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Covid-19 Update

Wednesday, April 22, 2020 - 14:00

Activity During Covid-19:

While the Coronavirus lockdown is a stressful time for many of us, it also provides opportunities to learn and reflect upon our practice. 

Over the spring and summer we had planned to run a series of skill sharing events, seminars, conferences and archive tours in partnership with museums, galleries, archives and private collections across the UK to share best practice, knowledge and skills, and to encourage sector networking.

We have had to postpone many of these events for now, so instead we have reached out to respected freelancers and photographic experts from the sector and to PCN's Steering Group to help us deliver a series of online events, which are offered for free and aim to be accessible to as many people as possible.

We would normally charge a ticket price for our events and like many organisations, staff, and freelancers and in the sector that we support, we are experiencing a loss of income right now. This is due to projects and events being cancelled, funding bids we that have been working on are unable to be submitted due to reorganisation of funds, and the loss of ticket income. We ask if you take part in our online events and feel that you can afford to donate, that you do so whilst making your booking. Every donation is appreciated, and will help us continue our work, and enable us to pay more speakers to run online events.

Additionlly we are updating our website, and working with experts to bring you more tool kits and expert advice, keep an eye on our website and twitter for updates.

If you have online events, activites, collections or information you would like PCN to share please get in touch.

If you would like to support PCN or collaborate with us please get in touch.

Recommened Links:

Redeye Photography Network, Coronavirus Photography Sector Resources
Arts Council Covid19 Support Package:
Heritage Fund, Covid19 Response
Museums Association, Practical ways museums can contribute during the crisis

Social History Curators Group Conference 18-19 July

Monday, June 10, 2019 - 11:30

Hurry! - bookings close at 5pm on Friday 14th June for The Social History Curators Group 2019 conference, to be held in Edinburgh on 18 - 19 July 2019.

The Future of Social History: Who are we Curating for?
Venue: Edinburgh - City Art Centre and Dovecot Studios
Dates: Thursday 18th and Friday 19th July 2019

This year’s conference includes interactive workshops, tours and presentations on a wide range of themes including rationalisation and representation in museum collections.

"Conference is a great opportunity to hear about the experiences and learning from a range of institutions across the country, to take part in valuable knowledge building workshops, and to have the opportunity to network with others in the sector." (SHCG)

Read more including programme, biographies and abstracts, and book here.

Professional development courses & bursaries (Art Fund with Whitechapel Gallery)

Sunday, May 12, 2019 - 12:15

Art Fund have partnered with Whitechapel Gallery for the sixth year running to support their series of professional development courses, and are offering 50 bursaries to curators and museum professionals.

Running throughout June and July, these hands-on courses will draw on the expertise of staff from across Whitechapel Gallery, as well as other industry leaders. Each course will focus on practical training and use current projects as case studies. The Art Fund are offering 50 bursaries to museum professionals on the following one-day courses (five places available on each):

- How to publish exhibition catalogues
- Writing for the exhibition
- How to fundraise – grants and foundations
- How to curate participatory art projects – schools and teachers
- How to curate with communities (to be held at MIMA, Middlesbrough)
- How to curate public events and performance
- Curating moving image
- How to curate an exhibition – touring exhibitions and partnerships
- How to create a communications campaign
- How to curate an exhibition – archive displays

Full price places usually cost £195. 
Applications close 5pmThursday 30 May 2019. Read more / apply here.

New Manager joins The Photographic Collections Network

Monday, April 29, 2019 - 12:45
Photo of Debbie Cooper on glass plate

Here at The Photographic Collections Network, we are delighted to announce the appointment of our new Manager. Debbie Adele Cooper takes up the role beginning in April 2019.

Debbie's work as a producer, project manager, curator, trainer and artist is widely known and respected in the photographic sector. She comes from Museums Sheffield, where she was fundraising manager, and previously was project manager and artist in residence at WW Winter Studio. She will continue her part time work as a producer for FORMAT Festival, Derby.

The appointment comes as the PCN enters a new phase of activity supported by Arts Council England (ACE). This second ACE grant allows us to deliver a significantly enhanced programme during 2019-20, focussing on strengthening the network, continuing our programme of events and knowledge sharing for anyone working with photo archives and collections, and building our advocacy and research work.

This appointment also marks the departure of Maura McKee who has co-ordinated PCN activities for the past 18 months, and Iona Griliopoulos, who has been responsible for PCN’s online content since mid 2018. Maura will continue her highly regarded collections-based learning and participation work at Interference Art. Iona continues as an online project manager and artist’s assistant.

