Below is a statement about changes at Hampshire Cultural Trust (HCT).
Hampshire Cultural Trust (HCT) was set up as an independent charity in 2014 to promote Hampshire as a great cultural county and to secure the future of museums previously operated by Hampshire County Council and Winchester City Council.
Our key objective is to deliver a great cultural offer for local people that enriches the lives as many people as possible across Hampshire, while delivering good value for public money. In our first three years, we have refurbished two local museums and curated exhibitions that have attracted local, national and international visitors and profile. Our ‘better life chances’ programme has brought arts and culture to those who are vulnerable or disadvantaged. Our commercial activities have strengthened our financial resilience to help build a sustainable future.
When HCT was established, planned reductions in local authority funding were also agreed. Our funding for 2018/19 onwards will reduce by around £450,000. Consequently, we have to make changes in the way we operate to accommodate this, and at the same time continue to deliver the great work we have started and to build upon it.
Our current restructure is all about ensuring our resources are focused on delivering great and engaging cultural experiences for a wide audience, bringing our collections to life and making their stories accessible. This is why we are bringing curatorial and exhibition development responsibilities together and locating these posts within teams that are focused on Winchester, Milestones and Basing House, Community Museums and developing cultural facilities in Basingstoke and Gosport.
It is also about expanding our community links and re-enforcing our roots in local communities, helping to make a difference to people’s lives through inspirational arts and museums experiences. We are increasing the number of posts looking after our community museum venues, and the accompanying ‘better life chances’ programme will support wider social agendas around education, skills development and wellbeing. We will also invest more in supporting local regeneration plans that will re-energise town and city centres.
Our collections will be at the heart of all these developments. The local teams will be supported by a central collections management and care team, which will include a full-time collection manager, a curatorial liaison manager, 3 full-time conservators, an exhibition designer, and technical and assistant support.
Our wonderful team of over 400 volunteers who work across our venues and make things happen, will be supported by a member of staff responsible for their development and support. In addition, all HCT venues will now benefit from greater investment in digital and increased fundraising support.
These changes represent an exciting shift in focus for HCT that places communities, collections and stories at the heart of the experience we create for and with our audiences, leading to rich and engaging experiences for our customers, and a secure future for the management and stewardship of our collections.
Dr Janet Owen