Published 01 April 2015
Many of you will have noticed the dissolution of Parliament and the start of purdah for civil servants on Monday. This means that we no longer have MPs and that campaigning for our votes starts in earnest for the 7 May general election.
Please use the next few weeks to promote the importance and value of arts, culture and creativity in our communities. Ask your candidates what they will do to support the arts and how they will ensure that young people and families will access arts and culture, in and out of school. Just asking the right questions will highlight to future MPs how much we value the place of culture and creativity in our society.
You can also attend a local hustings, or even host one. Read more about hosting a hustings in this handy guide produced by What Next?. Holding a hustings in a school or cultural building is a great way of highlighting our issues to candidates.
If you are struggling to think of questions to ask at a hustings event then this is our starter for ten:
‘Do you agree that having creativity, arts and culture in children and young people’s lives is one of the best ways to help them reach their potential? How will you make sure this happens?’
On the evening of 8 April, the Creative Industries Federation and the Royal Opera House will present a debate featuring culture spokespeople from five political parties, including Ed Vaizey and Harriet Harman, chaired by Martha Kearney.
BBC Arts will stream this debate live and it will be available on demand.
You can book tickets for the debate, which is part of the nationwide Get Creative initiative, via the Creative Industries Federation or watch it live via the Royal Opera House (ROH) website, as well as on BBC Arts.
The ROH want lots of people to take part in this debate, including artists, participants and audiences. The live stream will be available to any organisation that wishes to host it on their website. To get involved, please contact Tom Nelson, email@example.com, who will provide you the YouTube embed code to make this possible. You can also help by tweeting links to the live stream and joining the discussion - #culturedebate.
Manifesto commitments can change right up until the last minute in an election. That is why it is important we keep asking about arts and culture and demonstrating that it is an important electoral issue. You can read a summary of our current pledges and asks for cultural learning, and download a copy of the CLA manifesto here.
See an up-to-date summary of the party manifestos from the BBC or take a look at the Guardian webchats with education and culture party leads for a sense of each party’s view on art, culture and education.
Chris Bryant, Labour
Ed Vaizey, Conservative
John Leech, Liberal Democrat
Peter Whittle, UKIP
David Laws, Liberal Democrats
Paul Nuttal, UKIP
Samantha Pancheri, Greens
Tristram Hunt, Labour
You can submit questions for Nicky Morgan of the Conservative party by noon on 10 April using #GdnEduTories or email your questions to Anna.Bawden@guardian.co.uk.