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MGS Awarded £770,000 To Support Access To Culture

Three young adults with medium skin tone and brown hair, light skin tone and brown hair, and dark skin tone, glasses, and braided hair are stood looking down at a digital display with an image of a map on it. An older adult with light skin tone, light brown hair, wearing glasses and a lanyard is pointing at the display. Behind them is a floor to ceiling glass display case including animal skulls, domestic pottery items and interpretation text and images.

Today Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS), the sector national development body, announced they have received £770,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF).  

Thanks to National Lottery players this grant will support Delivering Change, a three-year programme for museums and galleries across Scotland to make changes to help all people to access culture. 

Delivering Change recognises and seeks to address systemic exclusion within the sector – where systems (economic, social, political and cultural) intentionally disadvantage groups of people based on their identity, while advantaging members of the dominant group. It will do this through a programme that will be a collective effort between MGS and partnering museums, galleries, and community groups. The programme will take a flexible approach and be focused on Learning, Leadership, and Funding across all levels of organisations.      

The programme has been developed by MGS, with support from an expert advisory group who worked with MGS to establish a plan for training, support, interventions, and funding to support change in Scotland’s museums. It has been informed by the lived and professional experience of those who have experienced barriers to participation in culture.   

It has also been informed by research calling for museums to develop participatory approaches that include those who have experienced exclusion in all its forms. This includes exclusion because of race, gender, class, sexual orientation, language, or disability.  

In 2022 Grampian Transport Museum, an independent industrial museum based in the North East of Scotland, took part in the pilot programme for Delivering Change. Ross McKirdy, Museum Manager of Grampian Transport Museum said:  

“We participated in the pilot session on Becoming an Anti-Racist Organisation. The session explored our existing knowledge regarding race equality and anti-racism, developed it further, our organisational culture, and amongst other things encouraged us to look at how we operate and how we are perceived by others in this space.   

The feedback from my team was overwhelmingly positive – and continues to be a topic of conversation. We have committed to several actions off the back of the session including a body of work looking at our audiences and diversity. We would look to use this information to ensure our museum caters for all cross-sections of the community – and hopefully build relationships with diverse audiences to help us tell different stories in the museum.”  

Caroline Clark, The National Lottery Heritage Fund Director for Scotland, said:  

“It is a key principle of Heritage 2033, our 10 year strategy, that we support greater inclusion, diversity, access and participation in heritage. We will support projects that ensure everyone has opportunities to learn, develop new skills and explore heritage, regardless of background or personal circumstances.  

“Delivering Change aligns with that principle. The project has been carefully and thoughtfully planned. With thorough research, collaboration, and the participation of people who have personally experienced the barriers to inclusion.  We are proud that thanks to National Lottery players we can now support Museums Galleries Scotland to share this important work across the country to help ensure heritage is more open to all.”  

Lucy Casot, CEO of Museums Galleries Scotland said:  

“We are enormously grateful for NLHF for their support for Delivering Change and helping us create this powerful opportunity for museums to get practical help to make their spaces inclusive for all.   

We know that this kind of transformational change takes time, and we are committed to helping Scotland’s museums and galleries build the connections and relationships that will ensure our work, community and visitor spaces are places that all can feel and be part of.  

We thank the expert advisory group for their insight, experience and knowledge in developing Delivering Change.” 

Delivering Change will also be supported by £250,000 from the Scottish Government.   

MGS has also designed Delivering Change to enable museums and galleries to achieve a number of priority areas in the Strategy for Scotland’s Museums and Galleries 2023 – 2030.   

Four jobs will be created by MGS to deliver the programme. Job applications will be live in October on the MGS website jobs and opportunities page. 

Delivering Change Programme Information:  

Delivering Change takes place over three years and consists of three parts:  

Museum Learning Programme – Personal and organisational learning to support re-structuring organisations based on anti-oppressive principles.  

Funding Programme – Community-Museum Partnership Fund with grants up to £20k-£25k, Case by Case Fund with grants up to £5k, and the Sustainable Co-Production Fund of grants up to £40k.  

Leadership Programme – Peer to peer learning programme through pairing senior museums professionals with professionals from third sector equalities organisations.  

Information on how to participate in Delivering Change will be posted on the MGS Delivering Change webpage. Programme delivery will begin in 2024.