Reigniting my frazzled brain: the fight against impact fatigue

23 Mar 2022

For a busy, freelance arts professional, carving out the time to attend yet another event can be difficult and sometimes not worth the effort. But, as Rebekka Kill found out, this one was different.

Missing audiences present major challenge to arts income

09 Mar 2022

New research suggests venues may not be able to convince up to 14% of regular attendees to return as restrictions lapse. How can organisations adapt?

ACW diversity overhaul to reshape portfolio and leadership

14 Feb 2022

Big changes are coming for Wales' arts funding body after critical reports highlighted gaps in its engagement with ethnic minority, D/deaf and disabled communities.

Value co-creation key to levelling up

14 Feb 2022

A 'simple but radical' approach to co-creating arts offers a way to move from project to programme to true partnership, academics say.

Levelling Up White Paper targets cultural engagement outside London

02 Feb 2022

Arts Council England will spend 100% of its budget uplift in the regions as Government commits to "significantly increasing" cultural spending outside the capital.

There are no creative ‘cold spots’

Members of an orchestra play the steel drums at a church
19 Jan 2022

Co-creation is often about professionals ‘inviting people in’. But, as Barbara Eifler argues, communities do not need to be organised - they are already doing it for themselves.

Project a blueprint for remote arts with older people

13 Dec 2021

Group phone calls, radio and the postal system were used to keep participants connected during lockdown.

Labour reshuffle sees Powell appointed DCMS Shadow Secretary 

02 Dec 2021

Lucy Powell will become Labour’s new Shadow Secretary for DCMS following a cabinet reshuffle.

Manchester Central’s MP since 2012, Powell is a former Shadow Housing Secretary and was Jeremy Corbyn’s Shadow Secretary of State for Education, before resigning in June 2016.

Powell replaces Cardiff Central MP Jo Stevens, who becomes Shadow Secretary of State for Wales.

She will become the second culture secretary under Keir Starmer and the eleventh since Labour lost power in 2010.
Powell described the role as a “big brief with many big issues” which included “making the arts, culture [and] music accessible”.

Panto ticket sales down by half on 2019

29 Nov 2021

Panto ticket sales through October are half of what they were this time in 2019, analysis from The Audience Agency (TAA) suggests.

Data from 343 venues for the week commencing October 11 found a 52% drop in tickets sold, a 53% drop in income and 27% drop in performances compared to two years ago.

The decrease reflects audiences' low commitment to attendance: 44% of respondents TAA’s Cultural Participation Monitor said they definitely won't go to a panto this year, compared to 8% who plan to.

Those aged over 65 are most likely to stay away, with two thirds expected not to attend at all this winter.

TAA says a pre-Covid trend of decreasing panto sales is accelerating, presenting a further threat to venues, and warns "venues may need to rethink the festival formula in response to these changes".

Distanced performances 'crucial' over winter

23 Nov 2021

Venues face a choice between offering lower capacity events or losing up to a third of their audiences, surveys suggest.

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.

Armagh seeks local views on City of Culture bid

16 Nov 2021

Residents of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough are being asked to contribute their opinion on the local City of Culture 2025 bid.

An online survey asks locals what culture means to them, which cultural activities they engage in and their thoughts on three possible bid themes: traditions for the future, provoking thought, and healing.

Information from the survey will help develop the final bid to DCMS in February.

As Northern Ireland’s only representative on the City of Culture 2025 longlist, Armagh 2025 says it aims to make the shortlist of three cities. 

“Bidding for the title is already providing a positive focus for change, sparking a renewed sense of pride, and securing new initiatives and investment potential for the region,” Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Glenn Barr said.

Rushmoor to develop cultural strategy

09 Nov 2021

A 10-year cultural strategy for Rushmoor will increase opportunities for arts engagement and attract up to £1m investment.

A recent consultation asked residents for their views on culture in the borough, including how best to link creative and heritage activities to tourism and public spaces.

