July news from MDEM
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building ambitious and resilient museums in the east midlands

News: 23rd July 2020

Since our last newsletter some of you have been opening your doors to the public in this new 'Covid Secure' world. For others these last few weeks have been a time to reflect on the risks of reopening and make the decision that for your site, it's not quite the right time. For our colleagues in Leicester, it has meant an extended lock down period.

Whatever stage you are at in your museum and you locality, we're here to support you and in this weeks newsletter we look at organisational resilience and funding opportunities going forward.
Museum Development Updates

MDEM Events

Other Events and Training

Funding News

Sector News

Jobs and Volunteering Opportunities

Museum Development Updates


Organisational Health Check Launch

The Museums’ Organisational Health Check is a self-assessment tool for museums which is now being used across all of the English Regions by the Museum Development Network.

It is designed as an indicator to help you highlight your museum’s current best practice, understand where the museum has areas of development and to feed into your forward planning.  This will enable you to prioritise areas of working over the next 12 months and provide you with a benchmark for future work.

It helps MDEM to provide bespoke support for your museum as well as tailored programmes and grants across the East Midlands which respond to the regional need. As such we are asking all Accredited museums int he region to complete the tool to access our support programmes and grant schemes over the next 12 months.

Therefore before the 1st September 2020 if you are an Accredited Museum in the East Midlands, we need you to:

Invitations to complete the survey have been sent out to all Accredited museums in the region. Museums can also access the tool directly themselves from our website.

For many of you this will not be the first time you have used the tool formerly known as the Business Diagnostic, a list of all museums who have submitted a response in the past can be found here: Organisational Health Check 2018 Submissions

We have sent out previous response out to museums along with their invite, however if you would like a copy of this for your museum then please email Sarah.

Please note: We ask all museums to complete the tool within 6 weeks of receiving a grant. We also ask that it be completed ahead of application to any support programmes.

For more information, please click here

Annual Data Survey of Museums - Coming Soon!

It's almost that time of year again where we ask you to complete our Annual Data Survey, which looks at museum operations for the last financial year. This information is used nationally, regionally and locally to help us to advocate for the museum sector and understand the big picture when it comes to visitor numbers, financial operations and workforce management.

This year is more important then ever due to Covid, and we want to make sure we understand just how big the impact on visitor numbers has been, so last years data is more vital then ever.

If you are an Accredited museum you will be receiving an invite to complete the survey shortly. We appreciate all of your responses.

To view previous years data, please visit our website.

 MDEM Events and Programmes 


We don't currently have any MDEM training being advertised, but we'll be updating this soon!

Other Events and Resources

Events, training and resources from other providers.
AIM Launches Training Grant

AIM Training Grants are available to support member museums in developing the skills and expertise of their workforce (paid or voluntary). Applicant museums must be AIM members and priority will be given to smaller museums receiving less than 20,000 visitors p.a.

We can support costs related to fees, accommodation (where distance travel is involved) and travel for:

  • Courses, seminars and workshops
  • Museum conferences
  • Museum study visits
  • Mentoring placements

The maximum grant is £300. Preference will be given to staff members and volunteers of museums that have not previously benefitted. We cannot support retrospective applications and we can only support multiple applications from one museum up to a total value of £300 per museum during the grant year.

For more information and to apply, please click here.

Digital Preservation Coalition Training: Novice to Know How

Following the huge demand for the first three months’ access to the free online digital preservation training Novice to Know-How, registration is now open for the months of August, September and October.

Researched, developed, and tested by experts within the digital preservation community, the training is practically focused, providing learners with the skills and confidence required to implement a simple and proactive digital preservation workflow within their organization. Novice to Know-How is part of The National Archives’ new digital capacity building strategy, ‘Plugged In, Powered Up’ and delivered by the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC).

The training starts with a broad introduction to digital preservation issues and describes some of the ways to address these. It explores the steps to take for potential workflows and the technological solutions that can deployed. With an emphasis on free, easy-to-use solutions, the training includes detailed demos and course content is provided as mix of video, text, and quizzes.

Completion of Novice to Know-How is estimated to take 2 days (each course lasts 1-2 hours), learners may take courses on:

  • Introduction to Digital Preservation
  • Files, Files Formats, and Bitstream Preservation
  • Using DROID
  • Select and Transfer Digital Content
  • Ingesting Digital Content
  • Preserving Digital Content

Access to the Novice to Know-How course works on monthly 4-week cycles, starting on the 1st of each month when learners will receive an email from the DPC, notifying them that their account has been created. Learners will then have until the 28th of the month to complete their selected courses. Register for Novice to Know-How training

Lincoln Conservation Webinars: Virtual Immersive Environment
When: 30th July at 2pm

Hosted by: Conservator & Architectural Paint Researcher, Phillipa McDonnell and Business Development Manager, Michael Poole

For more information and to book directly onto a session, please click here.
Bookmark our Events page to keep up-to-date with the latest listings.

