How dynamic are you?

11 May 2022

What we used to think of as ‘contingency planning’ is now just planning, says Patrick Towell. That is what it means to be ‘dynamic’.

The ethics of sponsorship

an Extinction Rebellion flag flies in front a museum
09 Feb 2022

Choosing a multinational oil and gas corporation as the major sponsor of a climate change exhibition sounds like something straight out of 'The Thick of It'. But, says Justin Williams, Shell's corporate sponsorship of the Science Museum is no fiction.

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.

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.

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.

Who runs the arts in England?

outside the Royal Opera House
17 May 2022

New research confirms that elite institutions are still the dominant players in the interconnecting networks running the arts. Dave O’Brien and Mark Taylor share their findings.

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%.

Name change for 'whitewashed' Kala Sangam sparks anguish

29 Apr 2022

Founding members of the South Asian arts company accuse Arts Council England of turning a blind eye to "the definition of appropriation" as new programmes and audiences are pursued.

A model of leadership for uncertain times

two women discuss their work
19 Apr 2022

Research about co-leadership in the arts mostly focuses on sharing the executive function between artistic and operational roles. Pippa Warin thinks it’s time to consider sharing the role of chair of the board.

Fresh pressure on British Museum’s BP sponsorship

19 Apr 2022

The British Museum's board of trustees have received a formal call to reject a new sponsorship deal with BP.

Sent following revelations that Museum Director Hartwig Fischer plans to renew the partnership, Culture Unstained's submission argues trustees must exercise “informed and ethical judgement” of its continued association with the energy company.

The demand is co-signed by eight leading professionals including former Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Chair Robert Watson, and Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of PCS Union, which represents many British Museum workers.

More than 300 people are planning to take part in a protest arranged by BP or not BP? on Saturday, the fourth held at the museum this month.

Culture Unstained Co-Director Chris Garrard says it is vital trustees "fulfil their legal duties".

"If the board does approve a new deal with BP, it would signal that they chose to sidestep their own sustainability policy and dismiss the reputational risks of partnering with a leading fossil fuel producer as the climate crisis worsens."

Unions blame DfE for ALRA closure

14 Apr 2022

The Department for Education (DfE) bears "significant responsibility" for ALRA's sudden closure, unions say.

In a joint statement, the University and College Union (UCU) and performing arts workers' union Equity say ALRA’s financial difficulties were the "predictable consequence of the poor regulation of private providers and an ideological reliance on fees".

"The Government’s vindictive attacks on funding for creative and performing arts and its refusal to support these subjects in higher education form the background to ALRA’s collapse."

Claiming ALRA’s senior management handled the situation "disgracefully", the unions said they are offering advice to their members and encouraging other institutions to make offers of alternative employment.

They warn ALRA will not be the last higher education institution to suffer unless the Government abandons its fee-based funding model in favour of secure public funding. 

"This cultural vandalism must be brought to an end," their statement concludes.

Youth theatre suspends MP trustee

08 Apr 2022

British Youth Music Theatre has suspended Conservative MP David Warburton as a trustee following allegations of illegal drug use and sexual harassment.

The claims about Warburton, a former music teacher, surfaced in the national press last week.

The charity said he will remain suspended pending the outcome of an investigation: "He hasn't attended any of our events or shows in years," a statement said.

Warburton is a former trustee of Music For Youth and the National Youth Orchestra.

UK tours in EU ‘too expensive’

31 Mar 2022

Theatre company Really Useful Group has brought in a production of The Phantom of the Opera from China to tour the EU, because Brexit red tape made it “too expensive” to use a British one, a DCMS Committee has heard.

Really Useful Group promotes Andrew Lloyd Webber’s shows around the world. Its president, Jessica Koravos, told the committee she “would not dream of sending a UK production into Europe” under current circumstances.

She said it was “more straightforward and less expensive” to bring in a production from China 5,000 miles away.

The comment formed part of a DCMS Committee session on promoting Britain abroad, held earlier this week.

DCMS Chair Julian Knight said the situation “means that the mask has well and truly slipped on the true extent of the problems faced by the UK arts sector”.

“That one of the all-time great British musical impresarios would not now dream of taking a production rich in West End heritage into the EU from Britain speaks volumes about the impact of the government’s approach to supporting touring creatives.

“The current EU visa arrangements are proving economically disastrous for our cultural industries by forcing them to play second fiddle to their international competitors.”

Music education survey paints bleak picture

a group of students play the cello
30 Mar 2022

Almost all music teachers agree the government should consult them on the much-anticipated refreshed National Plan for Music Education.

NPO board rules 'potentially damaging' for arts charities

24 Mar 2022

Governance requirements for the next National Portfolio are "taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut" and could lead to board flight. 

British Council restructure threatens sector, strikers say

24 Mar 2022

Plans to cut arts jobs will irreversibly damage the organisation, workers say, as their union calls the consultation “severely problematic”.

DfE plans ‘worrying’ for creative degrees

students take part in an art class
02 Mar 2022

Disadvantaged groups could miss out on future university places as creative degrees fail to feature in funding for “strategic priorities”.

Inc Arts wins accolades for inclusive change

01 Mar 2022

Inclusion and diversity organisation Inc Arts has won four accolades from Anthem Awards.

The awards recognise "purpose and mission driven work". Inc Arts was acknowledged with gold awards for special projects, best strategy, partnership and collaboration and a "medal class" award.

The organisation helped share the experiences of 400 ethnically diverse arts workers with 3,000 senior leaders in the sector during the lockdowns, hosted a conference, Speak-Listen-Reset-Heal, and provided the Unlock toolkit.

CEO Amanda Parker said the work has been hard but has catalysed change at hundreds of UK arts organisations.

"In the darkest of storms, it's great to be seen."

DCMS opens Northern hub

14 Feb 2022

DCMS is opening a headquarters in Manchester.

Located on Marble Street, the office will be the department’s primary base outside London, set to accommodate up to 400 staff.

Staff employed through the new office will also be based in Cardiff, Belfast and Loughborough.

A further 200 DCMS employees will be located at Darlington Economic Campus.

The department says the move strengthens its commitment to levelling up and recruiting from a wider talent pool.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries added: “The days of London-centric decision making belong in the past."

Scots Culture Secretary slates BBC licence fee freeze

02 Feb 2022

Scotland’s Culture Secretary Angus Robertson has voiced "profound concern" over the UK Government’s decision to freeze the BBC licence fee for the next two years.

In a letter addressed to Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, Robertson says the decision appears to be an attempt to undermine and threaten public service broadcasting, which the Scottish Government "wholeheartedly supports".

Robertson questioned whether the £285m shortfall the BBC expects to incur over the next six years will affect its investment in Scotland.

He writes: “Funded public service broadcasting has an integral role in our creative economy and we want to see further progress and a greater share of that investment here in Scotland, not regression.”

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