Older people: culture, community, connection

23 Mar 2022

What’s the impact of cultural participation in later life, and how do we capture its value? Helen Manchester explores what the research tells us. 

How might culture engineer levelling up? 

Light installation
25 Jan 2022

DCMS is calling for evidence for its latest inquiry on the levelling up agenda. Jason Jones-Hall has been analysing initial data from place-based funding streams and shares his findings. 

Keeping the torch of international cultural co-operation burning 

07 Dec 2021

Jonathan Goodacre considers how we can preserve the global ideas exchange that the arts and culture community benefits from so richly.

Engaging young wealthy donors: heartstrings before purse strings

02 Jun 2021

Recent research provides insights to building lifetime relationships with the funders of the future. Lisa Rose outlines the main findings.

What is market research?

26 May 2022

There are many misconceptions about market research and who is or isn’t qualified to undertake it. Robin Cantrill-Fenwick unravels its mysteries.

A radical re-think of R&D policy

26 May 2022

How do art and artists contribute to innovation? Hasan Bakhshi and David Maggs argue that the typical ways of inquiring into the world are in desperate need of revitalisation.

Creative industries policy centre gets five-year funding boost

25 May 2022

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) has announced that it will continue to fund the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC) for a further five years and is seeking a new host organisation.  

Since its inception in 2018 PEC, which comprises a consortium of universities from across the UK, has been hosted by innovation foundation Nesta, which led on its establishment.

The AHRC has issued a call for expressions of interest from research organisations who are interested in hosting the PEC and its core team from June 2023 for a further five-year period.

Professor Christopher Smith, Executive Chair at Arts and Humanities Research Council, said: “The Centre balances robust academic research with agile, reactive policy and industry priorities. 

"[This] announcement is good news for the sector and we very much look forward to finding the right host organisation to work with for the exciting next stage of development and reinforce the PEC’s position as a vital research and innovation infrastructure for the creative industries."

Plymouth College of Art gains university status

25 May 2022

Plymouth College of Art has been approved for university status and changed its name to Arts University Plymouth.

The institution, founded in 1856, has been granted full university status following approval by the Privy Council. It becomes the third university in the city in addition to University of Plymouth and Plymouth Marjon University.

"This exciting news recognises the quality of the work already taking place," said Professor Paul Fieldsend-Danks, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Arts University Plymouth.

"Achieving full university status is just our latest evolution in over 160 years of leading specialist arts education in the South West and internationally.

"Their tireless work has enabled us to demonstrate the value of arts education to students, to the UK economy and to a world that needs creatives now more than ever."

"Our vision for Arts University Plymouth is a new kind of art school for the 21st century, preparing graduates who are uniquely placed to provide creative solutions to the complex problems faced by modern society."



Natural History Museum plans new £180m research centre

23 May 2022

The Natural History Museum will move a third of its collection to a new research and storage centre in Berkshire as part of efforts to make its assets digitally available to academics around the world.

The planned £180m centre at the Thames Valley Science Park in Shinfield, Berkshire, is a collaboration with the University of Reading and is being funded by DCMS.

The centre will house a third of the Natural History Museum's assets, including its mammal collections and non-insect invertebrates - such as corals, crustaceans, molluscs and worms - totalling more than 27 million specimens.

It is hoped the collections will help studies of climate change, food security and biodiversity conservation.

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading Professor Robert Van de Noort said it was an "exciting development" for the university.

"It could provide significant opportunities for our academics and students, as well as bringing benefits to the broader local area," he said.

"This new relationship with the Natural History Museum should further enhance the international research success of both organisations," he added.

The centre is expected to be completed in 2026, subject to planning permission.

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.”

Performance studies threatened by proposed university cuts

19 May 2022

Announcements of course closures and job losses at universities prompt concerns of 'existential threat' to theatre and performance studies.

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.

Evaluating cities and capitals of culture

art installation of dominoes in a town square
17 May 2022

With the winner of the UK City of Culture 2025 to be announced imminently, four academics outline their recommendations for the future of evaluation studies of Cities and Capitals of Culture. 

