Today (10 May 2022) People’s History Museum (PHM) in Manchester has been announced as one of five museums selected as finalists for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2022. The largest museum prize in the world, Art Fund Museum of the Year celebrates the innovation and creativity of the UK’s museums and galleries.
Katy Ashton, Director at People’s History Museum, says, “We are absolutely delighted to be shortlisted for Museum of the Year 2022, which is such amazing recognition of the brilliant work of the whole museum team. I’ve always been incredibly proud of our museum and truly believe there is something very special about PHM and the work it does in collaboration with communities; celebrating people’s stories, sharing our collections, bringing people together and playing an important role as a space for social action and change.”
Bernard Donoghue, Chair of People’s History Museum, says, “This is a huge honour and means so much to our staff, volunteers, supporters and stakeholders. As an activist and campaigning museum we live our values and take inspiration from our collection and the stories they tell. We are about ‘ideas worth fighting for’ and that’s never felt more relevant or urgent than now. We are very grateful for this recognition; it will spur us to provide more opportunities for individuals and communities to tell their stories and inspire change.”
Alongside People’s History Museum the shortlist is made up of Horniman Museum and Gardens (London), Derby Museums, Museum of Making (Derby), The Story Museum (Oxford) and Tŷ Pawb (Wrexham).
Art Fund Museum of the Year in 2022 particularly champions organisations whose achievements tell the story of museums’ creativity and resilience, and particularly focuses on those engaging the next generation of audiences in innovative ways. For People’s History Museum this is reflected in its work with communities and individuals; exploring hidden stories, giving space to unheard voices and nurturing authentic content. Often co-curating its programmes, these lead on contemporary issues that challenge inequality and are approached with a vision for a fairer society where people’s voices and actions make a difference.
In 2021 PHM delivered one of its most ambitious programmes of activity, exploring Migration as its headline theme. A Community Programme Team, made up of people with lived experience of migration, were recruited to work alongside the museum’s Programme Team to develop the innovative and creative programme which was designed to challenge narratives around migration and the role migrants have played in shaping activism and rights in the UK.
A combination of family trails, a Passport Trail, artist workshops, interventions and a calendar of events all form part of the outcome. In Migration: a human story the Community Programme Team brought new stories to the museum and looked at those it already tells through the lens of migration creating impactful visitor experiences.
PHM is also a museum that encourages people to take a stand on issues, and that uses its own voice to unite with those sharing its belief in a caring community and society. In recent months it has stood Together With Refugees, and the international development charities, refugee groups and cultural organisations that make up the coalition, to campaign against the Nationality and Borders Bill.
As the national museum of democracy, PHM’s collection features significant historic and contemporary objects, banners, posters and photographs that all help to tell of the ongoing struggle for equity and equality by workers, reformers, voters, revolutionaries and citizens. Many key moments have taken place in Manchester and visitors will see these stories in the galleries; the Peterloo Massacre, the suffragettes and the fight for LGBT+ rights amongst them.
The decision on the winning museum will be made by a judging panel chaired by Art Fund Director Jenny Waldman, which includes: Dame Diane Lees, Director-General, Imperial War Museums; Harold Offeh, artist and educator; Dr Janina Ramirez, cultural historian and broadcaster and Huw Stephens, BBC Radio 6 DJ and broadcaster.
Jenny Waldman, Director, Art Fund, says, “An abundance of applications to be Art Fund Museum of the Year 2022 shows the creativity and resilience of museums right around the country, despite the immense challenges of the last two years. The five superb finalists are all museums on a mission who are tackling the vital issues of today – from combating the climate emergency to improving literacy or exploring migration – and reaching diverse communities as they do so. Each is working hard to encourage the next generation to get involved, both to inspire them and to equip them with essential skills.”
The winning museum will be announced at a ceremony at the Design Museum in London on Thursday 14 July 2022 and will receive £100,000. The other four shortlisted museums will each receive £15,000 in recognition of their achievements.
