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Britain has a rich and varied cultural offering: it is known internationally for outstanding arts and heritage attractions, from world class museums, galleries and theatres, to heritage sites and attractions which are the focal point of local communities. Our national treasures range from old masters and West End shows, to contemporary dance and cutting-edge festivals. In the last Parliament, our predecessors considered the work of the Arts Council England, and concluded that there had been an arts funding imbalance in favour of London at the expense of tax payers and lottery players in other parts of the country. We wanted to follow up on this inquiry to examine how the culture sector throughout the country is coping with the current difficult economic situation.

Councils have been the unsung heroes of arts funding for decades. Town Halls across the nation are under unprecedented pressure to reduce budgets and deal with increased demands in areas such as social care, but even so our analysis shows the arts have been cut disproportionately in the last five years compared to council services overall (despite the fact that investment in the arts accounts on average for less than ½p in every £1 spent by local authorities in England).

A resource by the New Local Government Network about Local Authorities supporting local art and culture.

This toolkit was created in 2014 to highlight some of the challenges and opportunities of working more closely with Local Authorities.

Our focus on engaging MPs continues but this time with a focus on the local picture. This resource is about engaging your local MPs with top tips, step by step guidance and some useful key facts.

A 2017 publication from the Cultural Learning Alliance.

The knowledge, skill and experience made possible by the performing and visual arts, film, museums, libraries, heritage and exploring the built environment, are essential to young people’s development. Through cultural learning, young people are encouraged to explore other cultures, past and present, and inspired to contribute to the arts and culture of the future.

An ambition to achieve, throughout England, both equity in access to opportunities for participation and learning locally and excellence in training, production and presentation.

Understanding the value of art & culture presents the outcomes of the AHRC’s Cultural Value Project which looked at how we think about the value of the arts and culture to individuals and to society. This report sets out the often striking findings of the Project’s work. Some 70 original pieces of work collectively make up the Cultural Value Project – a mixture of new research, critical reviews of the literature and specialist workshops.

Local Government and Culture working together.

Joining the dots across sectors. Notes from a meeting that took place in December 2014

 

This document details the case for culture and the arguments, asks and priorities that the National What Next? movement presented to the Treasury in 2015 in the run up to the Spending Review.

 

This briefing from the Cultural Learning Alliance covers all aspects of the Department for Education’s English Baccalaureate consultation Nov 2015 -Jan 2016. It details the main arguments as to how the planned reforms affect the teaching and learning of the arts in schools, and links to evidence on the current picture.

 

This guide includes some simple ideas about how the arts, culture and creative industries can engage with the democratic process. It includes a ‘how to’ guide to holding a hustings in a cultural venue and ways to contact your MP.

It was produced by What Next? Young Vic in partnership with UK Theatre in 2015.

 

 

A useful guide for those who already chair, and those who would like to start a What Next? Chapter. Including the key principles of a What Next? meeting, a how-to-chair guide and a sample agenda for a first What Next? meeting.

Following a conversation at a What Next? meeting about the difficult situations cultural organisations can find themselves in when an action sparks controversy – for example, the presentation of a divisive piece of work, or a contentious sponsorship deal – What Next? has produced some practical guidance on ethics. The guidance responds to contributions from organisations across the UK to a What Next? survey on the subject of ethical and reputational challenges and is intended to help leaders meet such challenges with a greater sense of confidence.

“In working to sustain a thriving, vibrant and at times challenging cultural sector, there will be tricky decisions to make and the need to handle difference of opinion. In an increasingly complex world, the more that can be done to approach contention with courage and a zest for debate, the healthier our cultural and civic life. This guidance has been compiled to encourage bold, yet measured decision-making…”
Régis Cochefert, Director, Grants and Programmes, Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Many of the ideas in the document come from survey contributions and the content has been discussed and tested by an advisory group. It has been further informed by interviews across the sector and more widely. It does not attempt to offer definitive answers and every organisation will want to use it in different ways, taking and embedding what is useful to them. We hope the prompts and suggestions are useful and welcome feedback via email.

