UMIS | University Museums in Scotland

Minutes of Committee Meeting held on 29th June 2006 in the Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow

Present: Evelyn Silber (Glasgow, Convenor), David Hopes (St Andrews), Matthew Jarron (Dundee), Justin Parkes (Robert Gordon), Ewen Smith (Glasgow), Peter Trowles (Glasgow School of Art)

In attendance: Jilly Burns (NMS)

1. Apologies
Ian Carradice (St Andrews), Neil Curtis (Aberdeen)

In the absence of Neil Curtis, Peter Trowles took the minutes.

2. Minutes of previous meeting
The minutes of the committee meeting on 30th March 2006 were approved.

3. Matters arising
COSLA: Evelyn Silber (ESil) had written to COSLA regarding Cultural Entitlement. She had emphasised to COSLA that most UMIS members supported local schools and the wider local community but few if any received any form of direct funding, or support of any kind, from the local authorities themselves. ESil had received a reply from COSLA's Policy Manager informing her of a future Stakeholder event where UMIS members could be represented and where they had an opportunity to put their case.

Knowledge Transfer: Ewen Smith (ES) reported on the dispersal of funds under the Knowledge Transfer scheme. As previously reported, the allocation of 500,000 had been spread very thinly across the sector. GU had received 53,000 as part of its Cultural Engagement commitment but this had been split between 13 faculties and as a result it was unclear as to how effective this would be. There was still no clear strategy in place for future funding. Other UMIS members reported that they too where unaware of how and where there own institution's share of the Knowledge Transfer money had been allocated.

i. All UMIS members to identify where their own institution's allocation of Knowledge Transfer funds had been earmarked.
ii. ESil to phone Judith Henderson at SFC to enquire as to whether there would be any correspondence/circulars relating to future strategies for this money?

SFC Museums, Galleries and Collections Grant ESil presented a data summary containing financial information provide by most grant-receiving UMIS members although she was still waiting on figures from GSA and Heriot Watt. She highlighted the difficulty in get honest, across-the-board costs. This was because different institutions used different financial models - some worked to direct staff costs per individual, others on more indirect occupancy/estate costs. Although far from an exact science this data would provide valuable figures to be used in conjunction with the Open Doors to Learning document.

4. Arrangements for 2006 Conference
Patricia Ferguson, Minister of Culture, Tourism and Culture had been invited to address the conference. Unfortunately, due to prior commitments, she was unable to do so but had intimated that she would be willing to write an introductory piece for the conference brochure. The Minister would also be visiting the Hunterian (probably in August) and there was scope for possible involvement with one or two other committee members in putting across the role/significance of UMIS.

For the conference itself, Matthew Jarron (MJ) reported that he had received around nine submissions/suggestions so far - but as yet, no confirmed participation from a UMIS member! There had been some unforeseen delay in getting the Conference widely advertised and MJ was hopeful that one or two additional papers might be presented, albeit after the initial deadline. If this happened there would still be a possibility that the Conference would extend to a second day.

5. NMS Strategy for National Working
Jilly Burns (JB) highlighted the benefit of the consultation process so far and updated the group on how NMS intended to interact with the wider museum community in the future. [A hand out was made available]. The discussion moved on to the role of science collections at NMS. There was concern that the collecting policies of NMS and UMIS members (with a scientific responsibility) might be unnecessarily duplicated. JB suggested a possible visit to NMS for anyone interested in meeting up with the museum's science/communications staff which could only lead to a more enhanced, open dialogue.

6. News Highlights
MJ encouraged members to provide him with copy for the website.

Glasgow: ES reported on the death of Prof Frank Willett former director of the Hunterian. ES also updated those present on the University's involvement with two World Heritage bids - the Antonine Wall and Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

St Andrews: David Hopes explained that fundraising for the new University Museum was now well under way. Meanwhile, this summer's exhibition in the Gateway Galleries would be on Modern Scottish Art.

Robert Gordon: Justin Parkes was delighted that Robert Gordon had rejoined UMIS; the timing being apt as the University was pursuing Museum Accreditation in 2007. The current exhibition (until September) was Hidden Treasures, ceramics from the permanent collection.

Dundee: MJ reported on a recent fine art 'partnership exhibition' with the RSA in Edinburgh. There were also two medical exhibitions, Images of Medical Science and Pills and Potions (on show at Ninewells Hospital). The Zoological collections were also moving and their new location (on campus) should enhance future public access

Glasgow School of Art: The School's HLF (Phase 2) application would be submitted in July with the outcome known in November. In partnership with The Lighthouse in Glasgow, GSA had already been successful with a smaller Lottery bid for the Gillespie Kidd and Coia architectural archive. Together with the Hunterian and Glasgow Museums, GSA was also likely to receive a share of the important Stoddarts textile/carpet archive and alongside a host of other Glasgow partners was also involved in the forthcoming Mackintosh Festival.

7. AOB

8. Date of next meeting

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