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.

Free to speak? Not if you work in the arts

A photo of statues of angels, one with a gag over its mouth
20 Feb 2020

As ArtsProfessional unveils the explosive findings from its recent Freedom of Expression survey, Liz Hill examines the soul of a sector that believes it is owed artistic freedom but doesn’t tolerate freedom of speech within its own ranks.

White-led Chinese art gallery seeks new director

19 Oct 2021

Manchester’s Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA) is recruiting a new director following the resignation of Zoe Dunbar, its director of seven years.

Recruitment for a new Community Development and Engagement Manager and new trustees is also under way.

In September, the art gallery said it would set targets for staff and board members of Chinese heritage after facing accusations of “organisational yellowface”.

The announcement came after a working group contracted to address the allegations disbanded before final recommendations were submitted, citing racist attitudes at board level.

The organisation's interim director, Thanh Sinden, is of East Asian descent.

Current Chair of the Board of Trustees Nick Buckley Wood said the centre has been through a “difficult” time.

“But we have learned vital lessons that will prepare us for a much stronger future. I am looking forward to bringing new trustees on board as we prepare to open to the public next year.”

Questioning assumptions underlying governance

overhead view of a roundabout
13 Oct 2021

Boards in the cultural sector often focus on improving the delivery of a conventional model, but as Anisa Morridadi argues, both trustees and organisations need to change.

Trainee scheme to be catalyst for theatre careers

11 Oct 2021

Donmar Warehouse plans to recruit 13 paid trainees under a new career development programme.

Catalyst trainees will work in either creative or administrative roles. Special focus will be given to talent currently underrepresented in the industry, such as working class and D/deaf and disabled artists.

Trainees will be mentored by leading creatives and members of the Donmar Warehouse team.

Director Nadia Latif said most theatre artists understand the importance of opening access to people "who look like us or share our backgrounds".

"Theatre making should be transparent, accessible, and our rehearsal rooms should bustle with a multitude of people with totally different life experiences feeding each other creatively and taking care of one another."

Half victory for Arts Council England in disability discrimination case

22 Sep 2021

The funder has been cleared of indirect discrimination but its lawyer admits "there was perhaps a lack of a full understanding" about its own recruitment policy.

New music publishing service for composers

14 Sep 2021

Music management companies HarrisonParrott and Polyarts have launched a new music publishing service, Birdsong.

Birdsong will work with composers to “nurture development and encourage creativity whilst protecting and exploiting copyright”.

Classical music specialists HarrisonParrott will offer a tailored publishing service for Birdsong’s roster and Polyarts will assist those working across different music genres.

Co-Founder and Executive Chairman Jasper Parrott said Birdsong’s launch was “the realisation of an ambition [HarrisonParrot] has had for many years”.

“It is exciting that this symbolically important step should chime with the urgent need to support creativity in the post-Covid music world.”

White-led Chinese art gallery vows to change

09 Sep 2021

A lack of leadership, engagement and morale has caused an exodus of staff and reputational crisis - but the centre's position is "redeemable".

Watchdog raises concerns over Sony merger

08 Sep 2021

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating Sony Music Entertainment’s acquisition of two Kobalt Music Group subsidaries, AWAL and Neighbouring Rights.

The watchdog believes the £312m deal, completed in May, could limit competition after an initial investigation.

The CMA found evidence AWAL was "well-placed" to compete with Sony in the future, recognising the music distributor as "one of few suppliers outside the major labels that succeeded in gaining a meaningful foothold in the market".

CMA's Senior Director Colin Raftery said the merger could worsen deals for many music artists in the UK, leading to less innovation across the industry.

Sony has said it is "perplexed" by the findings. The industry giant has until September 14 to address the CMA's concerns, before the deal is referred for an in-depth Phase 2 investigation.

TV industry 'ignorant' of legal duties to disabled staff

23 Aug 2021

Senior television workers are unaware of their legal obligations to their disabled colleagues, driving many out of the industry

80% of disabled TV workers believe their disability has damaged their career and 77% say their career options are limited, according to a small survey commissioned by Birmingham City University's Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity.

Respondents said there is "little understanding of the Equalities Act" and some continued in a potentially harmful role because they feared the consequences of asking for reasonable adjustments.


Entry level jobs like being a runner can be a barrier to more disabled people joining the industry. Some respondents said they struggled to find work outside of disability programming; others chose to use their insight to support this work. 

The research also noted a recent trend among broadcasters to relocate to regional centres creates issues for disabled staff, such as finding suitable accommodation and rebuilding support networks. 

The report was produced by disabled journalist Kate Ansell: "What's striking is the consistency of the experiences described and the simplicity of some of the solutions," she said.

"It's crucial that the industry acts upon what it is being told." 


What do we mean by a systemic conversation?

image of jigsaw pieces
20 Jul 2021

Building on Culture Reset, Richard Watts shares a range of new initiatives aimed at supporting the cultural sector to change and develop to meet the urgent demands for inclusion, improved governance and more dispersed models of leadership.

Masking for a friend

09 Jul 2021

Arts venues might lose out by mandating masks and other Covid-19 mitigations but it's the only socially responsible option.

Barbican Centre workers call for change to 'inherently racist' management

24 Jun 2021

Sir Nicholas Kenyon has resigned as Managing Director two weeks after current and former staff went public about their experiences.

Arts company says 'art should be a safe space for debate' amid transphobia row

24 Jun 2021

Artichoke says it will keep Jess de Wahls' contribution to exhibition which provides a platform for "all women, trans and non-binary people": "We do not believe in cancel culture"

ArtsEd launches investigation amid wave of sexual misconduct claims

10 Jun 2021

The conservatoire is the fourth in two weeks to face allegations of historic staff misconduct. What's driving the rise in disclosure?

Time's up for conservatoire culture

A theatre workshop in which students rush at a young person seated on the ground
09 Jun 2021

Drama schools would do well to interrogate their practices and culture now before the calls for reform begin.

'Black square' arts organisations follow through on diversity vows

04 Jun 2021

Many of the UK's highest-funded arts organisations promised change after George Floyd's death. While governance and programming has evolved, change in the ethnic diversity of their workforces is slow.

Initiatives to unlock an anti-racist arts sector

Sour Lemons' leadership team Sade Banks, left, Titiola Dawudu, centre, and Shoomi Chowdhury, on the right
23 Apr 2021

Two new programmes aim to move organisations beyond the statements of solidarity expressed last summer through distinct but complementary approaches.

Southbank Sinfonia merges with St John's Smith Square

07 Apr 2021

The partnership will afford more stability to both organisations as they aim to create "one of the most accessible and creative venues in the country".

Trafalgar Entertainment acquires HQ Theatres

31 Mar 2021

Sir Howard Panter and Dame Rosemary Squire look set to repeat the commercial theatre growth model they perfected as founders of the Ambassador Theatre Group. 


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