Skip to main content Skip to site map (in footer)

McMaster Review: Supporting excellence in the arts - from measurement to judgement

Date:11 January 2008
Subject:Research, Supporting the arts sector

In July 2007 James Purnell, the Secretary of State for Culture, asked Sir Brian McMaster, former Director of the Edinburgh International Festival, to undertake a review to report on:

  • How the system of public sector support for the arts can encourage excellence, risk-taking and innovation

  • How artistic excellence can encourage wider and deeper engagement with the arts by audiences

  • How to establish a light touch and non-bureaucratic method to judge the quality of the arts in the future

The review involved artists, directors, curators, producers and administrators from across the country, and from across a wide variety of art forms. Sir Brian was supported by Nicola Thorold and staff from DCMS and Arts Council England. A public consultation ran from 1 - 30 November 2007, the findings of which helped inform Sir Brian's thinking ahead of his final report to the Secretary of State. Peter Hewitt, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, said:  

'We are delighted that the McMaster report places excellence at the heart of public funding for the arts, paralleling our own mission.  

'This is undoubtedly a challenging report for the Arts Council and, indeed, for the whole arts sector. It contains exciting recommendations that demand further discussion.  

'It is good to see that it draws upon the work of the Arts Debate and confirms our findings that what the public value the most is excellence and innovation in art.  

'This is a document that will undoubtedly be referred to by the cultural sector for many years.'

Author:Sir Brian McMaster
Link:Download the report in full on the DCMS website