Funding News

A selection of funding opportunities...
MDEM / Art Fund Covid-19 Recovery Grants
Closing Date: 15th August (Round 1) 

Thanks to a fantastic Art Fund investment, we are able to open a new MDEM / Art Fund grant fund to Accredited Museums (and those Working Towards Accreditation) in the East Midlands.

Museums will be able to apply for grants up to £10K to support effective reopening, meeting audience needs, and developing a sustainable offer in response to the crisis.

Application forms are now available to download from our website and will be assessed in two rounds – the first round closes on 15th August 2020 and the second round in October. Eligible museums will be those that have not received emergency funding to date from e.g. National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England, Arts Council England etc. Museums cannot apply for capital project costs and revenue costs such as salaries and general running costs.

Our Small Grants (up to £1500) and Collections Access grants (up to £1000) are still available as well as this new recovery grant fund. You can apply to these funds at any time and grants are assessment monthly.

To download the grant form, please visit our website.

Art Fund: Respond and Reimagine Grants

Respond and reimagine grants provide funding to help museums, galleries and cultural organisations respond to immediate challenges connected to the Covid-19 crisis, and offer support to adapt and reimagine ways of working for the longer-term future.

Responding to now

These grants can provide practical support to fund what you need now. This could relate to costs connected to re-opening, such as staffing, equipment or training, or planning for future activities. We want you to tell us what will be most helpful to you. If your organisation is experiencing an immediate crisis with no alternative sources of funding, we can consider offering emergency support to help you manage during this difficult period.

Reimagining the next

We realise the situation is tough, but where we can, we want our funding to provide opportunities for organisations to get creative with an idea that might help them adapt for the future. If we fund you and it doesn’t work out the way you planned, that’s ok – daring to try something which might not work out quite as planned can provide valuable learning or help identify an alternative solution. As the landscape continues to change, we want our support to provide the flexibility you need to navigate the period ahead beyond reopening.

Are you eligible?

We are happy to receive applications from UK public museums, galleries, historic houses, libraries and archives that:

– ordinarily have spaces for the public to visit and experience the visual arts or other object-based collections. This could include natural history, maritime and transport, archaeology and social history.

– can demonstrate that you usually operate to best practice standards or have a good track record in delivering high quality public activity.

If you are an organisation that is a visual arts agency or festival, we’d be happy to hear from you providing you can meet the above and have a strong visual arts focus. Sadly, we can’t support theatre, music, dance or other art forms.

When to apply

There are three funding rounds for these grants:

– Round 2: Apply by Monday 17 August 2020, and we’ll aim to get you a decision by 21 September 2020

– Round 3: Apply by Monday 12 October 2020, and we’ll aim to get you a decision by 9 November 2020

For more information, please visit their website. 

National Lottery Heritage Fund Covid-19 Response
The National Lottery Heritage Fund are still welcoming applications to their Heritage Emergency Fund to support the UK heritage sector as an immediate response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. They are providing short-term funding for organisations delivering heritage projects or running previously funded projects, and safeguarding heritage sites previously invested in to ensure they are not lost to the public.

The Heritage Emergency Fund is available as:
  • A fund that organisations can access over the next three-six months as short-term funding to stabilise operations and manage unforeseen risks. Grants of between £3,000-£50,000 will be available.
  • A select number of key strategic investments where heritage is identified as at greatest risk. This could include grant increases to funded projects that are currently underway.
Decisions on awards under the Heritage Emergency Fund are made as quickly as possible to support the sector. Awards will be made on the basis of a set of criteria to identify those with the greatest need. More details can be found on their website and if you would like support with your application then please contact MDEM.
Deadline 12noon Friday 31 July
ACE National Lottery Project Grants Reopened
National Lottery Project Grants supports thousands of individual artists, community and cultural organisations. Until April 2021, the fund will focus on the needs of smaller independent organisations and individual practitioners.

We're reopened the fund with a budget of £59.8 million available until April 2021. Grants range from £1,000 - £100,000

We have prioritised reopening this programme to help fund independent organisations, creative practitioners and freelancers as quickly as possible. 

What’s changed?