Director of the PCN, Paul Herrmann, said: “This is a really exciting moment for the PCN - we have plans to build the organisation significantly over the next year to do what we can to tackle the urgent issues facing photo archives, and to celebrate the rich visual history reflected in myriad photographic collections across the UK. I’m looking forward to starting work with Debbie, and also want to give my huge thanks to Maura and Iona who have kept things rolling in recent months.”

Photo by Lucas Kao, taken during Debbie’s glass plate photography workshop at Street Level PhotoWorks Glasgow.

New Featured Collection & Blog: FORMAT 19 FOREVER//NOW & PCN Director Paul Herrmann on digital legacy

Monday, April 15, 2019 - 10:00

To coincide with this month's Featured Collection of images from FORMAT19 FOREVER//NOW, our members' blogpost this month features a talk given by our director, Paul Herrmann, at this year's festival in Derby. Paul discusses how, through the work of the PCN, some worrying patterns about the the issues people and organisations were facing specifically about digital work have begun to emerge:

"The early days of digital promised something amazing: using the power of the link, no less than an interconnected and interwoven visual story of our era; the idea of the photograph as a node in a living network. But the reality, and the early conclusion of our research, based on interviews and surveys, is that that might not happen. If we do nothing, we will get a very skewed digital legacy. How will we access today’s born-digital photography in 100 years’ time?
I’m going to talk about three areas - personal photography; small private archives belonging to photographers, galleries and SMEs, and larger public collections. They have different but overlapping problems. And I’ll finish with a few examples of where the problems are being tackled, and some suggestions...."

To read the rest of this blog post, members can log in.

For full access to this article + much more, and to support the work of the network, join now for just £25 per year (£20 conc).

Job Opportunity: Assistant Curator, Photography (Science Museum at Blythe House)

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 11:45

The Science Museum Group are currently seeking an Assistant Curator to join the Curatorial team at their storage facility at Blythe House. Over the next year, this candidate will work closely with the Lead Curator to review the Railway Museum's photography collections housed at Blythe House as well as working closely with the York Curators and Archivists to review the collection.

This candidate's responsible for assessing the collections, carrying out research and rationalization where needed, as well as preparing them for transport and rehousing at another site.

This role requires a candidate that has knowledge or experience of working with photography collections and of cataloguing or documenting collections. You will have excellent communication skills, a proactive and organised approach and the ability to work independently. You will also be able to communicate photographic history for non-specialist audiences, for example in articles or blogs. 

This role is available on a 12 month Fixed Term Contract basis.

Application closing date: 24/03/2019
Location: Science Museum at Blythe House - London
Salary: £21,000 per annum + benefits

Job Opportunity - Museum Development North West

Friday, March 15, 2019 - 13:30

Museum Development North West are looking to appoint a Programme Assistant who will provide administrative support to ensure the successful delivery of the Museum Development Programme funded by Arts Council England.

Museum Development North West (MDNW) exists to support museums across the North West. The programme is managed by the Manchester Partnership and Cumbria Museums Consortium. MDNW is funded by Arts Council England and responds to its ten-year strategy Great art and culture for everyone.

MDNW works with all of the North West’s museums and helps them to provide a high quality experience for visitors, to have well run organisations with skilled staff and to play an important role in young people’s education.

Key Responsibilities, Accountabilities or Duties:
Financial duties:
a) To undertake day to day financial administration in line with departmental procedures and the University of Manchester’s financial instructions.
b) To raise and process requisitions, invoices, claims from suppliers.
c) To maintain associated financial records as required in line with internal and external requirements against the programme budget using electronic or manual systems as required.
d) To ensure financial systems and records are accurate and kept up to date.
e) To undertake training as required in response to changes in procedures.

Administrative duties:
a) To book meeting venues and events, manage bookings, joining instructions and related travel arrangements when required.
b) Maintain computer databases and spreadsheets relating to work of the team.
c) Word processing and copy typing correspondence, reports and other documents.
d) To devise and maintain efficient procedures / systems for filing, work processing, office administration etc.
e) To support the team to report to Arts Council England through analysis of workshop and programme evaluation, data capture and collation in line with GDPR.
f) Support the administration of the MDNW blog and helping to keep it up to date.

