Plans for a national furlough skills exchange programme take shape

four people from mixed race backgrounds sitting in an office high-fiving each other
18 May 2020

Fears that the current crisis is leading to “an incredible level of retrenching” on diversity have prompted actions to launch a scheme that will enable furloughed staff and diverse-led organisations to share skills.

Performing arts institution prepares for expansion in Liverpool

18 May 2020

A £15m campus for Liverpool’s media, music and performance arts institution, LMA, will open in September, offering degree and BTEC qualifications in subjects including acting, film and TV production, games art, and animation. The site will include film studios, dance studios, music rehearsal rooms, classrooms and recording studios.

Southport Theatre operator calls in liquidators

17 May 2020

Coronavirus is being blamed for the collapse of Southport Theatre and Convention Centre. Since 2018 it has been operated by 'caretaker' management company Bliss Space (Southport) Ltd, pending decisions by Sefton Council about its long-term future. For eighteen years prior to this it was operated by Ambassador Theatre Group.

Refund scandal could tarnish the reputation of the theatre industry

people standing casullay outside the Savoy Theatre in London
15 May 2020

Ticket buyers fighting to claim refunds from ATG Tickets have found the company is not automatically refunding transaction fees, claiming this is in line with the industry’s Code of Practice.

Independent festivals could face oblivion under refund claims

15 May 2020

With at least 90% of UK festivals being cancelled this summer, festival organisers could be facing refunds of up to £800m, according to the UK’s Association of Independent Festivals. It is warning that 60 of its 65 members could collapse under refund requests if the government fails to take “meaningful action” to support them.

Research body campaigns for culture and creativity

young girl wearing a virtual reality headset
15 May 2020

As the Arts and Humanities Research Council sets out to demonstrate the role digital developments can play in arts and culture, some academics believe it is overstepping its brief.

Early applicants were more likely to be winners in ACE emergency funding rounds

15 May 2020

Demand for emergency grants to support non-NPOs and individual artists through the Covid crisis could outstrip the funding available by up to £74m.

Music lobby gathers steam and support

Musicians' Union 'keep music live' sticker
14 May 2020

Proposals for a taskforce to help ‘get the music industry back on its feet’ and a petition to increase royalties for streamed music are among the latest measures aimed at putting pressure on the Government to support the music industry.

Museums have risen to the pandemic challenges, report concludes

14 May 2020

Museums have been "quick and proactive in their response to the pandemic, shifting their focus to addressing needs within their communities", but systems must be reviewed and  restructured in order to weather future storms, according to a report by the Network of European Museum Organisations. Based on nearly 1000 responses to its survey among museums in 48 countries between 24 March and 30 April 2020, NEMO concludes that new measures of success should be considered, to reflect the way they have showed "solidarity and support for their communities mid-crisis".

Its three core recommendations are for economic support to stabilise museums' operations and keep their staff and structures alive; for acknowledgement by stakeholders that investment in digital services and infrastructures is needed for the future in the future; and for governments to support museums to become more resilient to future crises.




Fears grow that ‘risk aversion’ will undermine new work

open book with a pencil on top plus a mug and a laptop all displayed on a desk
14 May 2020

New guidelines have been drawn up to protect playwrights whose future work is under threat, existing work is being streamed free, and who are under pressure to accept digital work for low rates.

Delay Brexit or the music sector faces devastation, says report

anti-Brexit banner being held up at a demo
14 May 2020

Brexit fall-out is biting harder as musicians find it more difficult to secure European opportunities while uncertainty over the terms of a trade deal remains.

Royal Albert Hall under threat of closure, says CEO

13 May 2020

Social distancing rules make it impossible to run the Royal Albert Hall safely, according to CEO Craig Hassal, who has told the Sunday Telegraph that the 2m space requirement will force the 150-year-old venue to cut its capacity to just 30 per cent, and this would make it unviable. Anything below 85-90 per cent capacity is a night when the venue doesn't make money, he said.

Storytelling harnessed to support creative SMEs in rural areas

13 May 2020

A two-year £1m storytelling project led by Robert Gordon University (RGU) in Orkney will be developing a digital platform to support small and medium enterprises (SME) in the creative industries in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Finland, Sweden and Russia. The platform will host trails, movies, information about locations and events, and stories that celebrate language, dialect and culture, economic heritage, traditions, history, folklore, landscape and archaeology in each country. Project partners will work with SMEs in their areas to stimulate economic development by bringing the stories to life through new products or services, which will then be mapped via the platform.

