Local authority funding survey 2024: preliminary findings

11 Apr 2024

Initial findings from Arts Professional's latest Pulse survey on local authority funding reveal councils are selling off venues and 'spinning out' arts and culture to independent entities to save money.

Gender pay gap within culture sector increases

A woman preparing for a performance
03 Apr 2024

For every £1 earned by men employed in the cultural sector women are paid 85 pence, government statistics show.

West London arts centre to close

An exterior view of Watermans Arts Centre
20 Mar 2024

Watermans Art Centre will close next month to 'protect the organisation's financial viability' ahead of planned moved to a new site.

Europe-wide project aims to create network of minority theatres

04 May 2017

(IN CROATIAN) Five minority theatres in Romania, Italy, Serbia, Albania and Croatia will combine to produce a play and a series of workshops in Spring 2018 using European Union funding.

New York opera security scare after powder sprinkled into orchestra pit

31 Oct 2016

The Metropolitan Opera cancelled a performance during the interval as a safety precaution after somebody sprinkled an unknown powder into the pit.

Library scoops £3,000 in the National Lottery Awards

25 Aug 2016

St Helens Libraries’ Cultural Hubs attracted over 2,000 votes to be named Best Arts Project for its work promoting health and wellbeing.

UKRI awards £70m to university museums and collections

12 Apr 2024

University museums and collections from 21 higher education institutes will receive a share of £14m of Higher Education Museums, Galleries, and Collections funding each year until 2029/2030.

The funding from Research England - part of United Kingdom Research and Innovation - has been raised from £11.7m and will go to 40 higher education museums, galleries, and collections, compared to 33 in previous rounds.

Among those receiving the multi-year grants are nine museums and collections at Cambridge University, which will share more than £2.9m, and four at Oxford, splitting more than £4m.

Three Birmingham University collections will share £400,000, while the Royal College of Music Museum and The Courtauld Institute of Art will get over £221,000 and £696,000, respectively.

Dr Liz Hide, Director of the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences at Cambridge University, which has been awarded £210,000 a year, said the funding would go toward “[ensuring] researchers can fully utilise our new Collections Research Centre, and enabling our outstanding collections to inspire many new avenues of research across both the sciences and the humanities.”

Theatre launches £4 tickets for low income households

12 Apr 2024

Bolton Octagon has announced that it will offer £4 tickets to local residents on Universal Credit, Pension Credit or living in low-income households who want to attend the theatre.

Launching this month, the scheme will see 1,000 tickets each year made available at £4, in addition to the venue's existing offer of £15 tickets on 10% of seats for Octagon shows.

“Our audiences tell us what fantastic value for money the Octagon is, but we know that for some people, the price can still be a barrier and especially during the cost-of-living crisis,” said Octagon Chief Executive Roddy Gauld.

“With this new scheme, fantastic seats will be available for just £4. We want as many people as possible to enjoy the magic of live theatre, and this is just one of the many ways we’re working to enrich our communities with fun, creativity and excitement.”
 

Music licensing body reports record income for 2023

11 Apr 2024

Income generated from the use of recorded music in public places topped £283.5m last year, up 4% from 2022 - the highest level ever recorded by music licensing body PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited).

PPL said the increase was driven by an uplift in income from using recorded music in public places such as shops, bars, nightclubs, offices, and factories, which was up 11% to over £111m in 2023.

Meanwhile, international revenue collected by PPL for the use of members’ music worldwide reached £75.4m.

After operating costs and other deductions, the amount passed on to PPL members and other Collective Management Organisations grew by 5% year on year, with the cost as a percentage of revenue reducing from 13.3% to 13% in the previous year. 

Peter Leathem, CEO of PPL, said: "In these somewhat precarious times for performers, we are proud to deliver a consistent stream of income for them and recording rights holders - over £1bn distributed in the past five years alone. As the world leader in international collections, we will continue to advocate for neighbouring rights in new markets to maximise revenue opportunities for all our members.”  

Community arts groups share in £480k of Windrush funding

11 Apr 2024

Several art groups are among 28 community projects to share in more than £480,000 of government funding as part of the Windrush Day Grant Scheme.

Administered by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Community, the fund, established six years ago, supports community-led arts, educational, and sporting events across England that highlight the legacy of the Windrush generation.

Funded organisations include Sudden Productions, which will provide a platform for the Windrush Generation and their descendants to share their experiences through a stage production and drama workshops, and Island Movements, which will create a 30-minute ballet telling the story of a Caribbean family whose parents came over on the Windrush.

The Brixton Project, which promotes community cohesion through a carnival of art, theatre and music, will also receive a grant, as will Voyage, a project bringing young people and community elders together to produce a book and exhibition. 

The full list of recipients includes Northampton Theatres Trust, BLACK* artists on the move, Oxygen Arts CIC, Royal Pavilion and Brighton Museums, the London Borough of Newham, and Oxford City Council.

Former DfE adviser calls for cap on creative courses

Male and female drama students at a performing arts school In studio improvisation class
11 Apr 2024

Leading economist says limiting numbers of students allowed to study creative subjects at university would allow government to invest significantly more, making remaining provision 'outstanding'.

Orchestra leader says classical music cuts “not acceptable”

10 Apr 2024

Funding cuts are destroying Britain’s “top-notch” classical music organisations, according to the new chief conductor at the London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Antonio Pappano.

Speaking at the launch of LSO’s new season, Pappano said: “Do you want to see them die little by little? Look at the struggles, look at the ENO, the WNO. These places are in trouble, and it is not acceptable.”

