Coronavirus fallout is narrowing diversity, research finds

24 Jun 2020

Research by the social enterprise Creative Access has found that 85% of trainees are either not being kept on after their internship or fear there will be no full-time work at the end. This compares with a pre Covid-19 rate of over 90% of trainees moving into permanent roles. More than 40% of those who responded to the survey had been furloughed, made redundant or had work cancelled or postponed, and for 80% the priority is to find a new job or freelance work. Of more than 250 BAME respondents to a survey, 40% said they have run out of money already or are about to do so.

To coincide with the survey, Creative Access has also launched #MoreThanWords, a call to action for businesses to make a whole-hearted commitment to bringing in and uplifting under-represented talent within the creative industries. The #MoreThanWords pledge involves committing to hiring diverse candidates; supporting staff from under-represented groups to progress to senior positions; and creating an inclusive workplace where new and existing diverse staff feel valued.

The Creative Access research chimes with preliminary research findings from arts advocacy collective Inc Arts, which shows that Black, Asian and ethnically diverse people are not only over-represented in the freelance sector, but when compared to their white counterparts in both freelance and staff roles, they are already experiencing higher rates of redundancy as a result of the pandemic.

Survey responses found that, while 44% of the wider sector is freelance, this figure rises to 51% for ethnically diverse people in the arts. Despite Black people being more at risk of death from coronavirus, the biggest concern of most respondents was not for their health, but fear of redundancy and job loss.

Their concerns are borne out by the research: not only are job losses falling most heavily on freelancers, but they are falling disproportionately on Black, Asian and ethnically diverse workers – regardless of contractual status.
 
Research into career progression will be published later in the summer.

Announcement of reopening brings little cheer to music and theatre

Belfast's Grand Opera House
24 Jun 2020

Although museums and galleries in England and Scotland can prepare to reopen, the  performing arts remain in lockdown and fears grow for the future of venue-based organisations.

Culture will play a defining role in Scotland’s recovery, says Advisory Group

Internal view of the Scottish Parliament
24 Jun 2020

Creating a National Arts Force of freelance and gig economy workers to work in schools, care homes and communities is among recommendations to the Scottish Government for the preservation of jobs and recovery in the creative sector.

Cautious re-start for museums, galleries and cinemas

Tate Modern taken from inside the hall
24 Jun 2020

The Government is encouraging the sector to welcome the public back, but museum directors warn that “permission to reopen does not resolve the huge issues currently facing the sector”.

City of Culture programme to nurture next generation leaders

23 Jun 2020

15 up-and-coming leaders will be joining the City of Culture Leadership Programme that will run across the next two years as part of Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture.

The aim of the programme is to strengthen and diversify the next generation of leadership for Coventry’s creative sector to reflect the diversity and cultural strengths of the city.

The successful applicants include filmmakers, entrepreneurs, artists, DJs and writers, as well as dancers, event organisers, community group leaders and clothing company creators, who will all receive support and funding to continue their work within Coventry’s creative community. As well as receiving mentoring and access to training, the programme will provide the leaders with a digital space which will enable them to continue networking and sharing ideas and updates.

Applicants who did not make it onto the programme will be supported from the Coventry City of Culture Trust with microgrants to fund their cultural and artistic business ideas, and support their professional and personal development.

£9m needed to plug Off West End income gap

23 Jun 2020

OffWestEnd, the group that supports, promotes and celebrates the work of over 100 independent, alternative and fringe theatres in London, says these venues are estimated to lose between £7.6m and £9.2m in income for the 6 months post lockdown. Reflecting the situation of 100 venues, their new report analyses their needs and identifies the amount required, pointing out that they will all need support to sustain them through the lockdown.

