New funding landscape for the arts

East London youth dance company
30 Nov 2023

Impact investment is an ideal partner for the arts sector where taking creative risks, experimentation and imagination are second nature, writes Fran Sanderson

You don’t get to work in the arts and support the monarchy

Image outside Buckingham Palace
22 May 2024

With a Royal garden party for the creative industries coming hot on the heels of cultural leaders’ participation in a trade mission to Saudi Arabia, Steven Hadley reflects on why the sector is happy to give legitimacy to imperialism and oppression. 

Frazer defends Saudi trade mission amid 'art washing' concerns

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer meeting with Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmed Al Khateeb
17 May 2024

Culture Secretary says the UK can 'support positive social change' in Saudi Arabia through engagement and relationship building as UK cultural organisations attend trade event in Riyadh.

UK's soft power strategy 'must involve creative sector'

A woman singing in a recording studio
16 May 2024

Report warns UK risks 'self-inflicted economic and diplomatic damage' unless government boosts its support for creative industries on the world stage.

Artists voice support for Palais de Tokyo amid 'wokeism' row

13 May 2024

Nearly 200 artists, curators, and critics have voiced their support of Palais de Tokyo after a longtime patron resigned from the Paris museum, accusing it of promoting “wokeism, anti-capitalism, pro-Palestine, etc.”

In an open letter, Collector Sandra Hegedüs said she withdrew from the museum's patron group, Amis du Palais de Tokyo, after 15 years because a current show contains references to efforts toward Palestinian liberation.

Hegedüs wrote that the exhibition “proposes, without perspective, some biased views and lies about the history of this conflict.” 

In an open letter first published in Le Monde, nearly 200 signatories, including artists Éric Baudelaire, Camille Henrot, Thomas Hirschhorn, and Pierre Huyghe, said the situation posed a potential threat to “institutional freedom” in France.

The letter said: “Like art and artists, our cultural institutions must remain free, or else risk disappearing.

“To remain free, they must be able to work with the professionalism and peace of mind that allow them to provide the conditions for the confrontation of ideas that is at the heart of their mission.”

NPOs accused of 'art washing' over Saudi trade mission

A CGI of Jamur marina with waterfront properties
09 May 2024

Leaders from the National Theatre, Southbank Centre and newly-named Royal Opera and Ballet among those taking part in UK government-backed trade delegation to Saudi Arabia.

Gallery installs toilet and church to remain a women-only space

08 May 2024

A women-only exhibition at a Tasmanian museum that received a court order forcing it to admit men has announced it will install a toilet to sidestep the ruling.

The Ladies Lounge at Tasmania's Museum of Old and New Art has been open since 2020 and houses some of the museum's most acclaimed works. Playing on the concept of Australian pubs, which were historically male-only spaces, the exhibit only offered women admittance. 

In April, a court ordered men to be allowed entry following a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by Jason Lau, a New South Wales resident.

Kirsha Kaechele, the artist behind the lounge, which has been closed since the ruling, said she plans to install a toilet and a church in the space, which she claims will allow it to continue operating as a women-only space under legal exemptions.

“There is a fabulous toilet coming to the Ladies Lounge and so, in that sense, the Ladies Lounge will operate as a ladies’ room,” said Kaechele.

There are plans to admit men to the exhibit on Sundays to learn ironing and laundry folding.

Despite losing the discrimination case, Kaechele said the outcome had been positive. "Thanks to the ruling,” she said, “We have no choice but to open ourselves to a whole range of enriching experiences - spiritual, educational... to discover fascinating new possibilities, and to become better."

American orchestra drops UK dates due to costs

30 Apr 2024

Cleveland Orchestra has reportedly withdrawn from performances in the UK over cost concerns, according to a report in Slipped Disc.

The orchestra had reportedly accepted invitations to play at both the BBC Proms and the Edinburgh Festival as part of a ten-stop European tour this summer.

Slipped Disc claims the orchestra would have incurred a sizeable financial loss from the UK stops, which neither m usic festival could compensate for.

Several commentators have noted the absence of an American orchestra from this year's Proms season.  

Artistic freedom under threat from authoritarian and illiberal regimes

Detail form a painting detailing head of a woman
23 Apr 2024

As global politics become increasingly polarised, the right to freedom of expression is under threat in many countries, including the European Union, writes Johanna Bankston.

Concerns raised over Ireland’s lack of Arts Council Chair 

22 Apr 2024

Arts leaders and politicians in Ireland have criticised Arts and Media Minister Catherine Martin for taking over four months to appoint a Chair to the Arts Council.

Her department recently confirmed that there are currently 17 vacancies on boards of national cultural institutions across Ireland, including the role of Chair at the Arts Council - An Chomhairle Ealaíon - which has been empty since Kevin Rafter's departure, announced on 1 December last year.

The Fianna Fáil TD (a member of the lower house of the Irish Parliament) told the Irish Mail on Sunday: "This delay is most regrettable. It creates the impression that arts and culture are some sort of decorous side issue to be left on the political sideline to be waved at. This is a substantial budget which needs to be supervised appropriately."

"The arts play a key role in building wellbeing in communities, in tourism and in job creation. It is not politically wise or responsible to leave the sector without leadership," added the Cavan-Monaghan TD.

Niamh Smyth, head of the Oireachtas Committee on Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht, said that cultural bodies and arts organisations “are becoming gravely concerned over the long delay in appointing a new chair”.

Sinn Féin senator Fintan Warfield previously raised the issue last month, saying: “It is now March 2024, and there is no chairperson of the Arts Council, a state agency with a budget of €130m."

