Culture Clash? Contemporary art in historic contexts
29 January 2014
RAMM joins contemporary arts conference at the Royal Museums Greenwich on Friday 14 February 2014.
In recent years it has become increasingly popular for museums and historic buildings to invite artists to respond to their buildings or collections by curating, creating or performing on site. The Greenwich conference Culture Clash? Contemporary Arts in Historic Contexts will investigate the impact of this collaboration on museums and their audiences and upon the artists.
RAMM worked closely with contemporary artists during its recent redevelopment and is developing a strong and innovative contemporary arts programme. The museum’s experiences will be shared in a presentation to the conference which also includes contributions from the National Gallery, University of Lucerne, University of York and the V&A.
A booking form and draft programme can be found on the Royal Museums Greenwich website.
The Challenges Faced by Local Authority-Managed Museums and Settings by Senior Collections Officer Julien Parsons and Creative Programmer Martin Thomas.
RAMM’s ethos is ‘Home to a Million Thoughts’ and cares for over one million objects covering art, antiquities, natural sciences and the designated world cultures collections. RAMM reopened its doors in 2011, following a four-year, £24M investment, which was a complete development of the site. The award-winning development has enlarged the display areas by 25 per cent, enabling 40 per cent more of the collections to be shown. Our paper for ‘Culture Clash’ explores the challenges that local authority-managed museums and settings face and shares our expertise and record of achievement, including the following:
Commissioning original artworks to be designed into the fabric of the extended museum.
Using Arts Council England’s major partner museum investment, we paid for artists-in-residence, exhibitions and freelance creative programmers. Working with the RAMM team, their role has been to develop partnerships, initiate ideas and set the strategic context, so that work with artists and exhibitions of contemporary art are knitted into the overall public programmes.
In 2012, RAMM won the Art Fund Prize and title ‘Museum of the Year’. Some of that prize money will be used to commission a significant artwork. What is distinctive is our approach: we will use a series of ‘Artist Reflections’ across all collection disciplines as an iterative process, informing the larger commission later in 2015. The first ‘Artist Reflection’ will be by Polly Morgan who will be working with the natural sciences collections in 2014.
We established a Contemporary Arts Panel to act as an independent advisory body, which is unusual in its focus and remit for a local government-managed service.
RAMM is an prominent partner in New Expressions 3 and will be commissioning a digital artist to respond to the collections as part of this national programme
For all we have delivered, RAMM is keen to learn from others – to share knowledge and invite colleagues to consider transferable models of practice. Several of our initiatives can be scaled up or down to fit with other conference attendees’ situations. Likewise, we would welcome the chance to look at how other settings have embraced the challenges and balanced the different needs and expectations of audiences, staff and supporters.