BBC partners with museums, galleries and libraries across the UK to launch a major cultural initiative - The Civilisations Festival

Working with partners right across the country, the Civilisations Festival will see Clark's original question addressed in a range of ways by museums, libraries, galleries - and their communities - throughout the UK.Jonty Claypole, Director of Arts, BBC
Date: 16.11.2017     Last updated: 16.11.2017 at 14.35
Category: BBC Arts; Corporate
The BBC is inviting UK museums, galleries and libraries to become Civilisations Festival Partners - hosting events that will spark debate, broaden understanding and share ideas about what the term ‘civilisation’ means for their communities. Events can range from debates and speeches to performances and workshops - all based around items in their collections.
  • BBC invites UK museums, galleries and libraries to become Civilisations Festival Partners - hosting events which explore what the term ‘civilisation’ means to their local communities
  • Over 700 pieces of BBC television and radio archive will be made available to partner organisations - Civilisations Festival Partners will be able to use this material at their events for free
  • Digital technology, newly developed by the BBC is on offer to Civilisations Festival Partners - including an augmented reality app, allowing audiences to explore items from their collections in real world settings
  • A BBC Two commission will tell the most compelling stories behind art and artefacts in UK museums libraries and galleries
  • BBC is working in partnership with Art Fund, which is offering £10,000 in grants to Civilisations Partners, to programme or enhance their events

The Festival will take place from Friday 2 to Sunday 11 March, to coincide with the spring launch of BBC Two’s landmark nine-part Civilisations series, presented by Simon Schama, Mary Beard and David Olusoga. Inspired by Kenneth Clark’s BBC series Civilisation from 1969, this bold new series will explore the role that art and the creative imagination have played in the forging of humanity itself, and will introduce a new generation to works of beauty and ingenuity.

The UK-wide partnership between the BBC and its Civilisations Partners will be brought together in collaboration with the Museums Association, the Association of Independent Museums, the National Museums Directors’ Council, the Society of Chief Librarians, the Scottish Library and Information Council. Art Fund is offering £10,000 in grants to Civilisations Partners, to enhance their potential to create ambitious and creative events.

Jonty Claypole, Director of Arts, BBC says: “In 1969, Kenneth Clark launched his iconic television series with the question: 'What is civilisation?' Fifty years on, it remains as urgent as ever, cutting to the heart of our beliefs and values as individuals, Great Britons and citizens of the world. As well as hearing from some of today's greatest historians of art and society in BBC Two’s landmark series Civilisations, we want to encourage the widest possible range of responses. Working with partners right across the country, the Civilisations Festival will see Clark's original question addressed in a range of ways by museums, libraries, galleries - and their communities - throughout the UK. What is civilisation? What part do we play in it? And how do we make it better?”

Stephen Deuchar, Director, Art Fund, says, “It's often said that museums are spaces where we may begin to understand our place in the world. So we're pleased to be collaborating with the BBC's Civilisations Festival to help curators highlight objects in their collections that they feel have particular resonance for their audiences today.”

The BBC will provide partners with Civilisations Festival branding as well as access to over 700 pieces of BBC television and radio archive relating to civilisations, for use at events. Working in partnership with Culture24, all events will be listed by organisers on Museum Crush, so that audiences can discover the events taking place in their area.

BBC Two will broadcast fascinating stories behind the art and artefacts in UK museums, libraries and galleries, giving insight into how people have reflected their own identity and culture through items in their local collections and discovering what these items - and how they arrived in Britain - tell us about where we live and the wider world.

In addition, BBC Research & Development is giving Civilisations Festival partners the opportunity to find new ways of telling stories and enhance their legacy, by experimenting with newly developed digital technology. Partners will be able to create interactive 360 video experiences, encourage their visitors to create their own User Generated Content, create visually compelling historical timelines and more.

Partners will be able to test content they create on their own websites, as well as the BBC’s Taster platform - which is designed to push new digital boundaries and reach the widest possible audience. With support from partners across the sector and the BBC’s Research and Development department, Civilisations Festival Partners have the opportunity to create 3D scans of artefacts - which will be curated in an augmented reality app – so that audiences can view, explore and discover these items in their homes and other real world settings, using their smartphones and tablets.

Over 100 organisations have signed up to be Civilisations Festival Partners to date. Organisations can sign up to become Civilisations Festival Partners here.

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