Designers join forces to influence post-Covid planning

22 Jun 2020

A group of leading theatre designers have joined forces to form #scenechange, a community that brings designers together to tackle the challenge of navigating a way out of the Covid-19 crisis. What began as a small email exchange between a group of set and costume designers has grown into a community of over 700 members in all disciplines and at all levels in the theatre design profession. The group will  provide a platform for, and raise the voice of, those involved in theatre design, including freelance creatives from all theatre disciplines. Zoom meetings are being held to discuss and share experiences. 

As many as 40 areas of the theatre industry depend on design work, and #scenechange will advocate for workers in these areas to ensure their roles within the industry are recognised as plans for the future are drawn up. The group will engage with buildings, directors and producers nationwide, to support and inform the process back to production. A spokesperson said “This is a moment of reset in our industry and we believe the design community can be an essential part of the transformation that will see theatre buildings being reopened and the ways in which theatre can be reimagined. As shapers of theatrical space through the use of people and place, our work is pivotal in connecting an entire ecosystem within the theatre industry. We are ideally positioned to be at the heart of any discussions about how theatre operates in the future.”

New contracts will make artists share financial risk when live events return

19 Jun 2020

Global entertainment company Live Nation is planning changes to its contracts, aiming to transfer some of the risks associated with staging events onto the artists after the Covid-19 shutdown. These include an across-the-board drop in fees and guarantees of around 20% . When shows are cancelled due to poor ticket sales, artists will get 25% of their fee, except under ‘force majeure’, such as a second spike of COVID or changes to physical distancing rules, when the artist would get no fee at all.

£32m funding shortfall as demand for ACE funds outstrips supply

a word cloud image featuring phrases such as savings, emergency fund, 3 to 6 months, safety net and others
19 Jun 2020

Two-thirds of organisations and almost three quarters of individuals who applied to Arts Council England for emergency funds were successful, but 4,000 applicants were left disappointed.

Council to take over cultural services as Trust backs out

19 Jun 2020

The charity operating leisure and cultural services for Peterborough is handing its contract back to the Council. Since 2010 a charitable Trust, Vivacity, has been running cultural services on behalf of the Council including 10 libraries, a museum, arts and cultural festivals and the Key Theatre, which last year staged 382 performances and sold more than 77,000 tickets. It is predicting a loss of income of £8m because of social distancing and reduced capacities, but has sufficient financial reserves to manage the transfer of the contract to the council and to honour outstanding commitments.

Delay to planned Grantium upgrade

Photo shows a youngish man screaming into a telephone in apparent frustration
19 Jun 2020

Arts Council England is preparing to “make changes to Grantium where we can”, including an improved user interface, but the upgrade is currently on hold due to Coronavirus pressures.

Creative industries are on the brink of disaster, economists predict

18 Jun 2020

Economic modelling by global forecasting firm Oxford Economics predicts the turnover of the UK’s creative industries will contract by £74 billion in 2020. Despite the Job Retention Scheme, they project that 119,000 permanent creative workers will be made redundant by the end of the year and 1 in 5 jobs are expected to be lost. Of these, music, performing and visual arts are projected to lose £11 billion in revenue and 178,000 jobs as theatres, recording studios and concert venues remain closed. The music industry is expected to be particularly hit hard by the collapse in live music and touring. Theatre, projected to lose £3 billion in revenue and a quarter of permanent jobs, will potentially lose a lot more if audiences prove reluctant to return to venues, as some surveys suggest. Crafts could lose £513m in revenue and almost half of jobs as practitioners suffer from the impact of closed workshops and retail spaces. Museums and galleries, now likely to reopen in July under social distancing constraints, are estimated to lose £743 million in revenue and 5% of jobs.

The Oxford Economics report, The Projected Economic Impact of Covid-19 on the UK Creative Industries, was commissioned by the Creative Industries Federation. Its CEO, Caroline Norbury, said: “Our creative industries have been one of the UK’s biggest success stories but what today’s report makes clear is that, without additional government support, we are heading for a cultural catastrophe. If nothing is done, thousands of world-leading creative businesses are set to close their doors, hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost and billions will be lost to our economy. The repercussions would have a devastating and irreversible effect on our country.

