Background to the Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA)

Arts Council England is working with Consilium Research and Consultancy Ltd to undertake a wide-ranging Rapid Evidence Assessment about equality and diversity within the arts and cultural sector.

The review will help us with our future work to:

  • design programmes, policies and initiatives that break down barriers to engagement with arts and culture
  • build-on best practice across the sector in getting more people participating and attending arts and culture
  • Inform our future investment decisions
  • Identify where we need to do further research.

Themes of the REA

The evidence review is exploring four key themes relevant to the work of the Arts Council:

  • Participation - e.g. opportunities to participate in producing art or delivering cultural provision
  • Audiences - e.g. engagement as an audience member or visitor to arts and culture
  • Workforce - e.g. access to the arts and cultural workforce, access to workforce training and skills development and access to leadership and governance roles.
  • Funding - e.g. opportunities to apply and gain public funding from sources such as the Arts Council's portfolio funding, Grants for the Arts and Strategic Funds.

The review will draw on a range of sources such as:

  • Publicly available data and statistics (e.g. about workforce profile and arts and cultural participation and audiences)
  • Administrative data within Arts Council England (e.g. on audience data among funded organisations and diversity monitoring data about access and success of application to funding sources)
  • Past research by academics, think-tanks, sector-bodies, arts and cultural bodies, government departments and consultancies
  • Previous literature reviews.

The review will be considering research studies from the last 20 years (since 1993) and published in English.

The review will explore equality and diversity in relation to the following protected characteristics:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Religion and/or belief
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Marriage or civic partnership status
  • Gender re-assignment

Arts Council England also works to remove barriers by socio-economic status and educational attainment, so social class and education are additional characteristics that will be explored via the evidence review.

How we would like you to help

We are seeking any research conducted since 1993 on the above topics, which will be read and synthesised and inform a full summary report of the evidence-base to be developed by March 2014.

Please send copies of research studies to the lead consultant from Consilium Research, Andy Parkinson, via or addressed to Consilium Research and Consultancy Ltd, 68 Ravenswood Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 5TX. To speak to Andy directly, please telephone 07713 357386.


Please contact Andy Parkinson from Consilium Research using the above contact details. To speak to somebody at the Arts Council about this REA, please contact Jonathon Blackburn, Senior Officer, Policy and Research, via or on 0161 934 4364.