m, a contribution the Arts Council of Wales (ACW) expects will save up to 1,800 sector jobs.

Awardees include Wales Millennium Centre, which won the largest grant of more than £496,000, several theatres in Cardiff, and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

97% of applicants were successful in this latest round, ACW says.

Cultural tourism yet to recover from Covid

inside of Natural History Museum
14 Mar 2022

There is optimism pre-pandemic interest will return, as sites retain high membership rates in a “really good start” to the new year.

Newcastle and Gateshead venues call for public's return

14 Mar 2022

Ten venues in Newcastle and Gateshead have launched a campaign to encourage the public's return this spring.

Some local venues, including the Tyne & Wear Museums' Newcastle sites, have lost more than half their pre-pandemic visitors: "By joining forces in this way, we want to highlight the strength of the cultural sector in Newcastle and Gateshead, and what it offers," Director Keith Merrin said.

'Make Your Moment', a joint advertising campaign with Newcastle and Gateshead Councils, will appear on the metro and bus shelters, and it is hoped a series of exhibitions and events will kickstart the sector's recovery..

The partnership is emphasising the ability to enjoy culture safely.

“Now that these venues have reopened and restrictions have been lifted, and with the necessary safety measures in place, we can all once again make the most of our city’s rich history, take in amazing performances and exhibitions, and experience more of what Newcastle and the wider region has to offer," Newcastle Councillor John-Paul Stephenson said.

“We can still take precautions... but we can do this while supporting our brilliant cultural sector.”

Scheme takes aim at declining theatre commissions

14 Mar 2022

Fifteen plays will be commissioned under a new scheme to address a "devastating" decline in opportunities during the pandemic.

The Writers' Guild of Great Britain (WGGB), HighTide Theatre, UK Theatre and the Independent Theatre Council have partnered on the New Play Commission Scheme, securing £50,000 in funding. There is a £5,000 award for the best play by an unpublished writer.

A survey of UK Theatre members revealed new commissions had declined by a third since 2019/20, while a poll of WGGB members indiciated three quarters of playwrights had lost income during Covid-19. Half believed they would not be working in theatre in two years' time.

HighTide Artistic Director Suba Das said the commissions not only offer "a lifeline to both writers and companies across the UK but helps ensure new writing forms part of how we all move forwards as citizens and communities".

The scheme will launch in April.

Missing audiences present major challenge to arts income

09 Mar 2022

New research suggests venues may not be able to convince up to 14% of regular attendees to return as restrictions lapse. How can organisations adapt?

Orchestras on the rebound

ABO conference
09 Mar 2022

Covid and Brexit combined have meant a tough two years for UK orchestras but, as Mark Pemberton explains, signs of a bounce back are promising.


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