Imperial War Museums prepare for ‘brave decisions’ about ‘fixed costs’

Posted: 05/10/2013 in free archaeology, Research
Tags: , , , ,

The Imperial War Museums (@I_W_M) are preparing to make ‘brave decisions’ to ‘achieve’ a ‘significant reduction’ in ‘fixed costs’. So, good luck to anyone and everyone currently employed by those decision-makers…

Privatisation of public services

Coping with ‘major cuts’, anticipating further (known) cuts of up to 15%, the Imperial War Museums have confirmed that they are planning to privatise their visitor services and security. Yet, if the Imperial War Museums’ Director-General Diane Lees ‘remain[s] confident that the funding gap [will] be closed by… fundraising’, why do they need to reduce their therefore still affordable costs at all?

Moreover, how will they manage to perform a ‘pivotal role’ in the First World War centenary commemorations? They certainly can’t reduce fixed building costs, because they’ve undertaken massive(ly expensive) refurbishment of their buildings precisely in order to be able to lead the commemorations. Perhaps privatisation of their services will lead to the exploitation of zero-hour contracts, as at so many other museums.

Cuts to wages, hours and/or jobs

Evidently, they already plan to reduce their expenditure on salaries from £19.1m in 2013-2014 to £18.8m in 2015-2016, so they must already plan either to impose direct cuts to employees’ income (whether through wages or through hours, which will be compounded by annual price rises of 2%-3%) or to make some workers redundant.

Unsurprisingly, the Imperial War Museums’ collective corporate plan is simultaneously to ‘sustain and build‘ on their existing voluntary workforce.

Visitor services’ volunteer workforce

As we know already, the Imperial War Museum North, at least, will survive and thrive by ‘improving futures‘, enabling ‘volunteering for wellbeing’, taking on so many volunteers that they will increase the entire IWM volunteer workforce (of around 1,000) by more than 20%…

The IWMN ‘aims to create a trained volunteer workforce to support [its] visitor welcome, the audience experience and access to our collections‘ – in other words, its visitor services…

  1. […] Imperial War Museums prepare for 'brave decisions' about 'fixed costs' […]

  2. mrhotpies says:

    Such is the closed shop here in Canada that one top-flight museum (publicly-funded) asks for those keen to “volunteer” to, in effect, pay for their work placement. This will be the next logical step in the UK I am sure.

    Meanwhile, rather than paying for swish interactive displays that are expensive and often ignored anyway, museums would be much better off getting back to basics and engaging with their artifacts in an imaginative way that captures the modern viewer’s imagination.

    However, I fear this will be impossible as the bureaucratisation of British museums is almost complete. Today, a manager who navigates the nonsense, hyperbole and double-speak, as underlined in your article above, is now more important than someone who knows the subject matter inside out and can communicate with the public.

    There will be a time, not long in the future now, when every person (other than management) in a major national museum will either be a volunteer or working for a private company. Were this to happen to the IWM, given its founding remit, it would be sad, sad day.

    • samarkeolog says:

      Yeah, we have pay-to-play volunteering too. It really does look like they want to voluntarise – to complete the voluntarisation of – the cultural heritage sector.

  3. […] Funding is only going to get cut, so labour problems are only going to grow. In parallel, due to geographical inequity in cultural funding and the economy, the cultural as well as economic north-south divide (or south-east-elsewhere chasm) is only going to grow. Here’s the first of four examples in a run-down (or perhaps grind-down) of the latest bad news for the cultural heritage industry in the UK. News that isn’t news […]

  4. […] Il ben noto sito (Un)Free Archaeology continua invece a collezionare storie e casi piuttosto eclatanti, tra cui quello dell’Imperial War Museum presente a Londra, Duxford e Manchester. […]

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