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Arts Council England responds to Rebalancing Our Cultural Capital report

  • Date: 31 October 2013
  • Area: National

Today the Arts Council has responded to the newly published report: Rebalancing Our Cultural Capital, with information outlining how we invest in arts and culture outside of London. The report sets out a complex picture of the arts and cultural funding landscape in and out of our capital, and rightly it points out that National Lottery funds should continue to target areas with less arts and culture investment. In 2012/13 alone, £174 million of National Lottery funds were invested outside of London through the Arts Council. Here, Alan Davey, our Chief Executive expands on the approach we are taking to ensuring our mission of Great art and culture for everyone.

Arts and culture funding outside of London 

These are challenging times for the sector and we are alive to the need to invest strategically and in increasing access and provision for arts and culture in all the regions of England; this is part of our core strategy. Aside from the 696 National portfolio organisations who receive regular funding from us, we fund a number of programmes at any one time which have a high impact right across the country. Some examples are:

  • Strategic touring: a £45 million programme encouraging collaboration between organisations to bring more arts and culture to more people in England
  • Capital investment: over the period 2012-15 our £243.6 million Capital investment programme will support organisation all around the country to develop resilience by giving them the right buildings and equipment to deliver their work
  • Creative people and places: a £37 million fund focusing in parts of the country where people's involvement in the arts is significantly below the national average
  • Other programmes include the £15 million Creative employment programme, £171 million Music education hubs and our 16 Major partner musuems - only two of which are based in London - receiving over £20 million of investment per year.

The Rebalancing Our Cultural Capital report proposes a 'National Investment Programme' of £600 million over the life of a parliament (five years, or £120 million per year) specifically aimed at new cultural production outside of London. Using 2012-13 as a guide, when £174 million was invested outside of London, the Arts Council would already invest around £870 million over five years.

You can read our full document here.

A response from Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England

 "Arts Council England welcomes the debate raised by Rebalancing Our Cultural Capital; the health of arts and culture in the regions is incredibly important. Although the report simplifies a complex picture; it rightly highlights we should continue to target lottery funds at places with less investment.

"Much has been done - just look at our investment in regionally based world class organisations like Birmingham Royal Ballet, The Sage in Gateshead, Nottingham Contemporary or Ironbridge in Shropshire.  In the last 3 years more than 70% of our lottery investment has benefited people beyond London.

"There is more to do. We are about to go into an investment process for the next three years where we will target our money intelligently across England. We are already using specific lottery schemes that nurture art and culture where there is not enough, and reach more of the public through touring and digital distribution.  It is also vital Local Authorities continue to invest alongside us as partners.  Local Authority cuts remain the biggest threat to places outside London.

"The per capita figures in the report give a misleading impression that London is just for Londoners. National organisations based in London belong to the nation.  They have a role in artistic development, pioneering digital platforms and touring across England.  They, along with great art from the regions, also give us a leading role on the international stage.

"We have to continue to build foundations for a vibrant cultural life for the whole country.  That's what Great Art and Culture for everyone means."

Our mission: Great art and culture for everyone

At the heart of everything we do lies our mission, Great art and culture for everyone. Guided by five strategic goals, all of our investment and development is inspired by and in response to this mission. Find out more here, or watch the video below. 

For more information on the impact of our investment, explore our Advocacy toolkit, and join the conversation online with #artscouncilmission and follow us @ace_national

Watch: an animated film introducing our updated strategy