More businesses have closed in the arts than any other sector, figures show

We're closed due to Covid-19 sign outside a public building
29 May 2020

A quarter of UK employees are on furlough, but in the arts the figure is around two-thirds, Government figures reveal.

Museums and galleries face new challenges as re-opening approaches

man and woman sitting on a bench looking at a painting in a gallery - view from behind the couple
29 May 2020

Museums and galleries are preparing to address the conflicting challenges of attracting audiences back whilst having to postpone the most popular exhibitions until social distancing measures are lifted.

Culture Secretary under fire for Taskforce membership

Julian Knight MP, Chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee
29 May 2020

BAME arts leaders, the community arts sector and the Chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee have all raised concerns that those with the ear of Government are not representative of the sector.

Sector fights for the survival of the self employed workforce

a man sitting behind a drum-kit in the foreground and a man standing in the background with a keyboard
28 May 2020

A chorus of dismay is growing in response to the deepening financial crisis facing many of the artistic and creative workers who form the largest part of the arts sector, and on whom the UK's arts infrastructure depends.

Societal trends have produced a fertile market for British crafts

stylish lounge with classic upholstered furniture
28 May 2020

The growth of online sales has expanded the craft market and provided more opportunities for disabled people, but fears are growing over the impact of Brexit, rising costs and competition forcing prices down.

Review to assess the cultural tourism potential of South Yorkshire

28 May 2020

Independent consultants are examining the economic and social value of culture, arts and heritage in South Yorkshire. Their report will inform the ambition of  Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis to "make the most of the region's cultural offer" and attract tourism when it is safe to do so.

Race Equality Commission to review Equity’s anti-racism activities

rear view of protestors on an anti racism march holding banners
28 May 2020

The Commission will be asking fundamental questions about how the union organises, represents and fights for Black and minority ethnic workers, hoping to achieve reconciliation after a recent period of acrimony.

Artists and environmentalists to form climate change think tank

26 May 2020

Inverleith House in the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is to be rebranded 'Climate House'. Under threat of closure until recently, it will be at the heart of a three-year project to bring together artists, environmentalists, scientists, activists and policymakers to form a new think tank called the General Ecology Network. The project will be funded by a £150,000 award from the Outset Contemporary Art Fund and will address key issues surrounding the climate crisis.

Arts centre apologises for anti-Tory tweets

26 May 2020

A spokesman for Belfast's Duncairn Art and Cultural Centre has apologised for a series of tweets shared on its social media account referring to the row over government advisor Dominic Cummings. They called the Tories “liars” and described the English electorate at "gullible, right wing fanatics". The spokesman said the employee who posted the tweets mistakenly thought they were being issued from a personal account, and that the Centre is "proud to be a cross-community, non-political organisation". The employee "has been warned about future conduct and removed from the social media admin role.”

Contemporary culture holds its own in international tourism

26 May 2020

One of very few bright spots reported in the British Tourist Authority's Annual Report for 2018/2019 is international impressions of the strength of culture in the UK. Although the UK fell to 4th place in the overall national brand rankings, overtaken by both Canada and France, perceptions grew that the country is "interesting and exciting for contemporary culture". On this attribute it has risen one place to third in the league table. It was ranked 7th for cultural heritage.

Despite this, the UK's share of international tourism fell last year in both volume and value terms. The BTA report notes that while inbound tourism spending in the UK dropped by 7%, spending elsewhere in Europe rose by 5%, Asia-Pacific by 8%, and the Middle East by 4%, though spending in the Americas saw no change on the previous year. 

The two least positive attributes of the UK in the eyes of the rest of the world are 'natural beauty' (ranked 26th) and 'welcome'. The country ranked 16th when assessed against the statement "If visited, people would make me feel very welcome" - falling one place for the third consecutive year. 



Lifeline for Brighton Hippodrome

26 May 2020

A £7,000 grant from the Theatres Trust will support Brighton Hippodrome CIC to address the planning issues and legal deliberations around the restoration of the Hippodrome, a large-scale Frank Matcham-designed circus-theatre. The building is "the finest surviving example of its type in the country" and has been on the Theatres Trust’s Theatres at Risk Register since the list began in 2006. It is now reportedly up for sale again by the company that was planning for it to become a boutique hotel with shops.

