Arts Council England: Achieving Great Art for Everyone and a New Funding Programme

16 November 2010

Arts Council England (ACE) has been all over the news over the last few weeks, and there has been a great deal of coverage of their new plans to distribute regular funding. In this post we aim to unpack what some of this means for the cultural learning sector, looking in detail at the strategic goal for children and young people.

Achieving Great Art for Everyone: A strategic framework for the artsWe were delighted to see that Dame Liz Forgan’s preface to the document includes the following sentence:‘Children and young people must learn about and love their culture if they are to carry it on.’The strategic framework then goes on to identify five key goals for the Arts Council (ACE) going forward:

  • Talent and artistic excellence are thriving and celebrated
  • More people experience and are inspired by the arts
  • The arts are sustainable, resilient and innovative
  • The arts leadership and workforce are diverse and highly skilled
  • Every child and young person has the opportunity to experience the richness of the arts
Each and every one of these goals has relevance to the cultural learning sector and we look forward to working with ACE to ensure that the professionals, projects and organisations that deliver the arts and culture by, for and with children and young people are involved in achieving them all.We are of course particularly interested in the last goal and the ideas and plans that ACE is putting place to take this forward. There is more detail on this published on the websiteEarly discussions indicate that ACE’s main areas of work for children and young people will be focused on:
  • developing a local infrastructure which supports the joined-up delivery of work for children and young people and brokerage between the arts and education sectors
  • the quality of practitioners, of work with for and by children and young people and of the outcomes of this work
  • the growth and development of Artsmark and Arts Award and the ways in which arts organisations might become increasingly involved in the delivery and support of these programmes
  • evaluation and evidencing, looking at new ways for organisations to demonstrate the value of their work for children and young people
  • reviewing the assessment processes for their work with children and young people and exploring how young people can get lead this practice
Funding OpportunitiesAs has been widely reported in the news, (BBC, Guardian, Financial Times) Arts Council recently announced that there would be a change in the way that they funded arts organisations. This follows on from the CSR settlement where almost 30% of the ACE budget was cut. The terms of the settlement stated that Arts Council should only pass on cuts of 15% to the ‘front line’ and should absorb the rest of the reduction themselves. This resulted in a cut across the board of approximately 7% for all organisations in the current portfolio for the next year. It also meant a shake-up of the process, with all arts organisations in the country being invited to apply for support for the following years.The reduction in the overall budget means that it is likely that ACE will need to reduce the overall number of arts organisations in its portfolio, but crucially this new scheme also means that organisations previously not in receipt of a regular grant are eligible to apply. Full information on the process can be found here .All organisations will need to demonstrate how they contribute to at least two of the five goals mentioned above and there seems to be a particular push from ACE to encourage arts organisations to team up when applying for funding, as was reported in the Bookseller last week. The CLA urges cultural learning organisations to start talking now about how they can support each other as there may be opportunities to form consortia or collaborative relationships which will help strengthen your case for support.Nestled in the guidance to organisations is a statementthat says further details about how we intend to fund strategic projects will be announced in 2011.’ We hope that this further funding will include specific provision for cultural learning and children and young people.It is also worth noting that the Arts Council Annual Review for 2010 is now published and is on the website.