Audit highlights UK's 'world-leading' art and music research

13 May 2022

Results from the assessment will determine the allocation of around £2bn in annual government funding.

Arts workers more likely to experience poor mental health

11 May 2022

Performance arts workers are more likely to experience poor mental health than their peers, according to a global scoping review published by Equity.

Led by Dr Lucie Clements, the review spans 111 academic studies related to mental health and wellbeing in students and professionals within the performing arts.

Two academic papers, one reviewing actors and the other ballet dancers, showed depression to be twice as likely in performers than the general population. A separate study found that 54% of musical theatre students reported a level of depression or anxiety that met the rate for diagnosis of a mental disorder.

A meta-analysis reviewing levels of anxiety in a given week found dancers (24%), opera singers (32%), acting students (52%), actors (60%) and rock musicians (90%) to far surpass the levels observed in the general population (6%).

Across the studies, a culture of unstable work, antisocial working hours, time away from home, and financial fears were cited as the main attributors to increased stress and mental health in performance artists.

In response, Equity has created a Mental Health Charter listing five demands.

The union is calling on producers and engagers to address the harmful impacts of precarious work, adopt relevant safeguards in the workplace and ensure inclusion of historically marginalised groups.

It also demands education providers ensure every young person’s training is conducted with dignity and respect and calls on the government to reform the Mental Health Act.

Equity General Secretary Paul Fleming says the charter puts the responsibility on those that control the creative industry: “They show that our demands for improvements in pay, condition and access to the industry aren’t just about our members’ material wellbeing, but their mental health too.”

NHS funds stand-up comedy course for men at risk of suicide

11 May 2022

A course teaching stand-up comedy skills to people suffering from mental illness, postnatal depression, anxiety and PTSD is being socially prescribed by the NHS.

Comedy On Referral, which previously ran a successful six-week course in Bristol for trauma survivors, has been awarded funding by the NHS to help men at risk of suicide in London.

Founder Angie Belcher was awarded a grant this week from the North West London Integrated Care System, which works across 10 NHS trusts and eight London boroughs to reduce suicides. She will work with psychologists to help up to 20 men deemed to be at risk of suicide.

Belcher said that stand-up comedy exercises and games can be used to process trauma and take control of personal narratives.

“I’ve taught comedy for 10 years, and students often told me how much stronger, more resilient and happier they were after exploring their personal histories through stand-up comedy,” she said.

The course is the result of a year-long research project on the effects of comedy as a therapeutic tool.

Patients referred by the NHS will create a five-minute stand-up set based on their personal stories. A performance for at least 100 people will be organised at the end of the course.

Valuing what matters about culture

Manga Theme Show at British Museum Friday Lates
11 May 2022

There is long-standing dissatisfaction with how the value of arts and culture has been discussed in policy making. Patrycja Kaszynska explains why the ‘capitals’ framework and the notion of ‘enabling assets’ might help. 

Heritage sector ‘confident about future'

Barnard Castle in County Durham
09 May 2022

Survey finds positivity among organisations across Britain and confidence to weather possible future waves of Covid-19.

A South Asian counter narrative

portrait of Roohia Syed-Ahmed
04 May 2022

New research on South Asian arts and ageing offers insights and inspiration to a new generation, write Elizabeth Lynch and Arti Prashar.

Arts project to support early onset dementia care

27 Apr 2022

Research into the impact of arts-based health workshops for people with early onset dementia and their caregivers is being supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

The two-year project, which received £113,000, is one of the first to use the arts to help care for dementia patients under the age of 65.

Drama, dance and storytelling practitioners will help university researchers in Nottingham and Derby deliver workshops based on neuro-dramatic play, an attachment-based model that builds the ability to cope using creativity. 

Participants will take part in drama, role-play, storytelling and music-making with an eye to improving their quality of life, family relationships and ability to manage a dementia diagnosis.

“Our hope is to take our findings from this initial project and continue to develop this research and toolkit to develop so it can have further national and international impact,” lead investigator Dr Clive Holmwood said.


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