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Our Museum Special Initiative: An Evaluation

June 1, 2016

Our Museum: Communities and Museums as Active Partners was a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Special Initiative 2012 – 2016. The overall aim was to influence the museum and gallery sector to:* Place community needs, values and active collaboration at the core of museum and gallery work* Involve communities and individuals in decision-making processes* Ensure that museums and galleries play an effective role in developing community skills and the skills of staff in working with communitiesThis was to be done through facilitation of organisational change in specific museums and galleries already committed to active partnership with communities.Our Museum offered a collaborative learning process through which institutions and communities shared experiences and learned from each other as critical friends. Our Museum took place at a difficult and challenging time for both museums and their community partners. Financial austerity led to major cutbacks in public sector expenditure; a search for new business models; growing competition for funding; and organisational uncertainty and staff volatility. At the same time, the debate at the heart of Our Museum widened and intensified: what should the purpose of longestablished cultural institutions be in the 21st century; how do they maintain relevance and resonance in the contemporary world; how can they best serve their communities; can they, and should they, promote cultural democracy?

The Inventive Foundation: Creating New Ventures in Europe

May 14, 2014

This report explores the neglected topic of foundations' involvement in the creation of new organisations. In recent years much attention has been paid to venture philanthropy but there has been little focus on foundations as entrepreneurs creating new organisations and institutions.Based on interviews across Europe, the exploratory study tells nine stories of entrepreneurial, or inventive, foundations and their creations. It explores why foundations take the big and bold step of inventing something new, the processes, considerations and challenges along the way.The nine cases are very different in socio-political context, in purposes, and in scale. Despite these differences there are a number of common issues which all inventive foundations need to consider including how to let go while at the same time ensuring the future of their fledgling creation. The report does not tell foundations how to be inventive but rather highlights some of the issues they may wish to consider.