The UK is pressing ahead with Brexit, steadying itself for the impact of a rapid and radical shift in international relationships across all industries. Ahead of the change, the UK Government commissioned an independent review of museums in England.
Over half of the British public visited a museum in 2017. Three of England’s museums are included in the world’s top 10 most visited museums. So, what is life really like for those who work within the museum industry?
The UK is pressing ahead with Brexit, steadying itself for the impact of a rapid and radical shift in international relationships across all industries. Ahead of the change, the UK Government commissioned an independent review of museums in England. Titled The Mendoza Review, it examines the challenges and opportunities facing England’s museums.
To find out more, ArtDependence caught up with Lisa Ollderhead, who answered our questions on behalf of Neil Mendoza.
ArtDependence Magazine (AD): The museum sector seems to have concerns about the impact of Brexit on international operations. What are the concerns?
Lisa Ollderhead (OD): The Review was very wide-ranging, and people up and down the country expressed many different opinions about a lot of topics. Some did mention Brexit and when people talk about this they were concerned about the impact on staff, funding, borrowing and lending objects. Like other organisations with international appeal, our great museums want people from all over the world to continue to be able to visit easily.
The UK's museums already do a great deal of co-operative work with many international partners, and they are always working on how to increase these partnerships, and on borrowing and lending objects so as many people as possible can enjoy British culture and British people can experience important objects from abroad. For instance, the British Museum's upcoming store working with Reading University will be close to Heathrow Airport, helping facilitate international lending to EU countries as well as other nations around the globe. DCMS is working closely with the sector to understand how they can take advantage of the opportunities that exiting the EU brings.
AD: Partnerships are not necessarily a major revenue generating opportunity. Is this necessary and can it not be profitable in the longer term?
LO: As the Review found, it can be the case that partnerships don't generate major revenue, although some national museums do. International partnerships help bring new people to our world-class museums and mean British culture, collections and research can be shared all over the world.
AD: You focus a lot on China in the review, is it a hint that in future England may collaborate more with China and less with the EU?
LO: UK museums are increasingly collaborating with China. The new V&A in Shekou is a great example of a deep relationship, and the Terracotta Warriors at National Museums Liverpool are doing really well. We want museums to keep working with our friends and partners in Europe too, and expect that they will.
AD: What is the impact of Brexit on museums according to the DCMS?
LO: In the Review I found that museums are worried about staff, funding, and borrowing and lending objects. Like other organisations with international appeal, our great museums also want people from all over the world to continue to be able to visit easily.
Image on top: The southern entrance of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England. © Diliff
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