Rushmoor Borough Councillor Marina Munro, Member for Planning and Economy, said Aldershot and Farnborough have significant natural assets and "famous" military and aviation heritage.

"However, there is a small, under-developed and under-connected arts scene with huge potential to grow. The new cultural strategy will enable us to secure funding and capitalise on these opportunities over the next 10 years."

She said research shows cultural engagement and participation in the borough is "significantly lower" than the national average, making it one of the UK's lowest areas of arts engagement.

Rushmoor is among Arts Council England's priority places for investment, which is expected to receive an additional £1m. 

Belfast becomes UNESCO City of Music

09 Nov 2021

Belfast has become the third UK city to recieve UNESCO City of Music status.

The accolade, announced on Monday (November 8), recognises the Northern Irish capital's unique musical heritage and local efforts to strengthen engagement with music.

A 2018 survey undertaken during the European Capital of Culture bidding process identified music as the city's strongest cultural output, prompting the bid for UNESCO status.

"Being deisgnated as a UNESCO City of Music honours the gargantuan effort that the entire music scene has made to help raise Belfast up and out of the darkest of times," Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody commmented.

Belfast will join the UN body's Creative Cities Network of 59 places, with Lightbody and Emmy-nominated composer Hannah Peel acting as official Belfast Music patrons.

Belfast City Council will consult residents on a City of Music action plan, having worked with a City of Music steering group on the bid submission.

Glasgow was the first UK city awarded the title in 2008, followed by Liverpool in 2016.

Digital pivot reverses as theatres struggle to monetise online shows

14 Oct 2021

The trend has raised fears about diminishing access for disabled audiences - but research suggests they too are starting to switch off.

When boards go bad: how to take inclusive action

graphic of two characters arguing
13 Oct 2021

Over the past year, Amanda Parker has been privy to several board-level conflicts that she describes as nightmarish. Boards, she advises, need to ensure democratic processes support equitable redress. 

Where are the young people on arts boards?

Violinists playing
13 Oct 2021

Ten years ago, while most 21-year-olds were exploring their freedom, Toks Dada was spending his evenings and weekends reading company management reports, annotating business plans, and scrutinising financial accounts. Here he explains why.

Five-year grant for creative ageing programme

07 Oct 2021

Newbury's Corn Exchange has received funding to begin the next stage of a legacy creative ageing programme.

A new team dedicated to this work has been appointed on the back of the £339,000 Lottery grant to lead engagement with older people, especially those who are rurally based and socially isolated.

The first stage of Ageing Creatively ran from 2016 to 2019. This second stage will involve a range of Covid-safe singing, writing, dance, crafts and exercise workshops, as well as a Touch to See group for the visually impaired.

Engagement Manager Hannah Elder said the programme is varied, responsive and provides a noticeable service to its community.

"We see the smiles in our Memory Cafe morning and the concentration on the faces of those attending Afternoon Art.

"We hope to see this impact continue for our ageing community over the next five years, and to play a real part locally in championing arts for health and well-being among our elders."

Northern Ireland's arts engagement drops to 12 year low

06 Oct 2021

The number of adults engaging in arts and culture in Northern Ireland has fallen once again.

Continuous Household Survey data for 2020/21 shows 81% of adults engaged in arts and culture in the last 12 months, compared to 87% in 2019/20. 

This year's figure represents the lowest recorded for engagement in arts and culture since 2008/09.

Despite the overall decrease, the number of adults using public libraries increased from 23% to 28%.

The number of adults visiting a museum or science centre remained stable at 37%.

This year's report is the first to record engagement against deprivation. 84% of adults living in Northern Ireland's least deprived areas engaged in arts and culture compared to 78% living in the most deprived areas.

Collective creativity can address global challenges

photo of Hatchling exhibition
28 Sep 2021

When the best of technology meets the spark of creativity, incredible things can happen regardless of what century - or millennium - you happen to be in, says Hayaatun Sillem.


Subscribe to Engagement