Australia trade deal introduces royalties for UK artists

03 Apr 2024

UK artists will earn new royalties when their work is resold in Australia as part of a free trade agreement between the UK and Australia, the government has said.

The Department for Trade and Industry says rules introduced last week mean UK artists can claim resale royalties each time their art - including paintings, sculptures, prints and photographs - is resold in the Australian professional art market. 

Artists are now entitled to resale royalties in line with the Australian system, currently 5% of the sale price of artworks sold commercially for AU$1,000 or more, where previously they would not have received anything. 

Creative Industries Minister Julia Lopez said: “Thanks to this new Free Trade Agreement, British artists will be fairly rewarded for their efforts and be able to claim resale royalties in line with the system [in Australia]. 

"This is just one part of our plan to grow our booming creative industries even further, benefiting talented British artists that are in demand around the world.” 

UK creative industries 'an export success story'

A person using a mixing desk
20 Mar 2024

Report highlights overall export growth but finds 'striking dichotomy' in the performance of trade in services versus trade in goods for the UK’s creative industries.

Trip Advisor analysis ranks London first for culture

11 Mar 2024

A tour operator company has ranked London the best city in the world for museums and galleries.

Audley Travel’s analysis revealed which cities have the highest number of five-star rated museums and galleries on Trip Advisor.

There are over 170 museums and galleries in London, enough to visit a new one every week for over three years, and 97 have a five-star rating on Trip Advisor.

London outranked Prague for top position, with Paris, Istanbul and New York rounding out the top five.

Jacqui Kaliouby, a UK specialist at Audley Travel, said London’s museums and galleries are “constantly changing with fresh exhibitions, new talks and innovative interactive experiences”.

She added that many of the city’s biggest and most renowned museums being free and easy to access helps strengthen its position.

Regenerating post-pandemic partnerships with China

11 Mar 2024

It's more than a year since China reopened its borders following the pandemic with the promise of reviving its international arts scene. Alex Lalak explores what this means for UK arts organisations looking to re-forge their links.  

Home Office overturns visa refusal for Afghan Youth Orchestra

05 Mar 2024

The Afghan Youth Orchestra’s four-date tour in England will go ahead after the Home Office u-turned on a decision to reject the ensemble’s visa application following public outcry.

Science Museum signs deal for new Saudi hub

The Science Museum, London, as seen from Exhibition Road
19 Feb 2024

Science Museum Group said it hopes the new Riyadh hub will help it collaborate with museum professionals, researchers and educators in Saudi Arabia.

British Museum mutes social media over moai statue campaign

19 Feb 2024

The British Museum deactivated the responses on a social media post after being flooded with comments from Chileans demanding that the institution return two moai statues from Easter Island.

Comments of "return the moai" began to inundate the museum's social channels after Chilean social media influencer Mike Milfort, who has 7.5m followers on TikTok, encouraged his fans to spam the museum’s Instagram page.

The statues, which date from between 1400 and 1650 AD, were taken from the Chilean territory of Rapa Nui. They were given as gifts to Queen Victoria in 1869 by Commodore Richard Powell before being endowed to the British Museum.

The British Museum said it only deactivated comments on one post, shared in collaboration with a youth charity, as it welcomed debate but felt it had to be "balanced against the need for safeguarding considerations, especially where young people are concerned".

The museum added that it has "good and open relations" with colleagues in Rapa Nui, and there have been several visits from the community to London since 2018.

The moai campaign is the latest repatriation debate to hit the British Museum. In December, Greek Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said Greece would not recognise the British Museum’s ownership of the Parthenon marbles, stating they “were stolen by [Lord] Elgin, abused, vandalised and sawed up to be in England”.

Medoni also said Greece “cannot accept either ownership, or possession, or jurisdiction [over the marbles] from the British Museum”.

Last week, the government confirmed that a law that would have allowed the restitution of artefacts on moral grounds would not apply to national museums and galleries.

DCMS Minister in Saudi Arabia for 'cultural collaboration' talks

A landscape view of AlUla in Saudi Arabia
01 Feb 2024

Official visit by Arts Minister Lord Parkinson follows deal between France's Pompidou Centre and Saudi Arabia on major culture project.

Rising popularity of arts degrees among Chinese students

21 Dec 2023

A report published by admissions service UCAS says UK universities should take advantage of rising interest in creative arts degrees among Chinese students.

In the last 10 years, Chinese students’ interest in creative arts and design subjects has more than doubled, going from 4% of UCAS acceptances in 2013 to 11% this year - making it the fourth most popular undergraduate subject for Chinese students.

Business has been the most popular degree subject among Chinese students for the past decade, but has fallen from making up 43% of undergraduate acceptances in 2013 to 26% in 2023.

China is the UK’s largest undergraduate global market, accounting for one in every four international acceptances via UCAS.

More Chinese students currently apply for degrees in the UK than students from Wales or Northern Ireland.

The UCAS report says that to remain competitive in the global market, higher institutions should proactively promote more subjects to Chinese students, such as the creative arts.

“The UK has a flourishing creative arts sector with world-leading TV and film, fashion, design and music industries so it’s encouraging to see growing numbers of Chinese students motivated to study in the UK due to the value of our vibrant arts and culture,” said Sander Kristel, UCAS Interim Chief Executive.

“This presents a significant opportunity for universities and colleges to promote the unique offering of our creative courses.”

Cultural rights are the cornerstone of equitable arts access

13 Dec 2023

When did the idea of cultural rights emerge? And how is it being put into practice? Nicholas Burman has been researching various schemes across Europe. 


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