The Arts Council and communities living in rural England – a position statement sets out how we will approach the specific needs and aspirations of rural communities in order to deliver our strategy. It sets out key partnerships and how we will engage with rural stakeholders to ensure that our approach is appropriate.
Arts Council England recognises the strength of the arts and culture in England’s rural areas and in rural communities. These strengths are vital to the value that the arts and culture bring – to diversifying rural economies, supporting tourism, and bringing communities together.
Arts Council England’s investment and support is fundamental to this but we have to work in partnership with local government, with the sector, and with rural communities themselves. It is through these partnerships that we can together sustain and grow culture and the arts in rural areas.
The Arts Council’s approach to rural communities is governed by the following principles. We will take these into account as we advocate, develop, invest and form partnerships.
- The Arts Council’s priorities for the arts and culture are set out in Great art and culture for everyone. This strategy and its five goals apply to all of our work, equally across England. We want to see these goals delivered in urban and in rural areas.
- We do not see the need for a specific rural strategy or investment programme - but we do want to see rural communities benefitting appropriately from the totality of our support.
- Our commitment to equality of opportunity to enable people to experience the arts and culture and our ambition to increase the number and range of people taking up these opportunities is set out under Goal 2: Everyone has the opportunity to experience and be inspired by the arts, museums and libraries. To realise this we recognise that rural communities have particular and specific characteristics and needs – including sparsity, rural deprivation, access – and we will take account of these.
- We recognise that rural communities, and the arts and culture in rural areas, also have characteristic strengths, and that we can build on these.
- We will continue to work in partnership with Defra to take account of rural proofing and to amend our approach to this over time and in the light of experience.
- We will begin and sustain a national dialogue with rural stakeholders from across England, and use this to inform our policy and our work.
- We reaffirm our commitment to the ways of working outlined in 2004 in The Arts in Rural England: respond to the particular needs of rural areas, support artists working in rural areas, improve access for rural audiences; and build partnerships for growth.
We welcome views on our approach and will revise it during 2014 to take account of stakeholders and the outcomes of the Independent Review of Rural Proofing which is currently being undertaken by Lord Cameron of Dillington.
To give the Arts Council feedback on how we work with communities living in rural England, please contact our Customer Services team.