The future of arts funding – live webchat

18.03.2015. 00:00 | Online


Why should we fund the arts? That was the question playwright and writer David Edgar posed in a feature for the Guardian in 2012. As fellow playwright Fin Kennedy revealed in his recent Local Government Association conference speech, 2012 was a year in which the government’s biggest cuts to Arts Council England were taking hold, along with swingeing cuts from some local authorities.

At the time, Edgar reasoned that the most compelling argument for funding the arts was not factual but counterfactual:

The cuts which start biting in April will have major and still unpredictable effects on arts provision in England … A failure to win the argument for continued public funding, even at reduced levels, would lead to the closure of the great majority of currently funded arts organisations, especially outside London.

The argument that Edgar spoke of in 2012 still rages. Five decades on from Jennie Lee’s white paper, A Policy for the Arts, the sector still fights for policy and funding changes that would, as Lee argued, allow arts and culture to occupy a central place in everyday British life – for young and old.

Recent evidence-based reports, such as the Warwick Commission’s document on the Future of Cultural Value and the trio of studies from GPS Culture, have highlighted the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to arts funding, but what next?

In concluding their two year self-funded research programme, the GPS Culture team – Christopher Gordon, David Powell and Peter Stark – wrote about the need for a new, more flexible and responsive structure of funding programmes, because the current models of arts funding do not engage with the realities of artists’ practice or the needs of emerging companies.


There are better ways, they wrote. “What might they be?”

That’s what we want to find out in our next webchat on the future of funding in arts and culture. What would a post-grants world look like? What are the alternative and new models of funding that will truly benefit the sector in the long-term? What about crowdfunding?


Join us and an expert panel to answer these questions and more from 12-2pm GMT on Wednesday 18 March.


Panel (more to follow)

Sarah Thirtle, head of business lending programmes, Creative Industry Finance

Vanessa Swann, chief executive, Cockpit Arts

Mehjabeen Price, chief operating officer, Creative England

Dominic Haddock, executive producer, OperaUpClose

Kate Arthurs, director of operations, arts, British Council

Ian Cruickshank, CMO, RateSetter

Phil Gibby, director, south west, Arts Council England

Adam Gallacher, head of fundraising, Chickenshed Theatre company

Oliver Mantell, area director, north, The Audience Agency

William Wollen, actor, writer, director and visiting lecturer, University of Kent


OperaUpClose is a recipient of Creative Industry Finance (CIF) support, a programme managed by Creative United and publicly funded by Arts Council England

Update: as announced in the webchat, RateSetter will be working with CIF from April


More information could be found here.


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