Four UK schools make top 10 performing arts universities

04 Mar 2020

Four UK schools have been ranked in the global top 10 universities for performing arts.

The 2020 QS World University Rankings placed The Royal College of Music second to The Julliard School in the United States. Royal Academy of Music ranked fourth, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama sixth and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland was ninth place.

READ MORE: Guildhall School of Music and Drama closed after teacher contracts coronavirus

Guildhall and the Royal College of Music each gained one place on last year's rankings. The Royal Academy of Music dropped one place, having been ranked third since 2017.

Guildhall School of Music and Drama closed over coronavirus

03 Mar 2020

Guildhall School of Music and Drama has closed for up to two weeks after a teacher contracted coronavirus.

An email from Principal Lynne Williams said the man “came into contact with a limited number of students” but that all performances, classes, workshops and meetings have been cancelled as a precaution. Students have not been quarantined.

The neighbouring Barbican Centre remains open as usual.

Arts Council of Wales: ‘Don’t tell us you’re underfunded’

03 Mar 2020

Welsh arts organisations have been told to model for a 10% funding cut amid the council’s drive to reach new audiences.

Creative arts degrees offer 'negative' financial benefit

03 Mar 2020

Financial returns for creative arts graduates are negative or close to zero - depending on your gender.

Research from the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) says one in five students would be better off if they skipped university altogther. An analysis of tax data found creative arts graduates had the worst financial returns of any degree subject. "The losses are substantial," IFS economist Ben Waltmann said.

Men studying creative arts can expect negative financial returns across their lifetime, compared to men who studied medicine or economics whose average returns are more than half a million pounds.

On average, financial returns for female arts graduates over a lifetime are close to zero, compared to £250,000 for women with degrees in law, economics or medicine.



Composers call for end to ‘blind’ selection processes

03 Mar 2020

It’s an increasingly popular method for improving diversity in music – but sector bodies say anonymised selection is ineffective.

No 10 vetoes Mary Beard as museum trustee 'over pro-Europe views'

02 Mar 2020

Classicist Mary Beard has been rejected as a trustee of the British Museum, allegedly for expressing pro-Europe views.

No. 10 did not support Beard's appointment - a rare rejection of a proposed trustee and an aberration from the usual 'arms-length' relationship between the government and museum. The Guardian reports the museum now plans to make Beard one of five trustees it can appoint without Downing Street's approval.

An unnamed former British Museum board member said the decision was "more about political correctness than respected classical scholarship".

Beard has often shared her pro-Remain views on social media, although she would not be the only member of the museum's board to do so. Grayson Perry, on the board since 2015, has expressed support for the Labour party and Remain.


ACE becomes Living Wage Employer

02 Mar 2020

Arts Council England (ACE) has committed to paying its staff at least the real Living Wage.

About 580 employees will be assured at least £10.75 per hour if they live in London or £9.30 in the rest of the UK.

Human Resources Director Ian Matthews said he was proud of the change: "We believe a hard day's work deserves a fair day's pay."


According to ACE's latest Equality and Diversity report, its gender pay gap grew in 2019. Female staff used to earn on average 10p more an hour than male staff; now male employees earn an average of 62p per hour more than females. 

The funder has also asked its contractors and suppliers to commit to a longer term plan to pay third-party staff like cleaners the Living Wage, although it has no ability to enforce this.

Chair Nicholas Serota told ArtsProfessional its council would discuss the possibility of making payment of a Living Wage part of National Portfolio funding agreements.

"We know people who work in the arts are too lowly paid but we can't just wave a magic wand."

National Plan for Music Education: ‘A once in a decade opportunity’

02 Mar 2020

Will the Government’s new plan satisfy the sector and solve the shortcomings of music education?

McDonald's plays classical music to deter youths

02 Mar 2020

A McDonalds's restaurant in Kilmanock is playing classical music to deter youths from congregating there.

Groups of young people are known to gather outside the town centre site late in the evening. Staff are sometimes forced to remove them if they become boisterous or rowdy, the Daily Record reports.

A McDonald’s spokesperson said: “We play a range of music at different times of the day to create an atmosphere that is welcoming for our customers.

“Classical music is part of our playlist and is used in a number of our restaurants across the UK and Ireland.

“We’ve found it can create a soothing environment and encourages people to relax.”

Domingo to play Royal Opera House

02 Mar 2020

The Royal Opera House is keeping scheduled appearances by Placido Domingo despite a sexual harassment investigation concluding he had behaved inappropriately.

The singer left his position as General Director of the Los Angeles Opera following allegations from 27 women. He initially denied the claims but now says he accepts "full responsibility" for his actions.


His performances in Madrid were cancelled last week after the investigation by an American performers' union was published.

