What is What Next?

(top) Bourgeois & Maurice – Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2014. Photo: Chris Taylor. (bottom) City Textures, Abby McFaul and Stef Kalife, 2015. Photo: Gorm Ashurst

What Next? is a movement bringing together arts and cultural organisations from across the UK, to articulate, champion and strengthen the role of culture in our society.

We want to work collaboratively to build alliances outside of the cultural sector, build relationships with local and national government and engage the public in new and different conversations about the arts.

What Next? is an experiment. We are not constituted and strive to remain non-hierarchical, open and responsive to best meet the needs of our chapter attenders. We aim to be responsive to the changing climate and the ideas of everyone who gets involved.

The power of the movement is in its people who voluntarily come together and collectively take action around issues that affect everyone. No one is part of What Next? for their own individual agenda but for the issues and challenges that face us all.

We have developed key relationships with local and national government and we work closely with national bodies such as the Cultural Learning Alliance, Arts Council and Creative Industries Federation.

Everyone is encouraged to get involved with What Next? by joining your local chapter, setting up a new chapter or following the movement on social media.


  • Art is as complex as we are. It is hard for any one of us, artist or not, to understand who we are and what we genuinely do and art, which comes out of this creative chaos, reflects our situation and helps us recognise its variations, how we connect and disconnect with other people, places and ideas.
    Siobhan davies, artist and choreographer



The arts and culture enhance every aspect of our lives: the vibrancy of our cities, the identity of our rural communities, the future prospects of our children, the quality of our democracy, the sustainability of our environment, the employability of our workforce, our ability to make sense of our own experience and to empathise with others.

We need to make the connections between these apparently diverse experiences through new kinds of campaigning, of advocacy and of collaboration.

We argue for the contribution the arts and culture make to strengthening every aspect of the national economy, as we do for the contribution to our social wellbeing and cohesion.

We all speak for ourselves but, as a national movement, we coalesce around the highest common denominator of ideas and needs that we can act on. We believe that if we act together, we can maximise the effectiveness of our resources, our arguments, our ideas.

Turning a Little Further community production. Photo: Helen Murray