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Explore the new National portfolio for 2015-18 in depth by artform and our other areas of focus using the drop-down boxes below.

You can also download and read an overall description of our new portfolio here: Word, PDF

To find out more about our new Major partner museums, click here.

To find out more about the portfolio in your Area, click here.

The National portfolio 2015-18 by artform

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In recent years the profile and importance of dance has grown substantially. A wide range of public events from the Olympic Ceremonies and the Rugby League World Cup 2013 to Strictly Come Dancing, have increased the visibility of dance and provided more live opportunities for audiences.

Dance now makes a significant contribution to the nation’s creative sector. There are an estimated 200 dance companies in England and the dance economy employs around 30,000 people, from dancers and choreographers to promoters and physiotherapists. There is a huge variety of dance practised in England, much of it with international roots, and dance performances are created in all sorts of places – in castles, disused factories, sports centres and shopping centres. Dance is increasingly being produced for the screen and for digital distribution and we are delighted to include such a rich mix of dance within the National portfolio.

Download an overview of our investment in dance 2015-18: Word, PDF


While we are not responsible for providing or funding library services, our significant role is as the development agency for the sector. The Arts Council's vision for libraries is that they inspire and empower people to lead active lives, enriched through cultural experience. The Arts Council is working with libraries to explore a vision for how arts and culture can work together. 

Download an overview of our investment in libraries 2015-18: Word, PDF


We support creative writing including poetry, fiction, life writing, storytelling, spoken word, writing for children and literary translation. It can be presented through a variety of media including publishing, online platforms, live performance and broadcast. We also support promoting reading.  Commercial publishers, broadcasters, libraries and education in England all play a major role in creating one of the most dynamic contexts for literature in the world. We aim to focus our support where we can make the most difference. 

Investing in literature 2015-18

Download an overview of our investment in literature 2015-18: Word, PDF


The musical life of England is extraordinarily rich and varied. It encompasses world-class orchestras and music schools, a wonderful tradition of choral singing, brass bands, jazz, folk and roots, DJs and MCs, indie bands and country house opera. These artists and producers, many of them supported by public funding, are an essential part of an industry that is of national economic significance. The challenge for the Arts Council is to use its resources in ways that can make a difference, complementing income from other sources to extend an organisation’s reach or practice, and being prepared to encourage creative ambition and risk.

Download an overview of our investment in music 2015-18: Word, PDF

Combined arts

'Combined arts' describes the place where artforms meet; where art is experimental – and playful. It is at the forefront of publicly accessible arts, where people often become involved for the first time – at festivals and in free work outdoors in cities, towns and rural areas, and often with arts that reflect particular cultures and communities. This creative liberty is reflected in the variety of venues where combined arts happens; from pop-up spaces and temporary sites to long-established arts buildings – a wide range of spaces where artists and communities experiment and explore.  All our investment streams are crucial to the combined arts portfolio, and the Grants for the arts programme plays a particularly significant role. Many festivals and carnivals are funded through Grants for the arts – as are individual artists and producers.

Investing in combined arts 2015-18

Download an overview of our investment in combined arts 2015-18: Word, PDF


In theatre, the flow of artists, companies and ideas from the fringe to regularly funded organisations, and therefore to the wider creative industries, is crucial to the health and vitality of the artform as a whole. Our funding decisions take into account the effect that each investment will have on the wider theatre environment.

Download an overview of our investment in theatre 2015-18: Word, PDF

Visual arts

England has a remarkable, iconoclastic tradition in the visual arts, and attracts gifted artists, curators and leaders from all over the world to work and study here. We believe that this richness is reflected in a strong new National portfolio of funded organisations. 

Download an overview of our investment in visual arts 2015-18: Word, PDF

Other areas of focus

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Children and young people

Children and young people are at the heart of the Arts Council’s mission and strategy. We want them to have access to quality arts and culture and to help them to make the most of their passion and talent, wherever they live and whatever their circumstances.

We want to help release their talent, to give them chance to work with the best professional artists – and to show them routes to work in one of the wide range of careers in the creative industries, if they wish. Above all, we want the arts to enrich their lives – whether as artists, or as audiences.   Goal five of our 10-year strategy is that every child and young person should have the opportunity to experience the richness of arts, museums and libraries. We are delighted that the new National portfolio is focused on this goal, with so many organisations committed to energetic and imaginative work for children and young people.  

Download an overview of how we are investing in children and young people across 2015-18: Word, PDF

Equality and the Creative Case for Diversity

The diversity of this country is one of our great creative resources. We want the work that we support to reflect this and to be alive to the opportunity that diversity offers, in terms of new work, new artists, creative collaborations, new audiences and new sources of revenue. 

Download an overview of how we are investing in diversity across 2015-18: Word, PDF