CCI Professor Dr. Jamie Larkin was at a unique position at the beginning of the pandemic. From 2016 to 2018 Larkin was part of a UK project that was working to create a database of all the museums that have existed in the UK since 1960. The goal of this project was to use the data produced to do all kinds of modeling for the sector, such as examine how it has developed and the various trends that have taken place since. On March 15, 2020 the team was set to launch the database to the public with a big event at the London Transport Museum -- and that same day the UK closed due to COVID-19.
Due to the state of the world, the team decided to hold off on press for the project, and while waiting they realized a new opportunity had opened up to them: They had a snapshot of the sector leading right up to March 2020 and were in the perfect position to examine the effect of Coronavirus on the museum sector in the UK. They had all the data prior to the shutdown, so they planned to use that in comparison to the developing data. They put a new proposal in to continue work on the project in this new direction and successfully received additional funding in December of 2020.
Going forward they plan to use the database that they’ve created and the software they developed to identify museums that are under pressure or at risk of closure. Currently within the UK cultural sector, a lot of the information surrounding the struggles and even closures that museums are facing doesn't always penetrate through to the organizations that can help with these problems. The hope is that with the help of the database, museums and those with the means to help them, will be more easily connected, helping to contribute to the overall longevity and vitality of the sector.
To read more about the project and Dr. Larkin’s work read the full article below!