Our supplementary guidance outlines what has changed to make the fund more responsive to the needs of smaller independent organisations and individual practitioners during Covid-19. 

For more information, please click here.

Severn Trent Community Fund
Severn Trent have re-opened their Community Fund to general applications. The aims of the fund are focused on improving community well-being and they are looking to fund new projects, rather than general organisational running costs. To be eligible for a grant your organisation must be a registered not for profit, and the project you would like funding for must benefit Severn Trent customers.
The programme distributes grants of £2,000 to £250,000 for local initiatives that meet the following aims:

  • People - Projects that facilitate healthier lifestyles and skills development
  • Place - Projects that help create better places to live in and use
  • Environment - Projects that facilitate a healthier natural environment, greater access to that environment or support the preservation of water

There are three sizes of grants:

  • £2,000 - £10,000 (open to many types of groups and orgs)
  • £10,001 - £75,000 (to apply for over £10,000 you must be a registered charity, local authority, parish council or business registered with Companies House)
  • £75,001 - £250,000 Grants of over £10,000 must be match funded with at least 10% of your own funds.
Panel meetings are held in March, June, September and December. They recommend that you allow a minimum of five months between submitting your application and project start date to allow time for processing and decision making.
For more information about the fund and to apply visit: Severn Trent Community Fund

The Austin and Hope Pilkington Trust – Grants to support over 60s

The next two grant rounds will be focused on projects that support people aged 60 and over, specifically:

  • Projects that focus on the many complex issues that have arisen from the Covid 19 pandemic that address the specific needs of people aged 60 and over.
  • Priority will be given to charities that work within BAME communities.
  • Grant round 3 – open for applications from 1st – 31st July 2020. Grant amount £1,000, organisations must have a minimum income and operating expenditure of £100,000 but a maximum of £1,000,000.
  • Grant round 4 – open for applications from 1st – 30th September Grant amount £5,000, organisation must have a minimum income and operating expenditure of £100,000. There is no maximum.
For more information and the how to apply please visit: The Austin and Hope Pilkington.

Other News

News and updates from the East Midlands and beyond...
The UK Governemnt via DCMS have issued a newsletter to help cultural organisatison prepare for the UK's exit from the EU. You can read it here.

Digital Culture Network Resources: From online ticketing to running digital sessions
The Digital Culture Network is generating a series of resources to help you and your organisation respond to the current crisis, and enhance your organisation's digital standing on a permanent basis.

From working and collaborating with others remotely, to continuing to engage with your audiences and generating income for your organisation, the Digital Culture Network is on hand to help you become more digitally engaged. These learnings will not only benefit you now, but continue to offer your organisation renewed energy in the digital realm for many years to come.

You can view a list of their downloadable guides here:

Take a look at their website for a full list of webinars, how to videos and other resources.

The 'EMBED Reopening Recommendation' guidance has been created to support organisations in their decision making prior to reopening following COVID-19 lockdown. It considers potential barriers faced by disabled visitors and customers and offers solution based guidance for organisations of all types with the ultimate aim of keeping stakeholders, staff, volunteers visitors, students or customers as safe as possible. 

We have paid particular attention to the needs of a diverse visitor and user base. The guidance is based on our experience of accessibility for disabled and neurodiverse people and was reflective of known evidence and research about COVID-19 at the time of writing. 

These actions are recommendations only and as such are not mandatory. They provide useful, practical and pragmatic actions to support reopening and should be used to underpin Government, sector and industry specific advice. 

This guidance has been designed as a living document and will continue to evolve in line with the latest UK Government advice on Coronavirus (COVID‑19).

The first wave of museums, galleries and heritage sites has begun the process of reopening their doors to a changed world. Never before have we had to pivot our offers on this scale, with this speed or with such depleted resources. Challenges around social distancing, visitor safety and confidence, data-friendly ticketing, re-imaging spaces... all are unprecedented and difficult to navigate. This is going to be a learning process and we're eager to channel our expertise into helping you plan and evaluate your strategies and processes as you go, to be confident that you are continuing to offer high quality experiences to all of your visitors.

Our brand new Bounce Forwards COVID-19 recovery package is a centralised place for you to find support with your reopening plan. We recommend delving into the Evidence Hub's whole host of resources including recovery route-maps, revenue trackers, research round-ups and insight into audiences' on and offline COVID-19 experiences. Click here to visit the hub.


These news items only scratch the surface of our Regional News, find the stories we couldn't fit in on our News page and bookmark it to refer back to.

Jobs and Volunteer Opportunities

Jobs, contracts and volunteering opportunities from around the East Midlands...

