Joining the dots for better cultural policy

Light installation in Leeds
14 Feb 2024

As Anna Kime begins working with West Yorkshire Combined Authority, she explores how integrated data and evaluation can aid decision making and ensure the UK’s cultural and creative sectors continue to be world-leading. 

Reporting requirements: NPO leaders share their frustrations

Illuminate website login page
25 Jan 2024

Nearly a year into the latest investment round, many National Portfolio Organisations are finding the new reporting requirements unduly burdensome - at best - and, in some instances, unfit for purpose. A group of NPO Chief Executive Officers explain their struggles.

British Library shares learnings from cyber attack 

Exterior of the British Library
13 Mar 2024

The institution says its reliance on legacy infrastructure has impacted its ability to restore services quickly in the wake of a major ransomware attack last October.

ACE in talks on future of Illuminate data platform

The PricewaterhouseCoopers logo on the side of a tall building
25 Jan 2024

Contract for Illuminate data platform ends in March 2026, a year ahead of the end of the recently extended National Portfolio for 2023-27, raising questions over its future.

Study on future of arts festivals launches 

15 Jan 2024

British Arts Festivals Association (BAFA) will undertake a UK-wide research study to assess the future of arts festivals.

Supported by Arts Council England, Arts Council of Wales and Creative Scotland, BAFA is commissioning BOP Consulting to research issues including sustainability, equality, diversity and access. 

The data will be used to benchmark the sector, quantifying its contribution to the economy and the places festivals serve. BAFA said it hopes the findings will demonstrate the challenges and opportunities for the sector in the wake of Covid and Brexit.  

Fiona Goh, Director of BAFA, said: “There’s never been a more critical time for BAFA to be able to capture the size, scale and impact of this extraordinary range of cultural events in the arts festivals sector, taking place across the UK.  

"This vital research will not only help us understand the scope of work currently happening in the sector, and to pinpoint the impacts of the pandemic and Brexit, but also help us see how festivals are responding to the challenges of sustainability, the cost of living crisis and social justice movements. 

"We’re delighted that investment from three national arts councils will provide the data that we need to support the sector in shaping a better future together.”

Findings from the survey, which can be accessed here, are due to be shared in the autumn.

Sector support charities merge after loss of ACE funding

Audience in theatre. Image depicts backs of heads and stage in background
23 Nov 2023

The Audience Agency and Culture24, who were both part of ACE's National Portfolio until they lost funding in April this year, have joined forces.

Data service to share museum records launches 

13 Nov 2023

A new service to gather and share object records from UK museums has launched. 

The Museums Data Service (MDS) has been developed to assemble data on museum collections, including location and opening times, summaries of collections and highlights, object records and exhibition text, but will not hold media assets.

Work on the project, a joint start-up by Art UK, Collections Trust and the University of Leicester, supported by funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, began in November 2022.

Training for early adopters of the programme will begin next month. MDS hopes to publish collection summaries for all 1,700 accredited museums by May 2024 and to have compiled all object records by 2033.

Collections Trust, funded by Arts Council England, is offering support to small organisations including Wolverhampton Museum, St Barbe Museum and the Royal Engineers Museum, to help them make the most of the new service. 

AI: Understanding the implications of fast developing technology

Graphic of human hand and robot hand reaching to touch each other
02 Nov 2023

Artificial intelligence has been around for years but, as Katie Moffat writes, the new generation of AI tools can be used by anyone, and can provide support with many day-to-day tasks.

Debbonaire unveils National Culture Infrastructure Plan

Thangam Debbonaire speaking at the Labour Party conference
12 Oct 2023

Shadow Culture Secretary also reiterates importance of creative curriculum and commits to action on visa waiver system for artists.

Scores of NPOs yet to register for Illuminate

The PricewaterhouseCoopers logo hanging from the side of a building
05 Oct 2023

More than 50 National Portfolio Organisations miss deadline imposed by Arts Council England to register with new data platform that has been beset by delays and glitches.

