Creative Case for Diversity

Diversity is one of the most important issues of our age. We live in a remarkably diverse society, and how we evolve and face the challenges of the future will depend on how we can use the creative resources that diversity gifts us.

Our mission is great art and culture for everyone - we can only achieve this if we make a commitment to promoting and embedding diversity throughout the work we fund and support. We call this the Creative Case for Diversity.

Asian dancer in fashionable clothes dancing on stage.
Britain's Got Bhangra. Photo © Rifco Arts / David Fisher

In December 2014 our Chair delivered a speech announcing a fundamental shift in how we approach diversity and the Creative Case. At the time he described the speech as:

One of the most important speeches of my time at the Arts Council – a speech in which I committed the Arts Council, and the publicly funded arts and culture of England, to a fundamental shift in the way we approach diversity.  Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair, Arts Council England.

The promotion of diversity is now a collective responsibility. This shared endeavour is at the heart of the Creative Case for Diversity, which makes diversity a key issue in relation to the programming and audiences, leadership and workforce of  all our funded organisations.

Diversity needs to go mainstream. Our National Portfolio Organisations and Major Partner Museums have all signed up to work towards this shared goal between 2015 and 2018. Our funding agreements were concluded in April. While we focus on increasing opportunities for people from protected characteristic groups, we are also challenging the barriers to participation and engagement across socioeconomic barriers and across geography. Public funding of arts and culture should be invested for the benefit of everyone. It should offer opportunity and draw on all talents.  

Diversity, in its most inclusive and exciting sense, is beginning to inform our work at a deep level, as we respond to the needs of our national community, and show what great art can do for everyone. There is a long way to go but we know the course we’re on – and we have firm plans of how we will get there. And if we get this right, the arts won’t have to make the case for diversity. The arts will be the case.

Film credits Word | PDF 

Our investment in diversity and the Creative Case

Last year we said we would be making £6 million of strategic funds available to support work around diversity and the Creative Case. We have in fact, gone further and over the next five months, we will launch four funds collectively worth £8.5 million in diversity and the Creative Case, which will work with our existing investment programmes to ensure we champion the Creative Case in the arts and culture sector. Find out more about our investment in diversity and the Creative Case.

Defining ‘diverse-led’ organisations

In the past we haven't always been able to recognise and celebrate the amazing diverse work across all our funding organisations and their audiences due to the way we define ‘diverse-led’ organisations. So we made a commitment to review our definitions and run a consultation to look at ways we can improve and enhance our approach to capture the contribution of diverse leaders and organisations. Read more about the consultation.

The power of diversity data

The only way we can truly measure our progress on diversity and the Creative Case is by collecting, analysing and publishing ‘data’ on equality and diversity. We have recently published our first annual data report on Equality, Diversity and the Creative Case reporting on the state of diversity across the arts and culture sector in England for 2015–18. This is the start of our new approach to reporting on diversity and equality. Take a look at the report and our plans for diversity data.

Join the #CreativeCase conversation

We need everyone to be part of the conversation on driving diversity and the Creative Case forward so why not take a look at the story so far and join the conversation at #CreativeCase.