I won’t lie. It’s been a challenging year personally. But in the best tradition of those who are given lemons I’m delighted to have turned out a stronger business performance this year.
Packaging my income and expenditure records off to the accountant feels like a good moment to take stock.
2017-18 has again been testing for the cultural sector. But I’m pleased to have been able to provide clients with the thoughtful and responsive services that have contributed, in some small way, to ensuring that the best culture and creativity continues to be a reality.
Highlights of the past year include supporting the team at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery (RAMM) in Exeter to articulate the museum’s growing contribution to Arts Council England’s Creative Case for Diversity, as part of a successful bid for National Portfolio Organisation status. I can’t wait to see how their programme develops.
I’m thrilled also to be working on my home patch with the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon, as it embarks on an exciting extension project that will give the town the museum it deserves. Evaluating the accompanying activity plan is a delight.
And in a year when I’ve been happy to reconnect with old friends in Barnstaple, I’ve also been pleased to evaluate Muse: Makers in Museums, a project to engage communities with museums through 8 contemporary artist commissions, initiated by a former colleague now working for South West Heritage Trust.
I won’t forget, either, taking my first steps back into creative writing with the Arvon Foundation and securing an Arts Council funded TLC free read.
Moving into 2018-19, I’m looking forward to evaluating visitor experience in RAMM’s redeveloped Africa Galleries, which open in May. And I’m pleased to continue my Artistic and Quality Assessor work for Arts Council England for a fourth year. Having reported on some exciting exhibitions at galleries including Herbert Art Gallery in Coventry and Ikon in Birmingham in 2017-18, my first task for the coming year is to assess an exhibition by current Turner Prize winning artist Lubaina Himid at Harris Art Gallery in Preston. I can’t wait.
So here’s to another year of resilience, rebuilding and imagination.