Arts workers get lowest pay rise of any sector

25 May 2022

Low pay and real-terms depreciation of salaries could ‘severely damage’ arts sector amid record number of job vacancies, advocates say.

Festival commissions homeless for operas 

27 Apr 2022

A new year-long festival will encourage artists and audiences to view their cities through the eyes of their homeless residents.

Streetwise Opera will commission nine composers, three choreographers, three designers and a filmmaker to work with more than 200 people who have been homeless for the festival, titled Re:sound. 

Working in London, Nottingham and Manchester, they aim to co-create nine micro-operas to be performed in March 2023.

The charity is partnering with organisations that address homelessness to expand its reach and create connections between artists and participants. Six of the operas will be written and composed in hostels and day centres.

“Staying creative is very important when you are recovering from homelessness, because it lightens your heart and inspires you to achieve more,” said Denise Alison, a participant in weekly workshops run by Streetwise Opera at the Southbank Centre. 

Streetwise’s Artistic Director Martin Constantine said the participating artists have “the ambition to reimagine the boundaries of opera and co-create work that aims to invite audiences, especially those who may think that opera is not for them, to rediscover their cities through a different lens”.

Increasing cultural opportunity everywhere

yellow sunflower petals
06 Apr 2022

It’s a fundamental matter of social justice that cultural provision and opportunities are so unequal. Richard Watts argues something must be done.

UAL plans 30 online degree courses

05 Apr 2022

University of the Arts London (UAL) will offer 30 online and "low residency" degree courses in the 2022/23 academic year.

The plan, part of the university's new 10-year strategy, could double student numbers, providing another 5,000 full-time equivalent places per year, or up to 15,000 part-time students.

It will invest in its online infrastructure to achieve this.

"By growing student numbers here in London and expanding online, we can provide more students, whoever, or wherever they may be, with a high-quality creative education," the strategy reads.

"Our strategy will deliver quality at scale, so that we are defined not by how many students we exclude, but by how many we include."



Permanent free entry to children's book museum

05 Apr 2022

Seven Stories, the national centre for children's books, is making entry free for good.

The museum removed admission fees on a trial basis in February and received record visitor numbers - 7,500 in a single week.

Since free entry aligns with its overall engagement strategy, it has decided to keep the model permanently.

CEO Wendy Elliott said attendance at the Newcastle-upon-Tyne site now far exceeds pre-pandemic levels.

"It was fantastic to see so many new visitors enjoying our galleries and events, from our region and further afield.

"Our goal is to put stories at the heart of every childhood, no matter what background or place you grow up in, and in order to do that we need be as accessible as possible to as many children as possible."

Event organisers optimistic about future

05 Apr 2022

Worries about ticket sales, rising costs and staff shortages remain front of mind but organisers have "a much thicker skin" than before Covid.

Children’s theatre ticket scheme doubles offering

04 Apr 2022

Children’s theatre Polka is making 4,000 free school tickets available before the end of the school year through Curtain Up! 

The commitment doubles the scheme’s previous allocation, which offers free theatre tickets to primary school children from disadvantaged locations in Merton and surrounding boroughs.

Since reopening last autumn, Polka has hosted 1,700 pupils from 22 schools at Curtain Up! performances.

The scheme's growth responds to the lasting impact of Covid, with schools struggling financially and organisationally to bring children to performances, the theatre says. 

"Theatre gives children a creative outlet, an escapist ride into the world of stories, a way to reflect on their own world, and a chance to experience emotional journeys together. We want to make sure they don’t miss out," said Polka's Executive Director Lynette Shanbury.

Advocating for those with chronic illness

29 Mar 2022

Louise Wildish has been exploring whether working models in the arts are accessible for those, like her, living with chronic illness.

Levelling up won't fix social mobility in the arts

22 Mar 2022

Academics say moving money away from London and replicating successful models like UK City of Culture are only half a solution.

Understanding audiences

black and white image of a crowd
19 Jan 2022

Regardless of debates about what audience development means, the main aim should be for more people to experience the arts, says Ash Mann

ACE to mandate social class reporting on audiences

13 Jan 2022

The Culture Secretary has asked the Arts Council to collect the data and consider NPOs' "track record" when they apply for funding. 

ACE diversifies curatorial advisory panel

01 Dec 2021

The funder wants to "embed a diversity of perspectives, skills and expertise" but acknowledges the change may not be happen fast enough for some.

‘Seismic’ shift towards digital music learning

30 Nov 2021

ABRSM has reported a "seismic" shift towards digital music learning.

64% of children use digital resources to make music, according to the music board's Making Music 2021 report.

Whilst 59% of children and 27% of adults surveyed currently play an instrument, 86% and 43% respectively said they are making music, suggesting a trend towards online tools.

Despite increases in digital participation, 11% fewer children are taking instrumental lessons at schools than in 2014.

Finance remains a barrier to participation. People from wealthier households are 1.4 times more likely to play a musical instrument, with 25% of children and 18% of adults who never played an instrument saying this was due to expense.

The music sector must work to overcome “fundamental and deep-seated barriers” that stop people accessing music, ABSRM Chief Executive Chris Cobb commented.

Neurodivergence manifesto a ‘call for change’

art of an eye amulet
22 Nov 2021

New recommendations around employment and lobbying for benefits will be “hard to ignore”, creatives say. 

Captions speak louder

Lost Kingdom of South America at British Museum
17 Nov 2021

As part of Captioning Awareness Week, Melanie Sharpe is campaigning to raise awareness of access to the arts for deaf, defeaned and hard of hearing audiences. 

LIPA makes first acting auditions free

08 Nov 2021

The Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA) is making its first round of acting auditions free.

The school is also making all first round auditions self-taped, having moved auditions online during Covid-19. 

“We found that asking for a self-tape submission last year enabled us to meet a number of individuals we wouldn’t otherwise have connected with, and I think that’s reflected in the makeup of this year’s first years,” said Head of Acting Will Hammond.

Fees for second round in-person auditions and in-person dance auditions are being reduced from £40 to £30.

LIPA says the changes are reflect efforts to increase access and diversity. 

It will continue to offer audition fee waivers and travel grants to applicants who come from areas of the country with lower rates of higher education uptake.

Survey highlights financial barriers to creative career development

01 Nov 2021

Creative Access says survey findings confirm money issues "exclude those from under-represented communities from progressing in the creative industries”.

Scotland starts enforcing vaccine passports

19 Oct 2021

Venues that fail to comply face a maximum £10,000 fine but policing falls to overextended local authorities and underserved security.

Making content fully accessible

a sign with a logo of a person in a wheelchair, signalling access to a step free route
08 Sep 2021

The shift to digital has been beneficial to many, but Ash Mann is particularly interested in what it could mean for D/deaf, disabled and neurodivergent people.

Enhancing artist and audience experience

AH AW (OR) OO EE UR (UR) The Long Vowels, 2020
07 Sep 2021

Issues of access have beleaguered artists and audiences alike. Jamie Wyld explores how access streams can be used in innovative ways to enhance both artist and audience experience.


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