Other duties:
a) Maintain MDNWs impact database.
b) Support museum development projects and events administratively.
c) Support the team directly with local administration procedures and systems.
d) Collect, collate and present programme data for the team in line with GDPR.
e) Undertake training as required.

The essential knowledge, skills and experience needed for this role are:
• GCSE or equivalent in maths and English
• Competent in IT
• Experience of Microsoft Office programmes, in particular Excel
• Experience in financial administration
• Must have a flexible approach to working
• Organised and methodical

Based at Manchester Museum (location negotiable)
Salary: £20,836 to £22,659 (pro rata) depending on experience
Contract type: Fixed-term ASAP until 31st March 2020; Part-time – 17.5 hours per week
Closing date: Midnight on Wednesday 27th March 
Click here find out more / apply.

South West Museum Development Programme Opportunity: Small Grant Big Improvement is open for applications!

Friday, March 1, 2019 - 11:45

South West Museum Development’s Small Grant Big Improvement scheme is back for 2019/20 and is now open for applications.

Grants of up to £1,000 are available to support museums to make improvements to their museums and/ or their museum’s activities in three areas aligned to the museum Accreditation Standard in Organisational Health, Collections managementand Users and their experiences. Partnership grants for 3 or more organisations of up to £7,000 are also available to support projects under Organisational Health and Users and their experiences.

Examples of appropriate appolications include governance reviews to collections care activities to marketing campaigns to testing new ways of working and more. This year, and for following rounds in our 2018-22 Programme,South West Museum Development are particularly welcoming applications that seek to improve representation of local communities within museums and through museum’s activities including co-production, embarking on outreach work, diversifying your volunteer workforce or re-interpreting your collections or anything else along these lines.

The scheme is now open for applications with a deadline of Friday 3 May 2019 for applications from museums in the South West within the Accreditation scheme in local authority areas which financially contribute to the South West Museum Development programme, excluding National Portfolio Organisations. All applications require 25% match funding and museums have a maximum of eight months to undertake their project (01 June 2019 – 31 January 2020).

For full information please see our Scheme Guidance and Application Form
Contact if you have questions and they be happy to discuss your project further.

Information courtesy of South West Museum Development.

Art Fund Opportunities

Friday, March 1, 2019 - 11:45

New Collecting Awards
Art Fund are now accepting applications for the fifth round of the New Collecting Awards, which offers 100% funding for curators to build or expand collections of fine art, design or visual culture. The programme aims to support curators in developing skills associated with researching and identifying acquisitions. Awardees receive a generous funding allocation towards research, travel and training costs and are matched up with a mentor.

There is £300,000 available in round 5, and with support from the Ruddock Foundation of the Arts, one award will be ringfenced for a curator planning to collect pre-1600 works as part of their project.

Applications close on Wednesday 24 April, and more information, including guidance for applicants, can be found here.

Jonathan Ruffer curatorial grants
This programme provides funding for travel and other practical costs to help museum professionals with collection and exhibition research projects and professional development. Art Fund have £75,000 to award annually, and this year they have changed the grant thresholds: individuals can now apply for grants of up to £2,000 at any time. Requests for above £2,000 will be considered at committee meetings twice a year.

The deadline for the first large grant meeting is Wednesday 20 March and more information, including guidance for applicants, can be found here.

Curatorial network grants
Art Fund are delighted to be launching a new fund to help Subject Specialist Networks (SSNs) and other curatorial networks develop and share knowledge, skills and resources. Art Fund have £150,000 available annually to support both established and emerging networks, with grants designed to be light-touch and responsive to need. There are two categories of grant: small grants (up to £5,000) can be applied for at any time, whilst large grants (over £5,000) will be considered at twice-yearly committee meetings.

The deadline for the first large grant meeting is Wednesday 24 April and more information on the programme and what Art Fund can support can be found here.

Infromation courtesy of Art Fund.

2019 Explore Your Archive Campaign

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 16:00

Image courtsey of Explore Your Archive

Explore Your Archive have launched this year's #ExploreYourArchive campaign, with daily hashtag themes during Launch Week as well as overall #ExploreYourArchive hashtag. 

Explore Your Archive is a year-round campaign, in which you are encouraged to freely use #ExploreYourArchive to accompany any campaign, activity or event that you are planning at any time. If using Explore Your Archive resources can help you promote your service, collection or work in the UK and Ireland in any way, the branding is yours to use.

See above for each month's suggested campaign and visit Explore Your Archive's website for more information.


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