Sustainable Improvement Fund 2020-21

We are pleased to announce that the next round of our Sustainable Improvement Fund is now open. The Fund (SIF) is a major part of the Museum Development North West Programme (MDNW). This Programme embraces Arts Council England’s five strategic goals set out in Great Art and Culture for Everyone to drive development and deliver sustainability, resilience and innovation in museums in the North West.

For 2020-21 we will support museums around these key areas:

  1. collections – development, care or management
  2. audiences – diversifying audiences or community engagement
  3. environmental sustainability – public facing work or operational/internal progress towards reducing carbon
  4. specific Accreditation areas for development (previously known as Areas for Improvement)
  5. seed funding to bring in extra capacity or knowledge to work up an application to Arts Council England’s National Lottery Project Grants

The Fund reflects the North West’s commitment to partnership working and will still be open to consortia applications.

We will support bids that complement and not duplicate other sources of museum development support, or other campaigns and initiatives funded by Arts Council England. If you have a project in mind to trial new ideas, develop complex plans and form long-term partnerships that extend beyond the life of the project, you might want to consider applying to Arts Council England’s National Lottery Project Grants.

Deadlines, guidance and the application form for the Sustainable Improvement Fund can be found below.

SIF 2020-21 guidance

SIF 2020-21 application form

SIF 2020-21 final report template


Arts Council England logo and guidelines for use

Upcoming Workshops – Digital Skills

Details about upcoming workshops with a digital focus:

Microsoft Teams Taster Session

Barclays ‘Eagle Lab’, Manchester, Thursday 30th Jan

Digital Lancashire : Digital Storytelling – Impact and Future

Peel Park, Blackpool, Thursday 30th Jan (evening)

How to design a website

Lloyds Bank, Manchester, Wednesday 12th Feb

Prosper North 2020 business support programme now open for applications

Museum Development North West

From Prosper North:

Deadline to apply for the next round of support – Monday 3rd February 2020

A new, free business support programme for culture and heritage organisations to help them become stronger, more impactful, and make the most of the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund investment opportunity

Prosper North’s aims are to improve the capabilities of around 80 cultural heritage organisations in the North of England – from music venues to community art groups, and independent museums to literature festivals – to increase income and impact, becoming more resilient businesses. It is aligned with the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund (NCRF), managed by the Key Fund, which is offering social investments (mix of grant and loans) to creative and cultural organisations in the north of England who deliver positive social impacts.

Between May 2019 and May 2021, 3 cohorts of participants will benefit from a series of free workshops on subjects such as business…

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Job Opportunities: Lakeland Arts

lakeland_arts_logoDetails for three vacancies at Lakeland Arts below:

Job OpportunityLakeland Arts
Job title:
Business Development Manager
Salary: £30,000 – £33,000, depending on experience
Location: Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria
Hours: Full time
Closing date: Monday 17 February 2020

For full details click here

Job OpportunityLakeland Arts
Job title:
Marketing & PR Officer
Salary: £22,000 – £25,000 depending on experience
Location: Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria
Hours: Full time
Closing date: Monday 17 February 2020

For full details click here

Job OpportunityLakeland Arts
Job title
: Marketing & Digital Coordinator
Salary: £22,000 – £25,000 depending on experience
Location: Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria
Hours: Full time
Closing date: Monday 17 February 2020

For full details click here

Job Opportunity: Lancaster City Museums

Maritime Museum Manager
Salary: £23,836 – £28,785 per annum, pro rata. Starting salary dependent upon experience.
Location : Maritime Museum, Lancaster
Hours: Full time, 37 hrs/wk
Contract Type: Temporary, 9 months with a possibility of extension
Closing Date: Sunday 16th February 2020

Lancaster City Council is looking for a temporary manager to manage the Lancaster Maritime Museum. The museum forms part of Lancaster City Museums along with the City and Cottage Museums. It is sited on historic St George’s Quay and comprises the Grade II* Customs House of 1764 and the Grade II 18th century warehouse alongside. The museum showcases both Lancaster’s international maritime heritage, the history of the Lancaster canal and the local history and ecology around Morecambe Bay.

The successful candidate will manage and develop the Maritime Museum, developing audiences and continuing to improve visitor numbers and income. They will lead and develop the front of house team to ensure that high standards of customer service are built upon to achieve an excellent visitor attraction. They will also ensure that all proper standards are put in place and maintained, both for premises management and for the care of collections.

You will have significant experience in either a museum or heritage environment and have some experience of site or building management. You will have experience of collections care, including museum documentation, as well as exhibitions work and community engagement. Excellent customer service will be important to you, as well as an ability to lead and inspire a team and you will also be motivated to improve the visitor experience as well as develop audiences.

To apply, visit the website.

