Why levelling up shouldn’t mean levelling down on diversity 

12 Apr 2022

How will Arts Council England square the circle of delivering increased funding to regions outside London while also meeting its commitment to increase funding to Black-led* organisations? asks Kevin Osborne.

Stronger together

30 Mar 2022

Can the cultural sector embrace collaboration as an essential tool to dismantle racism? In launching their new campaign, Arts Against Racism, Inc Arts thinks it must.
 

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.

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.

PRS For Music election results ‘disappointing’, says MMF

26 May 2022

The Music Managers Forum (MMF) has criticised the results of PRS for Music’s latest council election over a lack of diversity.

Seven of the eight appointees are men, and all are white, leading to a joint statement from MMF Chair Paul Craig, Vice Chair Kwame Kwaten and Chief Executive Annabella Coldrick calling the result “disappointing”.

They say the result is down to an “outmoded and outdated system of governance at PRS, which is in clear need of root and branch reform” and are calling for more to be done to “ensure the value of People of Colour to songwriting and publishing is not just acknowledged but properly represented”.

The council members were voted in through a ballot completed by PRS members. Three members – Tom Gray, Crispin Hunt and Philip Pope – were all re-elected, while Hannah Peel, Nigel Gilroy, Daniel Lang, John Minch and Richard Paine join the council for the first time.

The results were announced at PRS for Music’s annual general meeting. CEO Andrea Martin said the council members bring a “breadth of vision, diversity of skill sets and an understanding of the digital eco-system from which the organisation and the members will greatly benefit”.

Commonwealth Games cultural programme 'ignores diverse communities'

Future Birmingham - SUKI 10C, Digbeth.  The painted former public house at the corner of Bordesley Street and Meriden Street has been repainted.
25 May 2022

Report claims organisers have missed opportunities to include Birmingham's diverse communities in planned events, and are not on target to meet requirements measuring race equality, community engagement and accountability.

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.

Only 13% of UK festival headliners are female

24 May 2022

Only around one in 10 headline acts at the leading UK music festivals taking place this summer will be women, a study has found.

A BBC study focusing on 50 of the biggest UK festivals found that out of 200 headline acts only 26 (13%) were an all-female band or solo artist whereas 149 (74.5%) were either an all-male band or solo artist.

Meanwhile 24 acts (12%) had a mixed line-up of male and female performers, and one (0.05%) artist identified as non-binary.

This is despite many events previously promising to achieve a 50/50 gender balance across their line-ups by 2022.

Maggie Rogers, a singer/songwriter who will be performing at Latitude Festival this summer, said: "What I come to music for - as a fan and artist - is community and to feel part of something, and I think community functions at its best when it feels inclusive.

"When that doesn't happen - when the line-ups reiterate imbalances that exist in gender and race and class - it's not surprising, but it's certainly not ideal."

 

 

Royal College of Art opens new £135m campus

23 May 2022

A major new campus for the Royal College of Art (RCA), featuring a space for public exhibitions, has opened.

The £135m development accommodates four storeys of studios and workshops for sculpture, contemporary art, video and film, and design.

Meanwhile, a double-height 350sq m space space known as The Hanger has large doors at either end to enable the installation of heavy, large or complex works of art, and will be used for public exhibitions. 

A similar but smaller room provides research, testing and assembly space for sculpture and robotics projects.

To coincide with the launch, the RCA has announced a new five-year strategy for 2022–27 which includes plans to double the percentage of Black British and People of Colour students and researchers from underrepresented backgrounds.

ISM survey to assess music sector discrimination

19 May 2022

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is calling on people working in the music industry to complete a short survey on discrimination in the music sector.

The survey aims to find whether there has there been any cultural change in the sector since the ISM’s last report, or if those working in music, including education, are still subject to inappropriate behaviours and discrimination.

It covers all protected characteristics as defined in the Equality Act 2010 and will inform the body's future reports and campaigning work, including formulating meaningful solutions that will affect culture.

“We need a music sector that is as open, inclusive, and safe as possible.” ISM President Vick Bain said.

“I understand that we are asking people to tell us about extremely difficult times in their lives, every response is anonymous and will be treated with respect. There is help and support out there, and more details can be found on the ISM website.”

