Who We Are

The South East Museums Development Programme (SEMDP) is led by a consortium consisting of Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton and Hove (the lead partner), the Hampshire Cultural Trust, the Oxfordshire County Museums Service, and Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust.  It was formed in 2012 to manage the first tranche of Arts Council England museum development funding in the South East, has successfully delivered a challenging programme of activity between 2012-15, and is now in its second tranche of funding covering 2015-18.

The consortium meets quarterly as the Museum Development Co-ordination Group (MDCG) to review and monitor progress, assess risks and issues, identify opportunities, approve budgets, and reports the impact of the programme back to Arts Council England via the regional Relationship Manager for Museums.

The programme delivers museum development and Accreditation support to the region’s museums to support the Arts Council England’s five strategic goals outlined in ‘Great Art and Culture for Everyone’.  The programme’s regional priorities were identified and refined through a comprehensive consultation process with our client museums and key stakeholders, and are delivered through regional initiatives, and through sub-regional teams covering Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Hampshire and Solent, Kent and Medway, and Surrey and Sussex, with each team providing support and advice based on local needs.

What We Do

The South East Museum Development Programme aims to be a leading source of professional support enabling the region’s museums to evolve and flourish.  Through raising ambition, driving excellence and building resilience, our vision is a community of vibrant and dynamic of museums that celebrate our diverse cultural heritage.

Our mission is to foster museums to implement transformation change and work in ways that are more sustainable.  We will direct our efforts towards supporting collaborative, peer-to-peer models of delivery and to supporting the significant culture change required to make this sustainable for the future.

Our programme adapts to the evolving needs of our museums as they face change, and we work to provide targeted support to museums undergoing major upheavals, to support them in securing the future of key heritage assets and managing change effectively.  We work to ensure that the South East’s museums play their part in the economic regeneration of our region. Towns, cities and areas that offer a vibrant cultural mix are better able to compete not just for tourism visits but also for talent and inward investment, encouraging creative innovative people to live, work, study and locate their businesses. Museums are assets that enable people to understand and enhance local distinctiveness, pride and identity. Their collections, their spaces and the experiences that they offer are uniquely positioned to contribute to place shaping, health and wellbeing.

Image: Pupils from St Deny’s school during a museums  ‘takeover’ day discuss ‘old’ style photography with photographic curator Mandy Schaller © National Motor Museum Trust