The closing date for completed applications is 5pm on Sunday 16th February 2020.
Interviews will be held on Friday 6th March 2020.

Museum Development Evaluation – Opportunity to Contribute

Arts Council England has commissioned DC Research Ltd (in partnership with Durnin Research and Pomegranate) to carry out an Evaluation of the Museum Development Programme across England.

The evaluation aims to understand the impact of Arts Council’s investment in the Museum Development Programme.

As part of the current phase of the evaluation, a survey of museums that have (or have not) engaged with the Museum Development Programme is taking place – and we would be delighted if you could find the time to respond to the survey.

The survey asks about your museum’s engagement with Museum Development, the impact of any Museum Development support your museum has received, and provides you with an opportunity to provide feedback on the support received and identify any areas for improvement.  If you have not engaged with Museum Development, we welcome your views on why, your awareness of Museum Development support and areas for improvement.

The survey is available via:

It should only take 10 minutes to complete the survey, and the deadline for responses is Friday 14th February 2020.

Please note, all responses are completely confidential.  All and any results from the survey will only be released in aggregated form so that no individual or organisation can be identified.

If you have any questions about the survey or the evaluation, please do not hesitate to contact Dr Stephen Connolly (Director at DC Research Ltd, project manager for the evaluation team) via


Opportunity to become an ‘Artistic and Quality Assessor’ with Arts Council England

From Arts Council England:

The aim of Artistic and Quality Assessment (AQA) is to provide a fair, robust and transparent platform for discussions about quality of work and to help ACE develop a broad range of insights from arts and culture professionals.

The assessor’s role is to experience the work of our funded organisations (for example, a show, a concert, an exhibition or a publication) and each time to write a report for the Arts Council assessing the quality of that work. Artistic and quality assessments are shared with the arts organisations and may provide a useful context for their own conversations about quality.

We are searching for people who can cover a range of disciplines and geographical areas. Due to the nature of the AQA programme we are particularly keen to hear from potential assessors with flexibility to travel, ability to commit to multi-visit assessments. We’d like to hear from people with diverse backgrounds and experience in a range of artforms.

As there are limited spaces available, we would appreciate all applicants to have a met the criteria for appointment as outlined in the background information document before any application is made.

Here is the Artistic and Quality Assessment Background information which outlines the role of the assessor, the criteria and the terms of the appointment. ACE hope that this enclosed will tell you everything that you need to know and that you will apply to work with us. Once you have read through the document and you would like to apply, please complete the application survey form here by 12pm Friday 7 February 2020.

If you have any further questions please email

Job Opportunity: Casual Visitor Services Assistant, Port Sunlight Village Trust (PSVT)

Job Opportunity: Port Sunlight Village Trust (PSVT)
Job title: Casual Visitor Services Assistant
Salary: National Minimum wage/Living wage depending on eligibility
Location: Port Sunlight Village, Wirral CH62 5DX
Variable casual engagement
Contract: Casual engagement
Closing date: 09/02/2020

Port Sunlight Village Trust (PSVT) is an independent charity founded in 1999. They are guardians of a unique and beautiful village with a vision to make Port Sunlight an inspiring place to live, work and visit.

Founded in 1888 by industrialist William Lever, Port Sunlight was built for the workers of his nearby Lever Brothers soap factory. Today the village is home to just over 2,000 residents and receives in the region of 300,000 visitors each year.

PSVT’s current visitor offer comprises an award winning museum and Edwardian worker’s cottage experience, along with a self-service tea room and well stocked gift shop. Visitors can also enjoy tours and trails of the village, an indoor and outdoor events programme, and access to Bridge Cottage – the original home of William Lever which today operates as a community hub facility.

In June 2020 PSVT will open a new permanent exhibition exploring the subject of soap, funded through an AIM Biffa Award History Maker’s Grant. The new exhibition will effectively double the size of the existing museum. They are seeking to recruit new staff to increase the visitor services team and meet the needs of the new exhibition and their existing museum.

You will work as part of the Visitor Services Team to ensure the highest levels of customer standards are met, maximise income through ticket, Gift Aid and retail sales and create a welcoming environment for all. This is a people centred role, in a fast paced environment, located in Port Sunlight Museum and their brand new gallery opening in summer 2020.

If you are passionate about exceptional customer service, creating a warm welcome, showcasing history and being part of a team then please get in touch with PSVT.

Applicants should have previous experience working in a retail and/or visitor services role in an attraction, museum or art gallery setting and/or demonstrable skills and experience.