Elsa Cox, RGU’s Orkney Development Manager said Orkney’s strong history of storytelling brings “ large numbers of visitors to the islands annually, keen to experience the landscape and local culture for themselves. She continued: “Creative SME’s in the North of Scotland face similar economic challenges to those based across the project area due to location, distance to market and even lack of internet connection. With the potential to make it easier to do business sustainably in remote regions, the StoryTagging project has a great deal to offer locally.”

The project builds on the Orkney-based Trails to Tales pilot project which saw the creation of the Orkney Folklore Trail App. Developed in response to an opportunity identified by the local community, and in collaboration with local storytellers, musicians and illustrators, the app shares stories as part of a trail encouraging engagement with the landscape and distribution of visitors to ease pressure on World Heritage sites.

France commits 12-month support to seasonal cultural workers

13 May 2020

Financial support for 'intermittent artists', making authors eligible for a 'solidarity fund for the self-employed', and guaranteeing bank loans for small festivals are among the measurers being set up to support the cultural sector in France over the next 12 months. President Macron has promised the government will not abandon the industry, and said his govenrnment will put everything in place "to ensure that the independent (workforce) can remain independent".

Some redundancies likely in Scotland's visual arts

13 May 2020

Three-quarters of Scottish Contemporary Art Network (SCAN) members lost on average half their normal income in April, and 29% of individual artists lost all their income. The actions organisations are taking in response to the pandemic include making staff redundant, which 15% of organisations said was fairly likely. 70% said they are likely to cancel programmes and projects and two-thirds expect to see a lower positive impact on the public. The findings have emerged from a survey of 108 respondents - organisations and individuals - working within the visual art sector in Scotland.

New company to champion women playwrights

13 May 2020

A new not-for-profit company is providing a forum for writers who identify as women. Writers Tori Allen-Martin and Sarah Henley have set up Burn Bright to "create a level playing field in the arts", on the basis that writers who identify as women "are still woefully underrepresented on the big stages and we fear that the current climate of 'safe bets' and 'big names' with 'tested material' will only serve to increase the gender gap, not to mention a lack of diverse representation in stories, and eradicating working class and benefit class talents."

Burn Bright will start with two projects. Time Bank, a networking hub for industry-led mentorship, will give women writers the chance to connect one-on-one with industry professionals willing to offer mentorship, feedback and advice on a range of topics affecting playwrights. Better In Person will comprise a series of short plays by women, inspired by the general public’s stories of conversations that would be Better In Person, but are happening online due to the ongoing lockdown. The series will be commissioned specifically to be shared digitally via Zoom. 


Concerns about crowds and social distancing will slow visitors' return to museusm and galleries, research finds

13 May 2020

A growing number of people are anticipating visiting a tourist attraction in the next 3 to 6 months, according to a tracking study published by ALVA, the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions. Perodic waves of online research are being conducted among adults who visited at least one attraction in the UK in 2019. In the last week of March only 21% were expecting to attend within six months, but by the last week in April that figure had grown to 48%.

Relatively few people will be rushing back when the doors to these attractions reopen though. The research shows that only 16% expect to go back as soon as the opportunity arises, while 54% will 'wait and see what happens for a short while' and 29% are 'unikely to want to visit for a long time'. Fear of crowds and concerns about whether an attraction can maintain social distancing will be the biggest influence over decisions to visit.

Local authority leaders propose a coordinated post-Covid ‘reset’

Reading Hexagon theatre
08 May 2020

Delivering solutions to social and economic problems after the pandemic will require policy-makers in different areas to “re-think received wisdom” about how they should function, and collaborate more closely rather than ‘jostle for space at the table’.

Union speaks out on recompense for artists whose work is streamed

man watching a streamed performance on a TV or computer screen
08 May 2020

As ad hoc agreements are hastily put in place to enable performances to be streamed to audiences at home, AP has discovered an ecosystem that lacks a transparent process for creatives to claim repeat fees for recordings of their work now going online.

Equality still a distant dream in publishing, report finds

three women sitting at a table with laptops chatting and smiling
07 May 2020

Tokenistic diversity schemes, middle-class professional networks and a heavy London bias in the literary and publishing industries mean nothing less than sweeping changes will be needed for the talent of working class writers to be recognised.


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