Refugees welcome

a room full of beds and chairs to host refugees
11 May 2022

When refugees from Ukraine fled into Poland, Ewa Kozik and Bartosz Frackowiak seized the moment to put their arts activism into practice.

The future of work

a man works from home
04 May 2022

With 86% of internships in the creative sector unpaid, it’s hard for disadvantaged young people to get a foothold. Russell Martin considers what working in the future could look like.

Project seeks artists of colour ‘to tackle racial injustices’

04 May 2022

Initiative inspired by Black Lives Matter movement will commission artists of African and Asian heritage to help tackle “shockingly low” representation in British public arts institutions. 

'No clear reason' why people don't access digital arts

27 Apr 2022

Most people struggle to identify a specific reason why they don’t engage with arts online, a government survey has found.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport's Participation Survey which provides estimates of physical and digital engagement with the arts, heritage, museums and galleries, found that around one in four (27%) people had engaged with art digitally over the past year.

Of those who hadn't, when asked about the barriers they face, 45% said there was "no reason in particular", with 29% saying they were "not interested", and 11% saying they "don't have the time".

Other barriers to digital engagement included having a health problem or disability (8%), it being too expensive (8%), having no access to internet (5%) or "not knowing what is available" (3%).

The study found a negative correlation between digital engagement in the arts and areas of deprivation. The most deprived areas showed 20% engagement in the arts, compared with 31% in the least deprived areas.

Meanwhile, 32% of those in higher managerial, administrative and professional occupations engaged digitally in the arts, compared with 23% of respondents in intermediate occupations and 17% in routine and manual occupations.

Women in music

women playing the violin
27 Apr 2022

Why are women so under-represented in certain areas of classical music? Katherine Cooper thinks enduring stereotypes about women’s soft skills are partly to blame.

Boyce wins top award at Venice Biennale

25 Apr 2022

Sonia Boyce has won the Golden Lion award for Best National Participation at the Venice Biennale, becoming the first Black British woman to do so.

Her winning exhibition Feeling Her Way, focuses on the vocal experimentation of five Black female musicians embodying feelings of power, freedom and vulnerability. The jury said that “in working collaboratively with other black women, [Boyce] unpacks a plenitude of silenced stories.”

Boyce said: “This is momentous, and utterly overwhelming. I want to say thank you to everyone for their support. Their generosity has been beyond my expectations."

Emma Dexter, Director of Visual Arts for the British Council, which commissioned the work for the British Pavilion at the Biennale, said: “Sonia made a work for the Biennale that speaks of hope, experiment, joy and freedom, and the importance of remembering and celebrating women’s achievements and creativity. 

“It is also highly significant that an artist who was part of the Black British Art movement of the 1980s has been honoured in this way – thereby bringing this crucial part of British art history into an international spotlight.”

Past British winners include Richard Hamilton (1993), Anish Kapoor (1990), Frank Auerbach (1986), Bridget Riley (1968) and Henry Moore (1948).

LGB Alliance grant suspended after outcry

protestors hold up a pride flag and trans flag
13 Apr 2022

The gender critical organisation received one of 704 grants in Arts Council England’s £4.58m Let’s Create Jubilee Fund.

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.

Union deals secure better rights for theatre pros

King's Head Theatre in Islington, London
06 Apr 2022

Performers and stage managers can expect a better work-life balance, whilst playwrights get more control over digital reproduction.

Fewer ethnically diverse creatives are employed, study finds

21 Mar 2022

Ethnically diverse creatives are experiencing increased job insecurity and financial instability post-Covid, according to a University of Manchester study.

Researchers found 29% of respondents are in employment a year after the first lockdown – 22% less than in 2020 – with 44% saying they are now "financially unstable" or need immediate assistance to pay their bills.

30% of respondents had left the creative and cultural industries for another sector, raising concerns about backsliding diversity in the sector.

Dr Anamik Saha of Goldsmith University’s Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity said the Black Lives Matter protests translated into relatively few new opportunities for Black creatives.

“Our hope is that in shining a light on their circumstances, media and cultural organisations can better support creative workers from minoritised communities, ensuring fair and equal treatment during these difficult times.”

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