For further information about Art Fund Museum of the Year 2022 visit artfund.org/museum-of-the-year.
For further information about People’s History Museum visit phm.org.uk. PHM’s opening hours are Wednesday to Sunday, from 10.00am to 4.00pm. The museum and its exhibitions are free to visit with a suggested donation of £5.
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Notes to editors:
People’s History Museum
People’s History Museum (PHM) in Manchester is the national museum of democracy. It shares stories about the struggle for equity and equality, celebrates radical history and provides space to explore contemporary issues through marginalised voices. PHM’s vision is of a fairer society where people’s voices and actions make a difference and its mission is to encourage people to care more about community and society, to speak up and take a stand on the issues that matter to them.
PHM is more than a museum about campaigning; it is a museum that campaigns, using its voice to encourage people to take action to bring about positive change.
PHM offers a powerful programme that it co-creates with communities with lived experience; 2018 looked at representation and commemorated 100 years since some women and all men won the right to vote in Britain, in 2019 the focus was on protest to mark the bicentenary of the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester, the 2020-2021 programme explored the theme of migration and in 2022 disabled people’s rights and activism is the headline theme.
PHM is incredibly grateful for the support of all its funders and stakeholders. PHM is an Arts Council England (ACE) National Portfolio Organisation (NPO). The work of PHM is supported using public funding by ACE, the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. PHM is funded by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) Culture Fund, supporting organisations to provide cultural activity and to work with, and in communities, across Greater Manchester.
Previous winner of Kids in Museums Family Friendly Museum Award. One of the 2020-1 winners of the Activist Museum Award. Shortlisted as Art Fund Museum of the Year 2022 (announcement to be made Thursday 14 July 2022).
Art Fund Museum of the Year
THE 2022 JUDGING PANEL:
Jenny Waldman (Chair)
Formerly Director of 14-18 NOW, the UK’s official arts programme for the First World War Centenary, Jenny joined Art Fund as Director in May 2020. At 14-18 NOW she oversaw a programme of commissions of over 100 new works from leading UK and international contemporary artists including Jeremy Deller, Peter Jackson, John Akomfrah, William Kentridge, Susan Philipsz, Yinka Shonibare CBE and Rachel Whiteread. Prior to this she was Creative Producer of the London 2012 Festival and Public Programmes Consultant to Somerset House Trust. Jenny is Chair of Trustees of Artangel and a member of the Barbican Centre Board. She was awarded a CBE in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to the arts.
Dame Diane Lees
Since October 2008, Diane Lees has served as Director-General of the Imperial War Museums. She has worked on some of the most challenging and exciting projects in the country, including recovery and display of the Mary Rose flagship in Portsmouth Harbour and the redisplay of the Nelson Galleries at the Royal Naval Museum. She project-managed the creation of the UK standard for the recording of information about museum collections (SPECTRUM) and was responsible for the creation of the only museum of law in the country, the multi-award-winning Galleries of Justice in Nottingham. She is the Vice-President of the American Air Museum in Britain and The Gerry Holdsworth Special Forces Trust. Lees was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list in January 2015 and a DBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list in January 2022 for services to museums.
Harold Offeh is an artist working across performance, video, photography, learning and social arts practice. He is interested in the space created by the inhabiting or embodying of histories. He employs humour as a means to confront the viewer with historical narratives and contemporary culture. Offeh has exhibited widely including at Tate Britain and Tate Modern, South London Gallery, Wellcome Collection, Kettle’s Yard, Wysing Art Centre, Studio Museum Harlem, MAC VAL, France, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Denmark and Art Tower Mito, Japan. Recent commissions include a new video work exploring the redemptive power of joy through social dance for On Happiness at the Wellcome Collection, and a children’s play area for Bluecoat Contemporary Art Centre, Liverpool. Offeh lives and works in Cambridge and London. He is a Tutor in Contemporary Art Practice at the Royal College of Art, London. In 2019, he was a recipient of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Artists, the largest award of its kind in the UK.