The Royal Opera House said Domingo will still appear in performances of 'Don Carlo' at Covent Garden in June.

‘Diversity deadline’ won’t affect future NPO funding

28 Feb 2020

Despite ACE threats of sanctions, most NPOs are ruled to have ‘met’ diversity targets – with only 11 facing exclusion from future funding rounds.

£250m regeneration plan for Huddersfield

28 Feb 2020

Kirklees Council is backing a £250m plan to regenerate Huddersfield town centre.

Council Leader Shabir Pandor said the "Huddersfield Blueprint", first revealed last summer, is a delivery plan: "We need to start getting stuff done."

The scheme includes turning Huddersfield Market into "a social space which offers unique, personal, ethical shopping experience alongside opportunities to test ideas, eat, learn and be entertained".

Scotland’s new Culture Strategy: ‘Culture must be valued in itself’

28 Feb 2020

The long-awaited document aims to create a more diverse cultural sector but contains no new measures to improve artists’ pay.

Lewisham theatre 'must close' for safety reasons

28 Feb 2020

The Broadway Theatre in Catford must close while work is carried out on its building.

The theatre is expected to remain closed for most of Lewisham's year as London Borough of Culture.

READ MORE: Failure 'key to success': Lewisham and Croydon win London Borough of Culture title

Lewisham Councillor Liam Curran said the works involved "urgent health and safety requirements" - a full electrical rewiring of the building and an asbestos check are needed - and it was not possible or safe to keep the theatre open.

Where are all the women? Gender parity ‘has still not been reached’

27 Feb 2020

Researchers and representatives of women in theatre say Arts Council England ‘doesn’t push’ on gender as much as other protected characteristics.

National Poetry Centre planned for Leeds

27 Feb 2020

Poet Laureate Simon Armitage has announced his goal of establishing a National Poetry Centre in Leeds.

Seizing the opportunity his laureateship offers to initiate education projects promoting literature and literacy, Armitage says he wants to "bring poetry in line with other national art forms that have their own headquarters and venues, such as the National Theatre and the National Gallery".

The collaboration will be led by Leeds City Council, Leeds 2023, the University of Leeds and other partners.

Dancer sues over alleged 'heavy lifting' injury

27 Feb 2020

A dance student is seeking £500,000 compensation after she was badly injured in class, allegedly because she was made to life a heavier partner.

Charlotte Vanweersch, 26, says she sustained disabling neck and shoulder injuries during a "throwing and lifting" routine at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. She claims she was not taught to perform the lift safely with a heavier partner; the school says she chose her partner and was given "appropriate instruction".


The school's lawyers told the court “it is to be expected that there is always a risk of injury associated with physical activity".

"Dance is no exception. An appropriate risk assessment was conducted which recognised this risk.”

Vanweersch’s lawyer said specialists were assessing whether the accident had left her with “chronic regional pain syndrome”. If she does have the condition, her claim could be worth £500,000.

Lenny Henry to head diversity institute

27 Feb 2020

Actor Lenny Henry will be the figurehead of a new research centre for diversity initiatives in broadcasting.

The Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity will open late March at Birmingham City University, which has committed to fund the project for five years.


Former BBC Scotland Current Affairs Chief Marcus Ryder, who is one of the facility's founding members, said it will analyse the impact of the industry’s diversity schemes, highlight success stories and scrutinise failed experiements.  

In its first year, the Sir Lenny Henry Centre will focus on ethnic diversity.

London theatre attendance drops

26 Feb 2020

Renovations at musical theatres appear to have caused a drop in London theatregoing last year.

More than 15 million people visited commercial West End and major subsidised theatres in 2019, generating £799m of box office revenue, the Society of London Theatre's (SOLT) ticket sales show.


But attendance was 1.4% lower than in 2018. Musicals attracted 2% less audience members. SOLT says this reflects the fact that three of London’s largest musical houses – the Dominion Theatre, the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and the newly renamed Sondheim Theatre – were dark for a significant proportion of the year.

President Kenny Wax celebrated the "bouyancy" of London's theatre industry given there were 371 dark weeks in 2019 compared to 207 the previous year.

"Audiences remain hungry for a quality live experience, evidenced by the unprecedented percentage of seats filled in 2019 (80.7%)."


Cultural 'vision' for West Yorkshire under way

26 Feb 2020

Plans to integrate culture into economic planning in West Yorkshire are being promoted by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

The partnership's blueprint for the region involves embedding cultural considerations "within all place based work and place planning", developing the creative sector, increasing employment in arts and culture and encouraging "a growth in audiences and participants of all cultural activity".

A "vision" document says the LEP will work closely with West Yorkshire Combined Authority to deliver against that framework to give residents and visitors "a better quality of life".



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