Paul Hamlyn Foundation is strengthening its funding for arts education with new channels of support for projects that increase access and build a love for the arts.

Photo of an orchestra playing in a car park
Multi-Story Orchestra, a Paul Hamlyn Foundation funded project

Organisations with “ambitious plans to widen access to and deepen participation in the arts” are set to benefit from new plans being launched by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation (PHF), one of the UK’s largest independent grant-makers. Its new strategic plan for 2015 – 2021 outlines six areas in which PHF wishes to support change, including strengthening its support for the arts and a commitment to “actively making the case for the value of the arts in education, and the positive difference the arts can make to people’s lives”.

With particular emphasis on addressing “inequalities of opportunity”, PHF is launching two new funds. One to enable arts organisations to research, test and pilot different approaches to improving access and participation in the arts. The other to help organisations extend their reach. Two further funds will aim to demonstrate the importance of the arts in education. One will support innovative pilot projects and arts organisations wanting to work more closely with schools, colleges and teachers. The other will be for projects working with primary schools and teachers to build lifelong love for the arts.

The Foundation prefers “to support work which others may find hard to fund, perhaps because it breaks new ground, is too risky or is unpopular”. It will be backing people with “great ideas to support social innovation”, and is especially keen to support projects working with young people who are experiencing disadvantage, and migrants and their receiving communities. Through these projects, PHF aims to develop the evidence base to show that the arts make a difference to people’s lives. £25m per year will be committed to its priorities, just under half of which will be available to arts organisations. Moira Sinclair, recently appointed as Chief Executive of PHF and previously an Executive Director at Arts Council England, will lead the implementation of the new strategy.

Liz Hill