‘Hands off our treasures!’
Stealing art from Bradford’s Media Museum makes a mockery of ‘Northern Powerhouse’
A non-profit organisation in Bradford has slammed the Government’s decision to move an acclaimed photography collection from Bradford’s National Media Museum (NMM) to London.
On 31st January, a press release was issued by the museums, announcing that more than 400,000 objects from the NMM will be transferred to the V&A.
Photographs, cameras, books and manuscript material are set to be taken down south to join the V&A’s existing collection of 500,000 photographs to create an ‘International Photography Resource Centre’.
However, not everyone is pleased about this move.
‘Just West Yorkshire’ - a non-profit organisation that promotes racial justice, civil liberties and human rights in West Yorkshire - released a statement saying: “We consider the loss of such an important photography collection to be detrimental to both the NMM and the cultural richness of the North in general, and we are highly sceptical of National Media Museum's claim that the move is part of a ‘strategic shift’ to focus on science, technology and the culture of light and sound.
“The Royal Photographic Society has warned the transfer ‘will lead to a selective and narrow appreciation of photography’, without the important context of science and technology provided by the NMM.
“We consider this move will be to the detriment of photography in general, as we will be losing a single institution dedicated to photography.
“While we are sensitive to the funding constraints faced by NMM we believe that the photography collection is a part of our regional heritage and the decision to move it to London ought to have been the subject of a public consultation.
“We consider the decision to be yet another example of the inequitable concentration of economic and cultural capital in London and it demonstrates the absurdity of George Osborne's 'Northern Powerhouse' rhetoric, given the nexus between cultural capital and a region’s economy.”
Alice Jones wrote in the Independent: “Moving a jewel of its collection to the capital is unnecessary and incendiary. It emphasises the regional divide.
“It also makes a mockery of the Government’s Northern Powerhouse rhetoric. The north has artistic wonders of course...but London cannot be allowed to cherry-pick the best of it, to suck up culture and make it a purely metropolitan pleasure. Not least because the capital gives so little back to the regions.”