Levels of digital engagement dip

26 May 2020

The fourth week of a tracking study examining trends in consumer engagement with digital culture has found a downward trend in weekly consumption of some cultural activities, and less frequent consumption of others. The number watching filmed performances of theatre, concerts and/or dance shows online in the past week fell to 14% from a high of 19% two weeks ago.

Fewer people are watching live social media streams or broadcasts; looking at art online; engaging with online learning; watching free to access videos; and playing online multiplayer video games every week. The popularity of watching videos made by other users; looking at, commenting on, or ‘liking’ social media posts; using video software for social activities; engaging with social media by celebrities; and sharing images or videos not created by themselves is also in decline. A daily consumption pattern has shifted towards 'less than daily'.

Turner Prize 2020 to be shared due to pandemic disruption

26 May 2020

Next month the prize jury will announce bursaries of £10,000 to go to 10 artists, instead of a shortlist announcement followed by a £25,000 winner in December. Prize organiser Tate Britain said the timetable for preparing for the autumn exhibition would have been unachievable under the current restrictions, and instead it wants to help support a larger selection of artists.




Studies reveal threat to museums across the world

26 May 2020

Studies by UNESCO and the International Council of Museums have found that almost 9 out of 10 of the world's 95,000 museums have had to close at least temporarily since the start of the pandemic. The United Nations cultural agency has warned that nearly 13 per cent may never reopen. In Africa and the Small Island Developing States, only 1 in 20 museums have been able to offer digital content to their audiences.


Refund woes continue as consumers berate ticketing practices

view across a pop concert from the back of an auditorium
26 May 2020

Huge public anger over ticketing companies’ foot-dragging approach to offering refunds for cancelled and postponed events continues to boil on social media.

Ministerial taskforce to discuss reopening, but not funding

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden
22 May 2020

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden is asking senior representatives across the DCMS portfolio to find “creative ways to get these sectors up and running again”, but there is no talk of a cash injection to secure their future.

Local venues could be key to keeping audiences engaged

Back to Blackbrick
22 May 2020

Rural touring could win back audiences first, as confidence in village hall venues is higher than for other types of auditorium, research finds.

Inquiry lays bare the impending collapse of the cultural sector ecology

audiences at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
22 May 2020

Commercial operators reveal eye-watering losses and other non-subsidised organisations sit on the brink of ruin in the absence of financial support from the Government for those ineligible for existing emergency funding streams.

No progress on multi-entry EU visas for musicians

21 May 2020

Hilary Benn MP, Chair of the Exiting the European Union Committee for this parliament, has asked Culture Minister John Whittingdale what assessment he has made of the potential economic effect on UK musicians of leaving the transitional period without an agreement with the EU, and challenged him to explain whether it is Government policy to negotiate an agreement on multi-entry touring visas for UK musicians wishing to perform in the European Union.

In his replies Whittingdale said "We understand the diverse circumstances of companies, organisations and individual practitioners and how they may need to adapt as we leave the EU". He told Benn the Government recognises that the strength of the sector "depends on musicians and crew being able to move quickly and easily between countries, taking necessary equipment with them.”

He referred to ‘mode 4’ within the World Trade Organisation’s  General Agreement on Trade in Services, which concerns the movement of people providing services across borders, and said: “On temporary entry for business purposes (mode 4), a reciprocal agreement based on best precedent will mean that UK citizens will be able to undertake some business activities in the EU without a work permit, on a short-term basis.

“The same would apply for EU citizens making business visits to the UK. The precise details, including range of activities, documentation needed, and the time limit, will be negotiated.”

He said the Government wants "a relationship with the EU based on friendly cooperation, centred on free trade on the lines of the free trade agreement the EU has with Canada". But in the event that a comprehensive free trade agreement cannot be agreed, "the transition period will end and the UK will operate under the deal agreed with the EU in 2019 and an arrangement similar to that between Australia and the EU"...

"In all circumstances, we expect UK musicians’ work to continue to be an export that is highly valued in the EU as it is across the world."

Royal Lyceum to be mothballed to protect the future of the venue

21 May 2020

Two-thirds of staff at Edinburgh's Royal Lyceum Theatre have been warned they may lose their jobs as the theatre goes into "hibernation" after running up losses of more than £700,000 in the last two months. It has ruled out reopening until at least spring of 2021 as social distancing measures are thought to be impractical and financially unviable for staging shows at the venue.


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