Arts Council England funding dialogue 2016
Arts and cultural sector responses to the Arts Council’s funding proposals from 2018-22

BANDING THE NATIONAL PORTFOLIO

  • Generally, support for banding the National portfolio is strong, particularly regarding the potential reduction in administrative and reporting requirements placed on smaller organisations.
  • Stakeholders suggest reviewing and clarifying some of the terminology used around the National portfolio. There is concern that the different funding “bands” could denote or be interpreted as levels of importance and create a hierarchy. It was felt that “service organisations” could be better termed to capture the supportive and developmental role these organisations are perceived to play. Similarly, expectations of “leadership” are seen to be important across the whole sector, not just among organisations in receipt of higher levels of funding.

INTEGRATION OF THE ARTS, MUSEUMS AND LIBRARIES

  • There is overall support for the integration of funding for the arts, museums and libraries, particularly for the National portfolio and strategic funds. However, there are reservations about integration regarding Grants for the Arts funding, particularly if the amount of funding available remains constant.
  • Greater clarification on a number of areas would be welcomed, including application assessment criteria in an integrated landscape, and how the Arts Council is adapting to ensure that it is equipped to work with museums and libraries, which are perceived to be structurally different to arts organisations.

CHANGES TO GRANTS FOR THE ARTS

  • Most stakeholders support funding a wider range of art forms within Grants for the Arts.
  • There is a lot of interest, and some concern, around the funding of digital content and technology via Grants for the Arts. The majority of stakeholders raise questions over whether limits should be placed on the types of digital work funded, particularly for commercial projects.
  • Stakeholders identify the application process to be a further area where Grants for the Arts could be improved. Making the language more accessible and artist-friendly is seen as a priority for them, as is ensuring that the application process is accessible to young artists, disabled artists and those with lower literacy and writing skills.

MORE SUPPORT FOR INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS

  • The proposal for a separate budget line to fund individual artists is well-received, as stakeholders perceive artists and creatives (including those working in museums and libraries) to be vital to the success of the whole sector. Despite this, better infrastructure and support networks across the sector are perceived to be necessary to facilitate a move to support more artists and creatives.
  • There are queries around whether it is appropriate to focus funding and support on artists in the early stages of their career. Stakeholders believe that great art and culture can be produced at many different stages of a career, and that a “developmental leap” could be worth funding regardless of the artist’s career stage.

STRATEGIC FUNDS

  • There is broad agreement that the proposed strategic funds focus on valuable areas of investment, but that these areas should be tied more closely to the Arts Council’s strategic goals.
  • Stakeholders believe that increasing diversity within the arts and culture sector is a key priority and that this approach should also focus on socio-economic diversity rather than solely disabled and Black and minority ethnic groups.
  • Place-based investment is welcomed across the sector: it is perceived to offer real opportunities for sector development and to engage children and young people and harder-to-reach audiences.
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Date Published
7th September 2016
Client
Arts Council England
Methodology
ComRes hosted an online response form containing six open-ended questions, one covering each of the Arts Council’s proposals and one to capture broader views and overall feedback. The form was open to everyone and promoted via the Arts Council’s communications channels, receiving a total of 522 responses from 16 February to 24 March 2016. ComRes also facilitated six half-day events across England, each lasting four hours with stakeholders from across the Arts and Culture sector.

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