Little moments of joy

Projection on cargo truck
09 Jun 2021

While audiences are most comfortable returning to outdoor events, organising a festival that can flex around ever-changing restrictions is still no mean feat. Penny Mills and Jonathan Goodacre have been looking at what’s working.

Coventry 2021: City of Culture is open for business

Coventry city of culture shop
19 May 2021

Despite all the difficulties of the past year, Jake Bartle and Emily Coleman are confident that this year’s festival will be a celebration of artistic achievement.

Arts and health: think big and embrace the opportunities

Drummers on stage following behind a woman in a huge twirling skirt
22 Jul 2020

A substantial new income stream for the arts sector can go hand in hand with significant savings to the health budget, says Tim Joss. But first we need to move beyond some widespread assumptions that are holding back progress.

Arts Council pledges Grantium improvements

27 May 2022

Testing of upgrades to the much-maligned Grantium application system are underway, with a launch date for an improved version to be announced soon.

Mayor of London teams up with Creative UK to support freelancers

26 May 2022

The Mayor of London’s Culture Team and Creative UK are joining forces in an effort to tackle "systemic inequalities" facing freelancers in creative industries. 

The partnership will hold an event in July where freelancers and organisations working across London’s creative economy will be given the opportunity to test, prioritise and develop ideas for a more sustainable freelance model for creatives.

The guidance and ideas that emerge from the online event will be taken forward and shaped into a robust business case, as part of City Hall's Redesigning Freelancing programme.

Creative UK said the fragility of the freelance model, which the creative industries rely on heavily, was revealed during the pandemic when many parts of the creative industries experienced a sudden, large drop in their volume of work, with freelancers left unsupported.

Evy Cauldwell French, Development & Partnerships Manager for Impact & Change at Creative UK, said: “Creative freelancers working throughout London continue to face an unequal playing field, with many sadly choosing to leave creative occupations due to unsustainable practices. 

"We are pleased to announce our partnership with the Mayor of London’s Culture Team, with whom we are empowering organisations and freelancers working across London’s creative economy to create a more sustainable future for our growing workforce.”

Edinburgh Fringe producers get £1.3m resilience funding

26 May 2022

Edinburgh Festival Fringe producers have received financial support to help them recover and remain resilient following the Covid-19 pandemic. 

A total of 13 Edinburgh Festival Fringe producers have been awarded a share of £1.275m from the Fringe 2022 Resilience Fund, financed by the Scottish Government and distributed by Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society.

Venues in receipt of the money are Assembly, BlundaBus, Gilded Balloon, Greenside, Just The Tonic, Laughing Horse, Monkey Barrell Comedy, Pleasance, Scottish Comedy Festival, Summerhall, theSpaceUK, Underbelly and ZOO.

A further £305k has been allocated to support the ongoing resilience of the Fringe Society, which includes £55k to support the delivery of street events during August.

Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: “It’s fair to say that the last few years have been the most challenging in our festival’s history. 

"Now, as we prepare to enter our 75th anniversary year, creatives across the Fringe landscape are working hard to ensure that this incredible festival not only survives, but continues to work hard to be the best version of itself.

“This support from Scottish Government is absolutely vital in helping us to achieve that goal: allowing producers and creatives across the landscape to not only recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic, but to offer enhanced support to artists, workers and volunteers; to continue to programme creative and innovative work; to improve accessibility; to tackle affordability and to ensure that this festival remains true to its founding principles of openness and inclusivity.”

DCMS study moots major new data platform

25 May 2022

Report recommends new cultural sector data platform to help make the case for increased funding across the arts.

My Gurus: Be the change you want to see

24 May 2022

Founded in 2000, Slung Low is a theatre company based at the Holbeck in Leeds – Britain’s oldest working men’s club. Its Artistic Director, Alan Lane pays tribute to the people who have inspired him.

Performance studies threatened by proposed university cuts

19 May 2022

Announcements of course closures and job losses at universities prompt concerns of 'existential threat' to theatre and performance studies.

Heritage sector ‘confident about future'

Barnard Castle in County Durham
09 May 2022

Survey finds positivity among organisations across Britain and confidence to weather possible future waves of Covid-19.

Government seeks 5% savings from major arts and culture institutions

06 May 2022

A government review of public bodies will consider whether they should be retained or abolished as well as seeking efficiency savings of at least 5%.