He said that concerns around whether classical music was “specialist, elitist”, distracted organisations “when they should be concentrating on making good work and quality performances”.

Pappano also criticised Arts Council England, saying the funding body “did not seem to be supporting" classical music organisations and only held “discussions focused on community, diversity, and all those social aspects."

“It is not the LSO or Royal Philharmonic or London Philharmonic’s ­responsibility to educate children. It is the government’s job to start educating children and creating not only talent for the future but also audiences," said Pappano.

“The amount of responsibility given to organisations to correct something that should be done by the government is unfair, frankly.”

LSO, an ACE National Portfolio Organisation, has seen its annual investment from the funding body drop from £2,246,641 to £1,977,044. Pappano joins the orchestra from the Royal Opera House, which has seen its own annual investment from ACE - the largest grant awarded to any single organisation - fall from £25,211,186 to £22,268,584.

Historic windmill closes after council ends funding

10 Apr 2024

A 19th-Century Hampshire windmill that houses a display of historic farming artefacts has closed following the withdrawal of council funding from its operator.

Eastleigh Borough Council terminated its funding agreement with Hampshire Culture Trust (HCT) in February last year.

The trust then requested that Hampshire County Council (HCC) allow it to end operations at the Grade II-listed Bursledon Windmill.

HCT has been responsible for providing the council’s museum and heritage services since 2014, the same year that the windmill had its wind shaft and sails replaced following a £94,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

A report found that the trust had made efforts to keep the windmill open by diversifying revenue through grants, donations or commercial opportunities but said it would not be "sufficient to support the financial viability of the venue".

The historic items displayed at the windmill may now be transferred to the authority or a new operator.

Earlier this year, HCT warned that five more venues, out of the 24 it operates, face closure after HCC, its primary funder, proposed reducing its annual funding from £2.5m to £1.9m by 2027.

The trust, an ACE National Portfolio Organisation, said Ashcroft Arts Centre in Fareham, Westbury Manor Museum and Eastleigh Museum are expected to shut early next year, while Curtis Museum in Alton and Andover Museum and the Museum of the Iron Age are facing withdrawal by 2026.

ACE delays public announcement of new music education hubs

Orchestra instruments
10 Apr 2024

Independent Society of Musicians warns that Arts Council England's last-minute decision leaves staff and freelancers "in the dark" about their future employment.

Art therapy improves outcomes for young people in mental health units

10 Apr 2024

Art therapy is associated with positive outcomes for children and adolescents in a hospital-based mental health unit, a new study published in the Journal of Mental Health has found.

Researchers, led by Sarah Versitano, examined more than six years of data from a child and adolescent mental health hospital ward in Australia to understand if the use of restrictive practices, such as seclusion or physical restraint, was lower during the periods when art therapy was offered compared to times when it was not available.

The findings showed "a clear association" between the availability of art therapy and reduced frequency of seclusion, physical restraint and injection of sedatives in mental health units.

Researchers suggest that the trend could have emerged as art therapy may decrease severe distress levels among patients, reducing the risk of harm to themselves or others.

In forthcoming research, the same team aims to understand better young people's experiences of art therapy and why it appears to reduce distress.

Men to be allowed to visit 'women-only' exhibit

10 Apr 2024

An exhibit at a Tasmanian museum must allow men admission following a court ruling in a gender discrimination case.

The Ladies Lounge at Tasmania's Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) has been open since 2020 and houses some of the museum's most acclaimed works.

Playing on the concept of Australian pubs, which were historically male-only spaces, the exhibit only offers women admittance. 

After being turned away from the exhibit last April, Jason Lau, a New South Wales resident, filed a gender discrimination lawsuit.

Representing himself, Lau argued the museum violates the state's anti-discrimination act by failing to provide "a fair provision of goods and services in line with the law" to ticket holders who don’t identify as female.

The museum defended its position, saying Lau's feeling of rejection was part of the artwork and that Tasmanian law permits discrimination "designed to promote equal opportunity" for historically disadvantaged people.

In his ruling, Judge Richard Grueber said it was not apparent how preventing men from seeing the artwork artworks achieved that goal.

Following the verdict, "persons who do not identify as ladies" will be allowed to access the exhibit in 28 days.  

A spokesperson for Mona has previously said the artwork would be "untenable" if the ruling was not in their favour. 

The representative said: "We are deeply disappointed by this decision," adding that the Mona would now consider its options.
 

MPs back proposed £300m Smart Fund for creator remuneration

10 Apr 2024

Select Committee says government must ‘plug the gaps' in outdated copyright and intellectual property regulations’ to help future-proof creators rights.

Grassroots music fund launches

09 Apr 2024

A music initiative designed to "empower and celebrate" grassroots music communities has launched.

Studio Monkey Shoulder, established by Monkey Shoulder Whisky, aims to recognise and support a community organisation to turn a passion project into reality, via a £10,000 investment. 

The UK-based community, collective or music organisation which receives the investment will have the opportunity to create their own event and feature in a series of films and radio broadcasts, produced in collaboration with Worldwide FM.

The  Studio Monkey Shoulder initiative is open to community trailblazers from independent record stores, live venues and online radio stations, to DJs, artists and promoters.

The winner will be selected by DJ and broadcaster Gilles Peterson, Founder of Worldwide FM.

Ministerial commitment to music education questioned

Pupils Playing Musical Instruments In School Orchestra
09 Apr 2024

Department for Education confirms that a minister has been present at only one meeting of the board in charge of challenging the government on music education plans.

Study finds arts underinvestment across Derby and Nottingham

09 Apr 2024

Historic levels of funding from local authorities, Arts Council England and National Lottery across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire found to be below average.

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