An update on Arts Council England’s decision to end funding for Museums Sheffield

We’re receiving an immense amount of support and, understandably, lots of questions about what happens now.  We’ll be publishing details here on our blog as the situation develops.

Today our management team met with Arts Council England’s Yorkshire team in Dewsbury to discuss last week’s decision not to award Sheffield Renaissance Major Grant funding.

Discussion centred on short term implications (our current national funding ends on 31 March and leaves an £800k budget shortfall) and longer term options.

In the short term, the Arts Council are offering ‘transitional funding’ to manage the process of winding down some areas of activity and to pay the redundancy costs of staff currently funded by Renaissance.  However, the devastating end result of the grant loss will remain the same.

Transitional funding may also allow us to keep a team together capable of bidding for the Arts Council’s Renaissance Strategic Support fund, details of which are to be released in autumn 2012.  It goes without saying that Museums Sheffield intends to bid for strategic support, however it is clear that this fund (c£15m per year, distributed nationally across many museums) will not support anything like the level of funding denied to Sheffield last week.  Even if successful in an application for Strategic Support, our national funding will decline dramatically and Museums Sheffield will still be providing a service much reduced from the present level.

The voluntary board of Museums Sheffield meet on Tuesday 1 February to respond to the crisis and will be discussing the Arts Council’s appeals procedure.  To better inform this discussion, we have requested full details of our bid assessment from the Arts Council.

As soon as we can, we’ll publish details of the assessment to give a clearer picture as to why our bid was turned down.  In the meantime, we urge anyone who is concerned about the impact of this decision on Sheffield to show their support. Details of how best to do this are here

Jan 30 2012


  1. Written by Simon Landau about 3 years, 8 months ago

    I tried to attend yesterday's public consultative meeting at the Town Hall but was a few minutes late and was turned away as the room was packed and they could not accommodate any more people. Is it possible to have a synopsis of what happened at that meeting ? 110 people is a great turnout and shows the depth of feeling in Sheffield and hopefully shows the determination of people that the Council keep at least to their current level of funding so that the crisis does not get worse.

  2. Written by eric.hildrew about 3 years, 8 months ago

    Hi Simon

    It's a shame you were turned away as there were definitely free seats but yes, a good turnout. The meeting covered all aspects of the Council's culture/leisure portfolio, from bowling greens to sporting events. The Arts Council bid was discussed in the context of other cuts the Council has to find from April 1 (other arts organsiations in Sheffield are receiving budget cuts). Council officers and councillors present re-iterated their disappointment with ACE's decision and their commitment to Museums Sheffield - the decision RE our Council funding from April 1 was described as 'under review'.

  3. Written by Helen B about 3 years, 8 months ago

    I have made an official complaint to Sheffield Council about the cuts to the arts which they are making; this way the concern is officially raised and added to the statistics on complaints and will be fed through to central government.
    I am even more enraged now than I was last week as there has come with yesterday's newspaper a poster declaring Sheffield a City of Sport for this year with a massive range of events. In my opinion there is a definite bias towards sport and away from the arts in this city.Let's get away from cultivating competition and aggression and let's value the need for people to be encouraged to think and enjoy the arts. Let us also consider the fact that recreation (of all kinds, which includes both sport and the arts) is particularly vital at a time of high unemployment. Museums, art galleries and parks are the few places left where unemployed people can take their children without worrying about how much they need to pay. We do not compare favourably with Liverpool, Manchester or Leeds and even smaller places like Wakefield and Salford appear to have more investment in art galleries. I also hope that Sheffield does not decided to sell off yet more of its paintings, I was disgusted when they did this last time and when they took out the gallery at Weston Park.

  4. Written by Dave Atkin about 3 years, 8 months ago

    For a City to be successful it needs a University an airport and a Premiership Football Club - so said an economic report a couple of years ago. What attracts people to Sheffield is sport because of the fantastic facilities we have here and specific events such as the two football clubs and the snooker. However, we wouldn't have half that interest if Bob Kershaw, trying to clear up the mess left behind by Blunkett and Co, persuaded the council to stick its neck out for the World Student Games. The inheritance of that decision from Sheffield Steelers to Jessica Ennis is still the biggest draw we have. Now it is time for this council to stick its neck out for the Arts. In John Ruskins day local industrialists put Sheffield on the cultural map, it could be that Arts in Business might give us a boost but as a community we need to understand if we want this we have to be brave: Sort out the City Centre to get our offering to visitors from 33rd in the city rankings where it is now to better than the 7th place we were in only 4 years ago. Once the visitors are here we need more than Grin Up North and Tramlines for them to stick around to see. The Museums and Galleries need to be proactive look for the biggest shows and Exhibitions they can - they need to create new events exclusive to Sheffield that are exciting and big enough to drag in the tourists. The council needs to get its head around why we need a real tourism department why culture should be on a par with the success we have made of sport - and those involved in the cultural industry need to realise (as Leeds and Manchester already have) that a visitor to a Museum in another City isn't a nice thing for the Arts community - its lost revenue for our Museums and our City.

  5. Written by Catherine Marsden about 3 years, 8 months ago

    I have to correct some of the statements made by Dave Atkin above. The Student Games came about because of Blunkett, Betts and co as I remember it.

    Against much derision and opposition from other political parties (and still being moaned about by the LibDems recently in The Sheffield Telegraph), they went ahead and bid for, borrowed the money and invested in the city.

    Again, unless I'm mistaken, Bob Kerslake didn't even work in Sheffield at the time.

    The art galleries and museums have as long as I can remember provided high quality exhibitions and classes,and activities for children; but with increased funding from the early 2000s onwards they were able to extend this provision and also bring national collaborative and touring exhibitions to the city. This was inspite of only recieving a quarter of the national funding areas like Leeds were receiving.

    It is only in July 2010 that Sheffield made the final for the UK City of Culture, which Derry won and will stage in 2013. Much of this bid was based around and reflected the work that Museums Sheffield has been involved and a catalyst for.

    Unfortunately, what didn't help after that was when the LibDems before the last election cut the funding (restored to some extent with the change of party at the last local government election)but too late to stop Museums Sheffield losing ACE funding for its galleries. To now lose funding under the Renaissance funding (a rather strange way for ACE to fund museums and galleries in my opinion)when the resilience criteria was 'met' seems diabolical and I only hope everyone in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, NE Derbyshire, the Peak District,N Nottinghamshire and N Lincolnshire; all local MPs and councillors of whatever political party; as well as the Universities and local businesses, all of whom have benefitted from what Museums Sheffield have achieved over recent years, should be making their united anger at the treatment of Museums Sheffield clear, locally, regionally and nationally.

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