Audience Development and Engagement Manager - Leicester City Council
Closing date: 3rd August
Job type: Full time
Salary: £42,683 - £45,591
The Audience Development & Engagement Manager will develop and lead an engagement and exhibitions programme which delivers compelling in–person and online experiences that result in audience development and customer engagement with the service. As a member of the Arts and Museums Senior Management team, you will be responsible for the learning, exhibitions, curatorial, community engagement, health and wellbeing, arts and heritage service areas. You oversee significant elements of ACE NPO activities, will develop and lead the learning offer, both formal and informal and will be responsible for the collections, ensuring that industry standards are maintained.

For more info and to apply, please click here

Projects and Events Administrator - National Holocaust Centre
Closing date: 31st July
Details: On request via email

We are looking for a pro-active and practical administrator to join our team and co-ordinate the work behind these events.

This is an exciting opportunity to join a team of creative thinkers that are delivering high quality products week in week out while simultaneously planning for the future.

These events are a chance for the Holocaust to remain a current focus in the eye of the public, and it is a chance for us to show the themes at the heart of the Holocaust – hatred and prejudice and discrimination – are still topical to life today.

We need an administrator who is capable of juggling multiple administrative tasks for different deadlines on more than one project at once. We need someone who knows exactly what our current position is while thinking to the future – what are we doing next week, and next month.

For more information, please visit their website.

Dialect and Heritage Project Opportunities 
Closing date: 27th July
Job type: Various

The Dialect and Heritage project is opening up the extensive Leeds Archive of Vernacular Culture (LAVC) to the public.  The archive includes the ground-breaking work of the Survey of English Dialects.  The survey will now be updated and made available online for the first time, with the help of volunteers recruited and trained as oral history and dialect fieldworkers and transcribers.
The Dialect and Heritage Project Partnership is currently inviting applications for a range of consultancy opportunities.  The Project Partnership is seeking: 

  • An experienced evaluation consultant/consultancy to help us to evaluate the impact of the Dialect and Heritage Project.
  • An experienced brand developer to help us to create a strong brand and visual identity for the Dialect and Heritage Project.
  • An experienced PR consultant/consultancy to help us to raise awareness of, and drive engagement with, the Dialect and Heritage Project.
  • An experienced website development company to design and develop a website for the Dialect and Heritage Project.
  • An experienced company to carry out website user testing as part of the Dialect and Heritage Project. 
  • An experienced digital content editor to assist us with producing content for the new website being created as part of the Dialect and Heritage Project.

Contact us at for details.  

Community Engagement Co-ordinator (Wellingborough), Made With Many
Closing Date: 5 August 2020
Job type: Hours negotiable from 22-37.5 hours per week (flexible to include evenings and weekends when required)
Salary:  £23,000 pa (pro-rata if part-time)

The Community Engagement Co-ordinator will assist the staff team, and associated artists, freelance staff and community groups, on a range of projects in Wellingborough, including leading on engagement with the community in Wellingborough. You’ll be passionate about working alongside the local community to create exciting new cultural activities, have some experience of project management and working with the cultural sector and most importantly, be friendly and approachable.

Click here to find out more

Heritage Outreach Project Officer - Nottingham
Closing Date: 31st July
Job type: 15 hours per week for 1 year
Salary:  £1,250 per month

St Peter’s Church has been awarded funding by the National Lottery Heritage Fund for the project ‘City Stories: Then and Now’. The grant has enabled the church to address long-standing roof repairs as well as deliver a wide range of outreach activities.  The Parochial Church Council therefore seeks to appoint an experienced and dynamic Heritage Outreach Project Officer to work with the project steering group over a year from September 2020.

Our original plan was to provide projects which would allow the vulnerable people who regularly use the church to feel ownership of the space, benefit from greater well-being and develop useful skills for employment. This is still our aim, but now within the constraints of social distancing. We also have plans for young people from inner-city schools (which have a high percentage of ‘Pupil Premium’ families) to access engaging heritage activities.  We would like to address gaps in the current curriculum, to engage with pupils about the role played by the church in the city's history, and to give them the desire to return to the building with their families by introducing them to the peace and tranquillity of our beautiful building.

The project also includes the creation of a new guidebook for St Peter's, and the addition of new material on the social and physical heritage of the church to the parish website.

Click here to find out more.

Do you have a job, commission or volunteering opportunity that you would like to advertise? Email Laura with full details and your vacancy could appear on our website and in our next e-newsletter.
From all of us at Museum Development East Midlands - thank you for reading

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