Dr. Janina Ramirez
Dr Janina Ramirez is a presenter, lecturer and researcher. She specialises in interpreting symbols, and examining art works within their historical context. Following a degree in English Language and Literature at St Anne’s College, Oxford, Nina went to the prestigious Centre for Medieval Studies in York. Here she completed an MA and PhD on birds in Anglo-Saxon
art and literature. She has published widely on medieval art and literature, and has taught and researched across a broad chronological sweep, covering everything from the sculptures of antiquity to post-modern architecture. Her experience also stretches beyond the world of art, having lectured in archaeology, history, literature and language. She has worked on a number of documentaries for BBC4. These have included ‘Saints & Sinners: Britain’s Millennium of Monasteries’, ‘Illuminations: The Private Lives of Medieval Kings’ and ‘Chivalry & Betrayal: The Hundred Years War’. She is a passionate and enthused academic driven by a desire to share ideas
Huw Stephens, BBC Radio 6 DJ and broadcaster
Huw Stephens is a presenter, dj and host. He joined BBC Radio 1 at 17, becoming the youngest ever Radio 1 DJ. He has broadcast live from Glastonbury, Reading Festival, Sonar, South by South West, Eurosonic on BBC Radio 1, as well as live from Radio 1’s own Teen Awards and Big Weekend. His passion for new music has meant he has been the first to champion countless new artists early on. He has contributed to BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 4, 6Music and presented on BBC Radio Wales, and presents regularly on the BBC World Service. Huw is the founder of the Swn Festival in Cardiff, Wales’ premier new music festival. He curates the Lake Stage at Latitude Festival, comperes the main stage at Reading Festival, and has dj’d and curated at Green Man Festival, Festival no 6, Bestival, T in the Park and Glastonbury. Huw presents a weekly show on BBC Radio Cymru playing new artists from Wales and the world. He champions new music and dj’s at the Eisteddfod, the National Festival of Wales. He founded two record labels; Boobytrap and Am Records, and has released two compilations on Wichita Recordings named Music Sounds Better With Huw.
Art Fund Museum of the Year
Art Fund has supported Museum of the Year since 2008. Its forerunner was the Prize for Museums and Galleries, administered by the Museum Prize Trust and sponsored by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation from 2003-2007. The prize champions what museums do, encourages more people to visit and gets to the heart of what makes a truly outstanding museum. The judges present the prize to the museum or gallery that has shown how their achievements of the preceding year stand out, demonstrated what makes their work innovative, and the impact it has had on audiences.
Winners 2008 – 2021:
2008 – The Lightbox, Woking
2009 – Wedgwood Museum, Stoke-on-Trent
2010 – Ulster Museum, Belfast
2011 – British Museum
2012 – Royal Albert Memorial Museum
2013 – William Morris Gallery, London
2014 – Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield
2015 – Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester
2016 – Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), London
2017 – The Hepworth, Wakefield
2018 – Tate St Ives
2019 – St Fagans National Museum of History, Cardiff
2020 – Aberdeen Art Gallery; Gairloch Museum; Science Museum; South London Gallery; and Towner Eastbourne.
2021 – Firstsite, Colchester
About Art Fund
Art Fund is the national fundraising charity for art. It provides millions of pounds every year to help museums to acquire and share works of art across the UK, further the professional development of their curators, and inspire more people to visit and enjoy their public programmes. In response to Covid-19 Art Fund made £3.6 million in urgent funding available to support museums through reopening and beyond, including Respond and Reimagine grants to help meet immediate need and reimagine future ways of working. A further £2 million has been made available in 2021 for Reimagine projects. Art Fund is independently funded, supported by Art Partners, donors, trusts and foundations and the 130,000 members who buy the National Art Pass, who enjoy free entry to over 240 museums, galleries and historic places, 50% off major exhibitions, and receive Art Quarterly magazine. Art Fund also supports museums through its annual prize, Art Fund Museum of the Year. The winner of Art Fund Museum of the Year 2021 is Firstsite in Colchester. www.artfund.org