Taking the long term view – Maurice Davies
‘The wonderfully named Wellbeing of Future Generations Act requires public organisations to consider the long-term implications of their decisions for people and places, culture and communities. It aims to encourage people to think harder about the future and to consider the triple bottom line of environment and society as well economy. In fact, with its interest in culture it could even be seen as promoting a quadruple bottom line approach to decision making in which organisations consider cultural impact alongside economic, social and environmental impacts.
The Act was described by one minister as “the most ambitious piece of legislation that the … government has ever attempted. It will require a fundamental shift in how we seek to tackle our biggest challenges as a nation.” It’s already been used to question proposed government expenditure on upgrading motorways and the details of investment in new manufacturing plants.
With its focus on the long-term and interest in more than money, the Act is a good fit with museums and a report recently published by the Happy Museum Project shows how the seven goals in the Act can inform the work of museums. It supports things such as improving access, supporting local makers, reducing energy use, increasing wellbeing for vulnerable people and being more activist.
So why haven’t you heard much about the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act: there’s the catch, it applies only in Wales. But that’s no reason why your museum shouldn’t think about how it could influence your decisions and the way you work.’
To get started look at the Happy Museum Report Welsh museums and the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act
Maurice Davies – Head of Collections, Royal Academy of Arts and Trustee of Happy Museum