Museums and universities teaming up to score shared rewards
In the autumn of 2012, Arts Council England funded University College London [UCL], the University of Arts London [UAL], and the London Museums Group [LMG] to investigate how those working in museums and universities could effectively team up in order to reap the rewards of collaborative partnership. With just six months to find out what kinds of collaborative work was already taking place across the sectors, identify new projects to launch, and provide practical guidance on our findings – we got off to a prompt start. From the outset the project team were aware of the big issues that affect grassroots work, such as the scarcity of funding across the cultural sector and higher education, the perceived inequalities in status, power and resources between museums and universities, and punishing schedules that make forging new working relationships a luxury rather than common practice. However, in a climate of funding cuts and demoralisation amongst the arts and culture, pooling resources and expertise seemed not only desirable but vital, and as far as our project was concerned, the opportunity to help bridge the divide between these two different but deeply connected sectors was hugely exciting.