Cultural Playing Field


Maximising The Importance Of Arts And Culture Throughout The Economic Downturn by Robin Simpson
April 28, 2009, 10:16 am
Filed under: meetings | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Last Friday I was in London at a seminar on ‘Maximising The Importance Of Arts And Culture Throughout The Economic Downturn’ organised by the Centre for Public Policy Seminars. An audience of more than 300 assembled at The Brewery to hear speakers including Mick Elliott, Director of Culture at DCMS, Sir John Tusa, consultant John Knell and Arts Council England Chair, Dame Liz Forgan. The general message seemed to be that times are tough but could be worse and, so far, the arts sector is remaining reasonably stable. There was also a strong feeling that the recession could present significant opportunities for the arts and a consensus emerged through the day that we need to see the recession as a catalyst for collaboration – across sectors and between arts organisations on different scales. In the first plenary question and answer session, I said I was cautiously optimistic that the recession was an opportunity for the voluntary arts. With people becoming more focussed on their local communities, less inclined to travel and more intent on giving something back to society through volunteering, there is potential for the voluntary arts to benefit. I was pleased to hear the calls for greater collaboration but stressed the need for this to include voluntary arts groups. I suggested that this might be the time for the arts sector to realise that ‘the arts’ is not just those organisations funded by Arts Council England. Liz Forgan closed the seminar by announcing the details of ACE’s new £40M ‘Sustain’ fund to support excellent arts organisations suffering as a result of the credit crunch. Perhaps more importantly for the voluntary arts, she also announced a £4M increase in ACE’s ‘Grants for the Arts’ Lottery fund which provides grants from £1,000 with applications for £5,000 or less turned around in 6 weeks. For bite-sized summaries of the day’s discussions read Taylor Nuttall’s twitter feed at: http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23miacted

Robin Simpson.

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1 Comment so far
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Cheers Robin
For me there were a lot of contradictions on the day, and I think it would have been more useful if the announcement had been made at the start which could have then framed the following discussion.
Taylor
Chief Executive
folly

Comment by Taylor Nuttall




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