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Who we are

The South East Museums Development Programme (SEMDP) is led by a Consortium consisting of Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton and Hove (the lead partner), the Hampshire Cultural Trust, the Oxfordshire County Museums Service, and Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust. It was formed in 2012 to manage the first tranche of Arts Council England museum development funding in the South East, and has successfully delivered a challenging programme of activity between 2012 and 2015.

The Arts Council has renewed its commitment to museum development for the period 2015-2018, and has awarded the Consortium £1,575,000 to deliver museum development support to the region’s museums over that period, whilst supporting the Arts Council England’s five strategic goals outlined in Great Art and Culture for Everyone.

The Consortium meets quarterly as the Museum Development Coordination Group (MDCG) to review and monitor progress, assess risks and issues, identify opportunities, approve budgets, and reports the impact of the programme back to Arts Council England via the regional Relationship Manager, Museums.

What we do

Museum Development aims to be a leading source of professional support enabling the region’s museums to evolve and flourish. Through raising ambition, driving excellence and building resilience, our vision is a community of vibrant and dynamic of museums that celebrate our diverse cultural heritage.

We will challenge museums to be more imaginative and creative, and to develop a clearer understanding of their purpose as golden threads running through all museum development. In particular, we will focus our work around four key themes:

  • Active Collections: Excellent practice in collections management care, access and interpretation
  • Great Experiences: Effective communication of a multi-faceted offer, providing real life-long learning, engaging diverse communities and contributing to social agendas
  • Better Business: Enterprising and income savvy, building relevant fundraising with a mature approach to finance management
  • Strong Leadership: Pro-active leaders, developing a diverse and skilled workforce, addressing succession planning through continual improvement

The themes were developed through consultation with representatives from the sector through a variety of methods. They link to and support Arts Council England’s five strategic goals as outlined in Great Art and Culture for Everyone.

The programme's regional priorities are delivered sub-regionally, with each team providing support and advice based on local needs.  To see what's going on in your area, click on a link in the left hand column, or contact your local MDO.

Download SEMDP___Business_Plan_2015_18.pdf...

Looking ahead to 2018-22

On Tuesday 4th October 2016, the Arts Council England released guidance for its new National Portfolio Organisations funding.  For 2018-22, Museum Development will be part of this framework under the title of a Specialist Support Organisation, similar to the Bridge Organisations.

The South East Museum Development Consortium will be submitting a bid to Arts Council England to continue providing Museum Development in the region.