New approach to city metrics

Image of Lisbon
04 Oct 2023

A new index offers expert insights into the cultural resources of more than 500 cities worldwide, making it the only creative city index with global reach, writes David Adam

EXCLUSIVE: ACE drops reporting requirements over data platform glitches

The Illuminate online portal
13 Sep 2023

Amid sector concerns about new data platform Illuminate, Arts Council England says NPOs will not need to provide box office or audience survey data until next year.

Entries to creative A-levels fall again

Student playing the saxophone in music lesson.
22 Aug 2023

Sector leaders reignite call for educational reforms as entries to exams in creative subjects make up just over 10% of all A-levels. 

Website helps musicians input data for royalties

15 Jun 2023

A new website is helping songwriters, composers and artists understand how to input data integral to receiving royalties. 

The Get Paid Guide, a partnership between PRS for Music, The Ivors Academy, the Music Publishers Association and the Intellectual Property Office, will educate music creators on controlling and managing their music data, through a step-by-step guidance on what music data is, why it matters and what to do with it.

The collaboration was driven from a 2021 DCMS Select Committee inquiry into the economic impact of music streaming on creators.

Following the inquiry, government set up a music metadata working group. The group published the Metadata Agreement last month, which identified education on data input as an area that needed vital work.

Across the sector, creators have experienced delays in receiving royalties, and in some cases haven’t been paid at all, due to a lack of awareness around accurate metadata inputs.

In response, the Get Paid Guide features tutorials on International Standard Musical Work and International Standard Recording codes and offers help on frequently asked questions from creators, such as the use of pseudonyms and what to do when covering another artist’s song.

President of the PRS Members’ Council, Michelle Escoffery, says the guide “brings us closer to achieving a healthier metadata ecosystem overall”.

“Getting the data right at the point of works registration is vitally important and is often the difference between being paid or not.

“I encourage all music creators to use this guide, get fluent with the relevant codes and empower themselves to get paid accurately and quickly.”

ACE confirms further delay to audience data platform

People inside an auditorium
15 May 2023

Launch of new audience data platform rescheduled for second time meaning it will be two months late.

Opera North and Newcastle University launch three-year partnership

A scene from an Opera North production of Kiss Me Kate
12 May 2023

Organisations plan to build on previous work together through formal partnership to improve audience accessibility.

Sick days in arts industry rise by 66% in past year

12 May 2023

Businesses in the arts and entertainment industry have seen one of the biggest rises in sick leave across the UK, research has found.

The Sick Leave Report 2023, conducted by HR firm Access People HR, analysed sickness rates from more than 2,000 businesses, finding that the average company in the arts reported 39 days lost to sick leave in 2022. This compares with an average of 24 in 2021, 28 in 2020 and 20 in 2019.

In total, the sector experienced 66.7% more days lost in the last year due to short and long-term illness. The industries that charted the highest rise in the past year were water supply, sewerage and waste management (135% rise) and accommodation and food service activities (146%).

The firm said the rise in sickness rates in the arts and entertainment industry could be a sign that attitudes have changed following the pandemic, including concerns around spreading contagious diseases to the public.

It also pointed out that there is labour shortage in the sector, with arts officers, producers, dancers, musicians and artists all on the government's list of shortage occupations.

PwC blames Illuminate hold-up on 'contracting delays'

View of an audience within a theatre
03 May 2023

New platform for audience insights will launch six weeks late, leaving NPOs temporarily unable to use it for survey data.

DCMS study questions 'digital capacity' of museum sector

A virtual exhibition
24 Apr 2023

Report into partnership activities undertaken by the national museums raises questions about the capacity for and value of post-pandemic digital provision.

Research highlights gender disparities in dance sector

Two women dancing
04 Apr 2023

Study finds dance companies in receipt of most funding - and exerting greater influence on the sector - are more likely to be led by men, despite higher overall levels of female leadership.


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