The following Strategic funding programmes address our goal of building ambition and excellence across the arts and culture sector. 

Please note: the following figures are indicative as of July 2014. An update to these pages will be made in Spring 2015

Developing ambition and talent outside of London 

This programme will help us attract and retain talent in the regions as well as build production capacity outside London.

We will allocate £15 million to this fund for 2015-18.

Ambition for Excellence

Ambition for excellence is a programme aimed at stimulating and supporting ambition, talent and excellence across the arts sector in England. The fund aims to realise significant impact on the growth of an ambitious international-facing arts infrastructure, especially outside London. 

Ambition for excellence will support the creation of work for major national moments that build on the legacy of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, enabling organisations to reach international and national audiences. 

We will allocate £35.2 million to this fund for 2015-18. 


The diversity fund will focus investment on delivering the Creative case for diversity and our equality agenda across all protected characteristics. The fund will focus on artistic excellence, increasing resilience and diversifying audiences and the workforce, and on ensuring the leadership of the arts sector reflects the diversity of contemporary England. We will ensure this fund will make a significant impact outside of London by establishing appropriate criteria. The diversity fund will:

  • increase the opportunities for Deaf and disabled artists nationally
  • invest in strengthening resilience of disability and Black and Minority Ethnic-led organisations, with a particular focus on supporting organisations not in receipt of National portfolio funding
  • establish a national network of 'agents for change', working within National portfolio organisations to support talent development, artistic excellence and audience development
  • develop a Creative case commissioning programme to establish a national producing consortia, celebrating a broader spectrum of diverse practice and increase the amount of diverse work for touring
  • invest in a bespoke programme of leadership and workforce development
  • respond to place and artform-based opportunities to strengthen diverse-led practice, where weakness or opportunities have been identified

We will allocate £6m to this fund for 2015-18.  Download our Diversity factsheet

Take a look at our Equality analysis 

The Arts Council Collection

The Arts Council has four collections: the Arts Council Film Collection, the Arts Council Poetry Collection, the Arts Council Music Archive, and the Arts Council Collection of modern and contemporary British artworks (the ‘Art Collection’).                        

We use a small amount of funds, primarily for the Art Collection, in order to support the development, management, care and programming of these collections, as well as supporting the exploration of new models for management and distribution.

In the next three years, we are proposing a revised agreement with the Southbank Centre (who manage the Art Collection) to allow for a programme of regional partnerships to increase the collection’s visibility across England, while supporting the national gallery infrastructure.  This will ensure the long-term sustainability of the collection, and make sure that it continues to make a significant contribution to the cultural life of the country.

We will allocate £3.6 million to this fund for 2015-18

Creative media: The Space

The Space began as a pilot digital arts service and commissioning programme launched in May 2012 by the Arts Council in partnership with the BBC. It was conceived and developed as a live, free, and on-demand service through which audiences could access a wide range of arts digitally and, in particular, the London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad.

The evaluation of the Space pilot showed that it had met its core aims to support digital creativity and experimentation, build digital capacity in the arts, and connect arts organisations with a wider audience. The Space is now run by a new independent Community Interest Company and the new Space re-launched on June 13 2014. The Space will continue to focus on the original core aims of creative experimentation, building capacity and reaching audiences digitally, but with an enhanced emphasis on fostering and supporting innovative and interactive new digital artwork and participation.

£8 million is currently allocated for The Space between 2014/15, 15/16 and 16/17. We will allocate an additional £2.5 million to the potential future development of the programme in 2017-18.

City of Culture: 2017

The Arts Council will support Hull, which won the UK City of Culture competition for 2017. We will work in partnership with Hull, including making investment availablefor them to realise their bid’s ambitions, raising the profile of culture across the country as a whole.

We will allocate £3 million to this fund for 2015-18.

International: cultural export and change

The aim of the International fund is to promote the best of English arts and culture to overseas countries, and to encourage opportunities for collaboration and cultural exchange. The fund will help more home-grown companies and individuals to take their shows, expertise and productions overseas and foster more reciprocity and exchange between individual artists, arts organisations and museums in England and across the globe. It will also support organisations to bring new work from abroad to more audiences in England.

We will allocate £18 million to this fund for 2015-18.