For an application pack and more information contact PSVT on 0151 644 4800 or Please note CVs will not be accepted. More information about Port Sunlight Village Trust is also available on their website 

The closing date for completed applications is 09/02/2020. Interviews will be held w/c 17/02/2020

Port Sunlight Museum

Port Sunlight Museum

For the full Job decription and advert please use the link below:

PSVT Advert for Casual VS Assitant

PSVT Casual Visitor Services Assistant JD

Job Opportunity: Lakeland Arts

Visitor Experience Manager
Salary: £20,000 – £22,000, depending on experience
Location: Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria
Hours: Full time
Closing date: Monday 17th February 2020 

Purpose and key objectives

As Visitor Experience Manager you will inspire staff and volunteers in establishing high quality standards in visitor experience, audience engagement, operational management and commerciality.

You will work with the other Visitor Experience Managers in leading a team of staff and volunteers, having day to day duty management responsibility for the operation of the site. This will include visitor experience, catering, retail and estate-wide operations and events.

For more info and details on how to apply, click here.

New award to champion sustainability in museums at Museums + Heritage Awards 2020

From the Museums + Heritage Awards:

In addition to the 13 categories already included in this year’s Museums + Heritage Awards, we are very proud to have partnered with The National Lottery Heritage Fund to introduce a brand new award for 2020 – The Sustainable Project of the Year Award, which is free to enter online and has an extended deadline of 21 Feb, will celebrate the UK museum, heritage or cultural organisation which has created the most outstanding environmentally sustainable project or exhibition in 2019.

The 31 January deadline for the remaining 13 categories at the Museums + Heritage Awards is fast approaching and now is the time to put the finishing touches on your application.

Don’t sit on the side-lines in 2020. Get your work recognised, across the globe, by winning one of these Awards. Find out more info here.

North West Regional Update from The National Archives

From The National Archives:

Creative Income Generation Workshop

We are pleased to offer a new training opportunity for people working within the archive sector. The Creative Income Generation workshop will help you achieve enhanced sustainable income generation which will make your archive service more resilient. The workshop is running on 4 February in London and 25 February in Manchester and is fully funded for people working in the archive sector as part of The National Archives’ Archives Unlocked delivery programme.

Who should attend: This course has been designed to be appropriate for anyone working within the archive sector, from front line leaders to service leaders. This course is a must for anyone who is responsible for the income generation and resilience of an archive service. This course will enable archive leaders to respond well to immediate and longer-term opportunities so that the services can continue to have an increasingly positive impact on people and communities.

Learning objectives: You will leave the workshop with the following:

  • Clear understanding about the meaning and scope of ‘income generation’ within archive services
  • Enhanced insight to the concept of creativity
  • Clear understanding of a process and techniques that they can implement within their service to enable creative income generation (including a comprehensive resource pack)
  • Enhanced skills in key areas of creative income generation
  • Knowledge of existing income generation practice within the sector
  • A resource of peers to support future creative income generation

To book the training course in Kew on 4 February  2020, 9.30am – 5pm, please use this link.

To book the training course in Manchester on 25 February 2020, 9.30am – 5pm, please use this link.

If you have any questions please email

Save the Date: DALE Event, Thursday 13 February

The next DALE event will be taking place on Thursday 13 February, 10am- 4pm at the Library of Birmingham. The subject will be Digital Advocacy, and will include sessions on making the case for digital preservation, talking to IT departments, and advocating for users. The full programme and booking details will be released shortly.

Archives, Health and Wellbeing Survey

As part of our leadership role for the archives sector, The National Archives is taking a keen interest in the growing health and wellbeing movement, and its potential benefits to culture and heritage organisations and their audiences. We believe there are a number of ways in which the archives sector could benefit from the recent surge in interest in health and wellbeing from the health and social care sectors, local and central government, and the general public.

We have put together an initial survey to find out more about related work already happening in archives, and to gauge the level of interest across the sector. We are interested in both ‘business as usual’ archives activity considered in terms of wellbeing and in projects and activities with a specific health and wellbeing focus.

Whether or not your service already has experience of health and wellbeing work, we would love to hear your views.

Depending on how much work you have done in this field, this survey should take between 5 and 30 minutes to complete. Almost all the questions are optional but, if you are happy for us to contact you about your answers, or if you are interested in joining an informal community of interest around archives and health and wellbeing, please do enter your contact details at the end of the survey. The survey will be open until the end of January 2020.

For more information and to take part in the survey here.

Meet the Funders Event

We are hosting a Meet the Funders Event at London Metropolitan Archives on the 18th February. The aim of this workshop is to give colleagues working in the archive sector a flavour of the funding sources available to them, including the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the V&A Purchase Grant Fund, and the Friends of the National Libraries/National Manuscripts Conservation Trust.

During the day there will be informal discussions, advice to individual organisations thinking of applying, presentations and roundtable surgeries with each of the funders, as well as a chance to find out more about The National Archives’ Archives Revealed and new Collaborate & Innovate programmes.

To book your place please click here.