Getting the best deal for culture as we leave the European Union

Posted By Simon Mellor on 30 March 2017

As Article 50 is triggered, Simon Mellor, our Deputy CEO, Arts and Culture, writes on our continued commitment to developing and supporting arts and culture in England and on an international stage.

On Wednesday, Article 50 was triggered and the process of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union officially began. Many people have been discussing how this might affect arts and culture. Today we are publishing our priorities for international collaboration post-Brexit.

Arts and culture needs to play a greater role in Britain’s future at home and abroad. Our shared national culture has long been a source of soft power, making friends and building dialogue. There is an important economic dimension as well, with our National Portfolio Organisations alone earning £34 million abroad each year. That’s why it’s important we continue to look outwards. We will do everything we can to help get the best deal possible for arts and culture.

Oxford Christmas Lights Festival, December 2013. Photo: Oxford City Council.

In August last year we wrote that the Arts Council would listen to the arts and culture sector, and ensure that voice is heard in Government. Since then we have been doing just that.

We published the results of our survey of over 1,000 artists and organisations in November. The responses highlighted concerns about ease of movement, changes in legislation, threats to existing partnerships and networks, the removal of funding opportunities and loss of trade.

In the last few months we’ve used that feedback while working closely with the Government, helping to inform preparations for the negotiations to leave the European Union. This work will continue as negotiations take their course.

We want to make sure the best talent from around the world can continue to work in this country...

Enchanted Parks 2016: Exit, pursued by a bear - Jonny Michie. Photo: Richard Kenworthy.

As well as continuing to consult with artists, organisations, and others in the creative sector, we will commission research to ensure the Government has a fuller picture of how European Union funding, policy and legislation affect our sector.

One example is talent. We want to make sure the best talent from around the world can continue to work in this country, inspiring audiences and sharing ideas. So we will talk to the sector and Government to explore a visa system that works for arts and culture and the wider creative industries.

We also want to promote cultural exchange and collaboration, especially through international coproductions. Not only with European countries but also in North America, East Asia and beyond. And of course, we want to ensure cultural organisations have tariff free access when they sell, tour or otherwise export their work.

Garden of Light, by TILT, in Leicester Square. Lumiere London 2016, produced by Artichoke, supported by Mayor of London. Photo: Matthew Andrews 2016.

We will work hard to ensure that the arts and cultural sector is ready to meet future challenges and take global opportunities...

This is the beginning of a long process.  The Arts Council understands the importance of this for the business models of organisations across the country, but more importantly to enable cultural exchange to continue with our partners in the European Union and across the rest of the world.

So as negotiations progress we will continue to listen to you, commission research where it’s needed, and to work with Government. We will work hard to ensure that the arts and cultural sector is ready to meet future challenges and take global opportunities, and that we can preserve and increase the creative energy that we get from international exchange and collaboration.

Find out more

Read our priorities for international collaboration post-Brexit.

Follow Simon and the Arts Council on Twitter

Sign up for our e-newsletter