"We urgently need a Cultural Renewal Fund for those in the creative sector who will be hit hardest, including those industries who will be latest to return to work, those businesses unable to operate fully whilst maintaining social distancing and those creative professionals who continue to fall through the gaps of government support measures. We must also avoid a cliff-edge on vital measures such as the Job Retention Scheme and the Self Employed Income Support Scheme, which have been a financial lifeline for many parts of the creative industries and cannot be cut off overnight."

Theatres Trust garners pro bono support for small vulnerable theatres

18 Jun 2020

A Skills Bank that will match theatres with experts willing to offer pro bono advice on preparing to reopen is being created by the Theatres Trust, and leading theatre consultants and suppliers to the industry are already signing up. The national public advisory body for theatres believes 136 small local theatre operators are at risk of closing in the next three months, and is also repurposing its small grants programme to help them cover the additional costs of reopening and make the necessary adaptations for increased hygiene and social distancing.

The Trust has appointed an additional adviser to help the venues with business planning, budgeting and cashflow, fundraising and building maintenance. Around half are run by small charities serving their local communities and have spent the lockdown supporting them, including delivering shopping and prescriptions, and making PPE.

Positive outcomes are emerging from online music teaching, survey finds

a young male learning acoustic guitar from a female
17 Jun 2020

Lockdown is transforming the way music teachers deliver instrument tuition now and in the future, with 87% currently adapting their lessons for delivery online.

Musicians warn the choral landscape is under threat

17 Jun 2020

An open letter is aiming to "give voice to the millions of people who sing in choirs in this country", calling for church leaders to have the courage to speak out on the importance of singing together in churches. Signed by prominent music directors, conductors and composers including Sarah Connolly, John Rutter and Simon Halsey, it says the government needs to show how choirs can be restarted on an equal footing with theme parks, shopping and football.

New student accommodation in Leeds to include artist studios

17 Jun 2020

Plans submitted for the construction of a seven-storey residence for 411 students in Leeds include a gallery and artist studio space to be managed by East St Arts. The mixed-use development on the edge of the city centre would include commissioned public artworks to be integrated into the public realm and external student areas.

Marlborough's pub home 'no longer fit for purpose'

17 Jun 2020

Brighton-based Marlborough Productions, the company behind the Marlborough Pub & Theatre’s cultural programme, have left their historic LGBTQ+ venue and are looking for a new home in another accessible community space in the city. In the meanwhile they will present performances, parties and community gatherings at other venues and spaces in Brighton & Hove and continue to develop onnline, local and touring projects. Co-Artistic Directors Tarik Elmoutawakil and David Sheppeard said they have “done all we can to influence The Marlborough’s leaseholders, Laine Pub Co, to improve access and look after this historic building which dates back to 1784. We have come to the difficult conclusion that the building is no longer fit for purpose for the communities we serve.”

Cultural recovery should be “fair, just and green”, says climate action group

Climate change protestors outside Burlington House
16 Jun 2020

The revival of the sector should include targeted public investment, clear policy signals and the implementation of Climate Change Act obligations through the Cultural Renewal strategy.

Scottish Government announces financial life raft for Edinburgh Fringe

a group of costumed street performers at Edinburgh Fringe
16 Jun 2020

Scotland appears to be the first country in the UK to make a direct Government loan to ensure a cultural organisation can survive the current financial crisis.

Authors call on publishers to address their own lack of diversity

16 Jun 2020

In an open letter to the 'big five' UK publishing houses, high profile authors - including some who have recently shared their experiences of racism - are calling for sweeping reforms to make the overwhelmingly white industry more inclusive at all levels. The letter raises concerns that “British publishers are raising awareness of racial inequality without significantly addressing their own”, and notes the absence of any black people on the boards of major publishers. 

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