Manchester Art Gallery's Update
- Meeting of Communities and Equalities Scrutiny Committee, Thursday, 10th October, 2019 2.00 pm (Item 37.)
Report of the Director of Manchester Art Gallery and the Strategic Director of Neighbourhoods
This report details Manchester Art Gallery’s programme, reach and social impact during 2018/19 and 2019/20 within the context of our strategic plan.
The Committee received a report of the Director of Manchester Art Gallery and the Strategic Director of Neighbourhoods which detailed Manchester Art Gallery’s programme, reach and social impact during 2018/19 and 2019/20 within the context of its strategic plan.
Officers referred to the main points and themes within the report, which included:
- Manchester Art Gallery’s vision and objectives;
- Visitor and volunteer information;
- Work with schools;
- Targeted outreach in areas with lower levels of engagement with the Gallery; and
- The Gallery’s programme of work, including exhibitions, the redevelopment of Platt Hall and the Manchester Together Archive.
The Committee watched a short film about Manchester Art Gallery.
Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were:
- To welcome the work being done by Manchester Art Gallery;
- How engagement with schools could be improved;
- Whether the Queen’s Park Conservation Studios in Harpurhey could be opened up to the public to encourage engagement from people in the local area;
- The work to re-develop Platt Hall; and
- What was the future for the Manchester Together Archive, the physical
and digital record of the spontaneous public response to the Arena attack of 22 May 2017.
The Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure outlined how the Council had worked to engage with schools to encourage them to take up the cultural offer which was available to them and promote its benefits. He encouraged Members to engage with schools in their ward to encourage them to take this up. The Director of Manchester City Galleries reported that lack of transport and lack of time in the school week could impact on schools’ ability to engage with the cultural offer and he expressed concern that arts and culture were being phased out of the curriculum nationally. He informed Members that he had recently joined the Board of Manchester Cultural Education Partnership (MCEP) with the intention of introducing art into the curriculum of Manchester schools and promoting visual and emotional literacy in children. He advised that creativity should be embedded across the whole curriculum. In response to a Member’s question, the Director of Manchester City Galleries reported that education professionals would be on the MCEP Board and involved in the development of this work.
The Director of Manchester City Galleries reported that the building in Harpurhey had previously been an art gallery and was now a storage facility and conservation studio for the city’s collections; however, he advised that providing public access to the building would create some challenges, due to security issues. The Senior Operational Lead (Manchester City Galleries) reported that consideration with being given to having a publicly-accessible collection on this site.
The Senior Operational Lead reported that the redevelopment of Platt Hall would be a collaboration with the local community, where communication, transparency and co-production with local people were key in order to develop something which was sustainable and community-driven.
The Senior Operational Lead informed Members that the Gallery currently had funding for the Manchester Together Archive until July 2020 which was to create digital content for the archive. She reported that an application had been submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a further three years of funding which, if successful, would be used to develop the public offer for the physical material, while ensuring a contemplative personal space for those most affected to engage with the material.
To note the report.