This toolkit will help you understand and engage with commissioning. Being commissioned provides an opportunity for the arts and cultural sector to deliver contracts for a whole range of public services whilst other funding is under increasing pressure. Commissioning is about identifying people’s needs and deciding how best to use the resources available to improve outcomes for communities.

The toolkit has been produced by Royal Opera House Bridge, Artswork and Kent County Council (KCC) for the UK cultural sector as providers, and the people who might commission them. It includes practical advice and learning from people and organisations in Kent who piloted commissioning for wellbeing in 2014.

Theatres are at the heart of our communities. Let’s shout about how much that matters. When our Councillors are taking tough decisions about how to spend our taxes, they need to know how much we value our local theatre’s work and role in the community. Let’s tell them – my theatre matters!

The 21st century presents us with huge challenges. How can we empower people to be active participants in creating a world we want to live in? In this extract from his annual RSA Chief Executive’s Lecture, Matthew Taylor offers a vision for the future – a world where every individual has the freedom and opportunity to develop their unique capabilities to the full.

The creative industries in the UK are booming and an increasingly important part of the economy, with growth outgunning that in finance and insurance and employment up by 5 per cent between 2013 and 2014 against a 2.1 per cent UK average. But the captains of industry who oversee the million-pound art sales, the publishing companies and the advertising conglomerates that returned £77 billion of direct GVA in 2012-2013 know that it is not just their business acumen that makes them a success story.

For the first time, top British entrepreneurs and business leaders, from Melanie Clore, chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, to Tom Weldon, CEO Penguin Random House, internet businesswoman Baroness Lane-Fox to Caroline Rush, CEO British Fashion Council, explain in this report why they see public investment in culture as crucial to what they do…

The Arts Council has commissioned a series of six monthly audio podcast magazine programmes exploring the innovative use of digital technology in the arts and cultural sector. The series is hosted by arts and culture broadcaster and journalist John Wilson. The podcasts feature discussion and debate from expert studio guests and pioneering case study examples of digital projects from the arts and cultural sectors.

Each programme in the series focuses on one of the themes at the core of the new Digital R&D Fund for the Arts:

  1. User generated content and social media
  2. Digital distribution and exhibition
  3. Mobile, location and games
  4. Data and archives
  5. Resources
  6. Education and learning

The 2015 Report by the Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value, a 12 month inquiry into how Britain can secure greater value from its cultural and creative assets.

A Right to Culture for Every Child is the manifesto document of the Cultural Learning Alliance (CLA).

“The right to culture for every child must be a cornerstone of our national cultural and educational policy. We must ensure equal access for all children and young people to quality arts, cultural and creative learning opportunities.

Nearly 25 years ago the world made a promise to children. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – to which the UK is a signatory – states that all nation signatories shall ‘respect and promote the right of the child to participate fully in cultural and artistic life and shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity’…”

50p for Culture is a National Campaign for the Arts (NCA) campaign to safeguard and increase local authority investment in arts, museums and heritage. We elect councillors to make tough decisions about where to spend our taxes. They have no obligation to spend on arts, museums and heritage so we need to tell them that’s important to us. The average net spend by local authorities is only 16p per person per week. For every £1 spent by local authorities in England less than half a penny is spent on culture. Take action – visit 50pforculture.org to see what your local council spends on the arts. Find tools and ideas and more.

Ahead of the Chancellor’s Spending Review in November 2015, What Next? wants to make sure we reach as many MPs as possible to tell them about the impact further cuts to our sector will have. We hope that artists, audiences, organisations and individuals will write to their local MP to request a meeting, either at a constituency surgery, at an arts centre or even over the phone, to discuss the importance of culture in the local community and what will be lost with further cuts to arts and local government budgets. We want to tell our story in a way that resonates with MPs, especially Tory MPs, and that will help them understand our concerns quickly. That’s why we’ve come up with the hashtag #Arts4Britain.

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