Local authority funding survey 2024: preliminary findings

11 Apr 2024

Initial findings from Arts Professional's latest Pulse survey on local authority funding reveal councils are selling off venues and 'spinning out' arts and culture to independent entities to save money.

The shifting world of arts comms

Graphic showing the letters PR
08 Feb 2024

For the past two years, Mobius Industries has run a survey to take the temperature of arts PR. As Emma Berge reports, the results reveal widespread concern about the shrinkage of arts coverage. 

Movement for wellbeing

Image shows two people seated, one in a wheelchair, touching hands
05 Feb 2024

Taking part in physical activity has proven health benefits but it remains elusive for many. Here Amy Knowles shares an innovative approach to engaging adults in moving more. 

Teaching empathy

01 Feb 2024

Empathy is vital in the work of NHS staff, but it's not always part of their professional development. Persis Jadé Maravala is collaborating on a project to improve healthcare training using touch.

Has beauty become a dirty word?

14 Dec 2023

Artist Sarah Hunter, physicist Rox Middleton and philosopher Lucy Tomlinson spotlight what they learnt from spending a year exploring the cultural value of beauty. 

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

UKRI awards £70m to university museums and collections

12 Apr 2024

University museums and collections from 21 higher education institutes will receive a share of £14m of Higher Education Museums, Galleries, and Collections funding each year until 2029/2030.

The funding from Research England - part of United Kingdom Research and Innovation - has been raised from £11.7m and will go to 40 higher education museums, galleries, and collections, compared to 33 in previous rounds.

Among those receiving the multi-year grants are nine museums and collections at Cambridge University, which will share more than £2.9m, and four at Oxford, splitting more than £4m.

Three Birmingham University collections will share £400,000, while the Royal College of Music Museum and The Courtauld Institute of Art will get over £221,000 and £696,000, respectively.

Dr Liz Hide, Director of the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences at Cambridge University, which has been awarded £210,000 a year, said the funding would go toward “[ensuring] researchers can fully utilise our new Collections Research Centre, and enabling our outstanding collections to inspire many new avenues of research across both the sciences and the humanities.”

Art therapy improves outcomes for young people in mental health units

10 Apr 2024

Art therapy is associated with positive outcomes for children and adolescents in a hospital-based mental health unit, a new study published in the Journal of Mental Health has found.

Researchers, led by Sarah Versitano, examined more than six years of data from a child and adolescent mental health hospital ward in Australia to understand if the use of restrictive practices, such as seclusion or physical restraint, was lower during the periods when art therapy was offered compared to times when it was not available.

The findings showed "a clear association" between the availability of art therapy and reduced frequency of seclusion, physical restraint and injection of sedatives in mental health units.

Researchers suggest that the trend could have emerged as art therapy may decrease severe distress levels among patients, reducing the risk of harm to themselves or others.

In forthcoming research, the same team aims to understand better young people's experiences of art therapy and why it appears to reduce distress.

Do artists’ livelihoods matter?

Flower emerging from a skull
09 Apr 2024

After far too many decades of jam tomorrow, artists deserve better, says independent arts researcher Susan Jones.

'Pressing need' for evidence that arts prevent youth offending

03 Apr 2024

Review into impact of arts programmes aimed at preventing youth offending finds insufficient evidence to calculate their effectiveness, but anecdotal evidence points towards positive outcomes.

Government urged to develop live performance 'crisis plan'

26 Mar 2024

Performing arts sector remains at threat from future global shocks unless action on resilience planning is taken by both central and local government, report finds.

Cultural strategies: Layers of place and policy

21 Mar 2024

Amid the current drive for local authorities to have cultural strategies, Professor Daniel Ashton considers the challenges of trying to align those strategies to changing policy and geographic landscapes.

Class barriers persist in the creative industries

20 Mar 2024

Research from Creative Access has found class discrimination remains an issue in creative workspaces.

Almost three-quarters (74%) of 392 employees in the creative industries and Creative Access members, agreed it is harder for working-class people to land a role in the creative industries, while 70% of respondents said class affects how you’re seen by your peers.

The research also found there is a disparity between different classes regarding perceptions of social mobility, equal reward and senior representation across the sectors. In Creative Access’ research, 73% of working-class individuals and 46% of upper/upper middle class individuals agreed working class representation is lacking most at senior level.

Unpaid internships are still commonplace, the research found, with those who identify as working or middle or lower-middle class saying those from upper-class backgrounds benefit the most. 

The research also shed light on barriers to career progression including discrimination - where 88% agreed class discrimination was an issue in the UK workplace - and unequal reward. One in three working-class respondents thought they were rewarded equally for their work and contributions, compared with 67% of upper-class respondents.

Bibi Hilton, CEO of Creative Access said class is “the one area where we really aren’t making progress in the creative industries”.

“The research proves that access to this space is largely still based on contacts and networks which tend to be in close reach for the privileged,” Hilton added.

“It’s worrying that soft social identifiers are still influencing class prejudice and biases. But as the creative world evolves, we’re urging employers to commit to breaking down these barriers, whether it be levelling up their inclusive hiring or supporting working class staff with access to career support and mentors.”

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.

What would a regenerative cultural sector look like?

Young people leaping across a lavender bed in Ilam Park
19 Mar 2024

The sector’s resilience and creativity in navigating crises show how art and culture will sustain even in the toughest of times. Ben Walmsley explores what is now needed to build a more equitable, confident and sustainable future.   

Inside the minds of cultural leaders

Abstract art image of a head
14 Mar 2024

What do cultural leaders really think about the problems they, and the arts and cultural sector, face? Steven Hadley is the Editor of a new book on the subject. 

Significant challenges 'may limit opera sector ambitions'

Malcolm Ridley as Harrison Howell Kiss me Kate Opera North tour 2018
08 Mar 2024

A report into the opera sector commissioned by Arts Council England has warned that the rising costs of staging productions are outstripping income.

More than half of arts audiences are first-time bookers

Audience cheering
05 Mar 2024

Research into the behaviour of new arts audiences post-pandemic found the retention rate of new bookers in 2023 was higher than it has been since 2016.

Pressures on freelance mothers in dance 'at critical point'

A female dancer leaping through the air
29 Feb 2024

Concerns raised over female dancers returning to work too soon after giving birth, risking physical exhaustion and injury.

Researchers investigate benefits of singing

28 Feb 2024

A Bristol music venue is teaming up with researchers at the city's University of the West of England to explore links between singing and wellbeing.

The project, called Sing for Happiness is being described as the first large-scale research initiative of its kind and is seeking up to 500 local participants to take part.

Sing for Happiness will consist of a series of in-person sessions at St George’s music venue across spring 2024, with a final performance at Bristol Beacon on Saturday 22 June. 

It's hoped the research project’s results will provide data on how singing can be used in health and wellbeing contexts such as social prescribing.

Kat Branch, Head of UWE Bristol’s Centre for Music who is leading the study said: "No research has been done on this scale before, and we’re really pleased to be collaborating with St George’s who have fantastic links in the Bristol community to make this happen.”

Natalie Cooper, Leader of Bristol-based Melody Makers Choir, which will be convening sessions during the project, said: “People often tell me after a choir rehearsal how it has made them feel so much better. 

"There’s nowhere like a choir – how many places can you go to genuinely make new friends, create beautiful music together, feel a sense of achievement, and feel safe knowing that everyone is equal?”

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