Covid-19 and the global cultural and creative sector – part 2

Theater in Quarantine - Mask Study 1, created by Jon Levin, Katie Rose McLaughlin and Joshua William Gelb; April 1, 2020 Pictured: Joshua William Gelb The story of Theater in Quarantine.
27 Apr 2022

After two years of constant learning, Anthony Sargent thinks we now have the foundations for a new world.

Florence Nightingale Museum to reopen

21 Apr 2022

London’s Florence Nightingale Museum is set to reopen after two years of pandemic related closures.

The museum will welcome the public from May 12 - International Nurses’ Day and the 202nd anniversary of Nightingale’s birth.

Featured exhibitions include a celebration of Nightingale’s bicentenary, an updated Crimean War display, and a new family activity trail.

Director David Green says after an “immensely costly” closure, the museum is back on surer footing.

“After the experiences of the past two years, the value of nurses has never been clearer [and] we are so pleased to be returning to tell the story of Florence Nightingale and the people following in her footsteps today.”

Unapproved Covid tests used in TV and film

13 Apr 2022

Unapproved Covid tests have been "widely" used in TV and film productions, a laboratories trade body claims.

The Laboratory and Testing Industry Organisation (LTIO) found two Covid tests – MFX Biotech and Virolens - are being marketed to the film production industry despite not being authorised under the Medical Devices (Coronavirus Test Device Approvals) Regulations 2021.

The LTIO wrote to the Department of Health and Social Care, who confirmed these tests are illegal to sell in the UK.

LTIO Executive Director Matt Cartmell says the association is concerned.

“It is completely unacceptable that Covid tests that are not legal are in use by businesses in the UK, especially in the TV and production industry. Rogue manufacturers should be held accountable for their actions.”

Future of culture in Edinburgh

Seminar room Edinburgh University
12 Apr 2022

Recent research urged Edinburgh’s cultural sector to adopt a values-led approach to addressing inequities and precarities. Vikki Jones assesses the implications of the findings for the city.

Edinburgh to appoint music-writer-in-residence

06 Apr 2022

The city of Edinburgh will hold a competition to select a music-writer-in-residence.

The appointee will chronicle the recovery of the local live music scene on the webistes of Edinburgh Music Lovers and Forever Edinburgh, a £90,000 campaign by Visit Scotland.

Edinburgh Music Lovers founder Jim Byers he that "telling more people about music in Edinburgh is something I’m very passionate about ".

"Local venues and artists need support more than ever and a music writer in residence can help showcase Edinburgh to music fans around the UK and also showcase and develop their writing skills at the same time.”

How the pandemic changed the way we use social media

06 Apr 2022

Digital teams have been at the forefront of connecting the arts with social justice and reform, according to a new report, writes Alice Kent

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.

Natural History Museum shared visitor data with Meta

04 Apr 2022

The Natural History Museum shared visitor data with Meta during the pandemic.

A Freedom of Information Act request by the Telegraph found data entered into online booking forms - including names, addresses and phone numbers - was shared with the parent company of Facebook and Instagram,

The museum logged 702,900 visits through its Covid-19 booking system, 140% more data entries during the pandemic than prior.

Information made available to Meta was “pseudonymised”, the museum said, and used to target advertising communications and identify new users likely to be interested in its content.

The process is legal but has been criticised by online privacy activists. Open Rights Group campaigner Jim Killock said the online booking system “hoovered up data”.

“The pandemic is not an excuse to collect anything and everything. There are continued risks of drifting into a surveillance society, and cultural institutions should ensure they play no part in that.”

Curtain closes on TV and Film support scheme

04 Apr 2022

The Government's pandemic insurance scheme for film and television is closing.

First unveiled in July 2020, The £500m Film and TV Production Restart Scheme was extended for six months in October.

DCMS says the scheme supported 95,000 jobs and led to a record £5.6bn production spend.

Its closure follows lobbying from film and TV groups who called for another extension.

Instead, insurance trade bodies will work with commercial firms to provide cover for the screen industries, the DCMS says.

Producers body Pact called the move “disappointing”.

“Pact members and the wider industry now face a very messy period where some productions will be able to get cover and others will not due to the limited number of insurance providers in the market.”

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