Not British, not welcome

Two actors perform on stage, smiling taking a selfie
11 Jan 2022

While we were distracted by news of politicians partying during lockdown, last month a Bill was passed that changes rights to UK citizenship. Amanda Parker examines how it threatens all our creative lives.

Governance beyond the ‘great and the good’

13 Oct 2021

Our sector is supported by trustees and directors who, through their passion and skills, have stepped up to support organisations when the need has been greatest. But, as Jonathan Mayes argues, our boards could do better.

Towards an anti-racist arts industry

26 May 2021

What does it mean to be Black in the arts industry today? Marking the one-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd, Gabrielle Brooks shares why she founded BlackStage UK.

Time to challenge the hierarchies

Rampak Genteng
10 Sep 2020

With the creativity of communities finally becoming a policy priority, arts organisations could be handing more control over to their communities. Adam Pushkin explains why – and how – that could work.

UK's first queer camping festival launches

20 Jan 2022

The UK's first queer camping festival will take place near London this spring.

Flesh features a house and techno line-up, 90% of which are women, trans and non-binary artists of varying ethnicities: "As such, Flesh will address the long term issue of male dominated festival programming," its manifesto says.

The two-day event aims to improve artists' visibility and help them generate new bookings by leading by example. 

"Many people talk about equality in electronic music but Flesh will take real life action to make it happen."

Building back better for parents and carers

a pregnant woman dancing in traditional clothing
19 Jan 2022

The pandemic has been particularly challenging for parents and carers trying to juggle their responsibilities with their working lives. Rethinking working practices could be beneficial for everyone, says Cassie Raine.

Black British theatre

Students at BADA
11 Jan 2022

In the wake of the killing of George Floyd, many drama schools committed to reform their curricula. Oladipo Agboluaje shares a ground-breaking programme that has emerged as a result.

Fragile livelihoods

11 Jan 2022

A collective of dance freelancers has initiated a critical response to the fragile nature of their livelihoods. Anna Alvarez and Alister O’Loughlin say they are aiming for long term change.

Colston statue topplers cleared in court

06 Jan 2022

Four Black Lives Matter protesters who toppled the Edward Colston statue in Bristol have been cleared of all charges.

Jake Skuse 33, Rhian Graham, 30, Milo Ponsford, 26, and Sage Willoughby, 22, admitted to pulling down the statue, but denied causing criminal damage, arguing the statue itself was so offensive it could be considered a hate crime.

A jury found the Colston Four not guilty, 11 to one.

While the prosecution argued the nature of the statue was irrelevant, the defence said otherwise.

"Colston’s deeds may be historical but the continued veneration of him... in a vibrant multicultural city was an act of abuse," defence lawyer Liam Walker said.

Inequity in funding decisions

trust graphic
05 Jan 2022

Funding ‘criteria’ tell you what a funder will or won’t support, but organisational ‘constraints’ ultimately determine what gets funded, says Kevin Osborne.  

More inclusive classical music

violinists play classical music in an orchestra
05 Jan 2022

Poor quality data about classical music is a significant obstacle to understanding its lack of diversity. But Anna Bull thinks ACE’s new research provides some valuable insights.

Orchestra refresh helped 'progress our ambitions', ETO says

08 Dec 2021

Disappointment was "inevitable" when the English Touring Opera (ETO) diversified its orchestra, its management says.

The organisation has offered a belated response to criticism from the Musicians' Union (MU) over its decision to cut 13 of its long-contracted freelance musicians in September.

ETO says open auditions were held for the first time in many years because the orchestra was exclusively made up of people who played on previous seasons or were recommended by them.

"We also felt that this would help us to progress our ambitions in the fields of equality, diversity and inclusivity in the workplace," a statement released on Wednesday (December 8) reads.

44 musicians were auditioned out of 266 applicants and selections were "based solely on those musicians’ capabilities, on the grounds of excellence only".

"With so many high-quality players in the pool it was inevitable that some would be disappointed," ETO said.

It plans to repeat the process next summer: "In advance of that, we plan to consult widely with other performing companies, and relevant industry organisations, including the MU, so that we can provide further reassurance of equal and fair treatment."

Flying the flag

A group of people look over a flag in a courtyard
07 Dec 2021

This week is the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To mark the occasion, the UK arts sector launched Fly The Flag in 2018. Kate McGrath shares what has been achieved.

£261k grant to increase access to 'radical' theatremaking

01 Dec 2021

Camden People’s Theatre in London has been awarded £261,000 to help artists make "radical theatre from scratch".

Awarded by The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the fund aims to increase the diversity of people with access to artistic work and help them develop their creative practice over the next three years.

Upcoming programmes include 10-week long development scheme Starting Blocks and Camden People's Theatre’s seed commissions 2022, currently open for applications.

The 2022 edition will support artists from marginalised backgrounds, with nine £1,000 grants available alongside one week of rehearsals, a performance slot at the theatre, and ongoing development support.

Executive Director Nicola Clements says the funding offers “real certainty” for the coming years.

"We can now commit to a regular calendar of commissions over the next three years, expressly supporting early career artists from marginalised backgrounds, making radical theatre from scratch."
 

Let’s not care what people think. Said nobody, ever. 

01 Dec 2021

When it comes to Equity, Diversity, Justice and Inclusion, Amanda Parker shares what happens when you fail to read the room – and what you can gain when you get it right. 

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.

Lewisham plans diverse Borough of Culture calendar

29 Nov 2021

Lewisham London Borough of Culture will celebrate local diversity and bring positive changes to the area, according to its coordinators.

We Are Lewisham said the year will include Breathe 2022, an air pollution-focused artwork beginning in April, and see The Albany transform into a beach for climate change artwork Sun & Sea in June.

Liberty Festival, a showcase by D/deaf, disabled and neurodiverse artists, and Revolution Through Music, a celebration of Lewisham’s activist history, are both scheduled for July.

The borough won more than £1m to stage the third edition of the event, which was delayed from 2021 due to the pandemic.

The programme represents a much-needed call to action that is also joyful and celebratory, according to Creative Director Gavin Barlow.

"Lewisham has always been somewhere that stands up for what it believes in, and the year will showcase the power of the arts to inspire positive change and celebrate our borough’s contributions to music, visual art, dance and more."

A new wave of leaders

image of seeds growing into plants
25 Nov 2021

A new Office for Leadership Transition is advocating for more diversified models of cultural leadership. Sandeep Mahal shares the aims of the programme.

UK Music looks beyond London in diversity plan

24 Nov 2021

A "greater focus" outside London is needed to increase diversity in the music industry, UK Music says.

The association wants its 10-point plan for increasing diversity to have a greater impact beyond the capital.

A transparency review of the plan says more must be done to create safe spaces, as a “culture of apprehension” still exists around appropriate actions and cancel culture.

Other priorities include engaging with more communities who suffer disadvantage or discrimination and securing Government guidance on how to report someone’s ethnicity. 

The report also calls for more investment: “For there to be lasting change, there must be significant and consistent financial investment by music companies and organisations in processes and initiatives”.

Classical music inaccessible to less affluent families

17 Nov 2021

A three-year research project aims to improve diversity in classical music, where women remain underrepresented in top roles and 95% of orchestral musicians are white.

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