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Arts Council cuts revealed

Will Gompertz | 12:41 UK time, Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Manchester International Festival is in. Derby Theatre is likely to be out. And the South London Gallery has got a pay rise, going from the £394,000 they current receive to nearly £850,000 by 2015 (having doubled it size and tripled its audience). It’s still only 8:30am but the calls have been coming in to me shortly after Arts Council England (ACE) have made their outgoing calls.

Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England

It didn’t need to be like this. Arts Council England could have chosen to apply a 15% cut across the board and thereby avoid the inevitable hullabaloo of those who have had all their funding taken away questioning the decision. But as Alan Davey has just said on the Today programme, he felt that was not the way to go and would lead to a less vibrant sector.

I suspect that will be the fate for just over 200 arts companies who previously had funding, with a hundred or so new contracts being awarded to organisations not previously in the fold (eg Manchester International Festival).

Many have still not have heard. The bosses of theatres, orchestras and dance companies are still waiting anxiously by their phones, like politicians on election night; they await their fate. Has their bid for financial support been successful? And if so, is it with a reduced margin?

There are five possible outcomes for arts companies that have applied to ACE for funding:

  • Total rejection – no money and not a member of the portfolio
  • They still receive ACE funding but it is greatly reduced – an implicit warning that they need to do better
  • Their funding is cut more moderately, within the 15% average set by the government – I think this will be the case with all the big national institutions ACE funds
  • They get MORE money – as is the case with South London Gallery
  • Or they receive regular funding for the first time and become part of ACE’s portfolio

I think "umbrella companies" - associations and advocacy groups that represent one group or art form but don’t directly produce content - will be particularly hard hit. And it seems likely that the visual arts will do well. We’ve already seen that with the South London Gallery, and you can add large increases to the Hepworth in Wakefield and Turner Contemporary in Margate into the mix, as they are opening for the first time this spring.

I don’t think the overall spending pattern across England will change much, but understand many of the agreements will be contingent upon local councils also stumping up. So where that leaves theatres and galleries in places like Somerset where all arts funding is being withdrawn remains to be seen.

I’ve heard from several sources that £10 million will be put towards a project to enable schools and arts companies to work together - this goes some way towards replacing the £50 million that went out of arts education when Creative Partnerships and Find Your Talent were axed last year.

Most will be three-year deals, but I think there will be some that are shorter - maybe two years - and some that are longer - possibly up to six years. All 840 organisations that are currently funded have a year to adjust to whatever funding decision they receive.

I think the theme ACE will be pushing is that they have supported adventurous programming. Risk-takers who have made it happen will be rewarded, while those they think are simply surviving will be the ones in the firing line.

A final point: Although these decisions have been made within the context of government cuts, there will be significantly more lottery money available than there was before, to enable ACE to cushion the blow for those organisations that find themselves out of favour and out of pocket.

Update 1241:

The upshot, after an hour’s worth of press conference, is that there are 695 arts companies who have a multi-year deal with Arts Council England.

Shared Experience theatre company's production of Bronte

 

Some, like the Hampstead Theatre, have a three-year deal and others such as Artangel have an agreement for six years.

As I expected, Derby Theatre’s funding has been axed as has that for the Northcott Theatre in Exeter, the Dartington Hall Trust in Devon and the Riverside Studios in London.

The shock of the day was the withdrawal of all funding from the innovative theatre company Shared Experience. I saw their production of Bronte at the weekend and it seemed to tick all the Arts Council boxes: it’s collaboration with another company, gives opportunity to emerging talent, is a company which is for once mot male-dominated, and has secured a residency at the Oxford Playhouse to make it more financially secure. In a bizarre twist, the Oxford Playhouse actually received an increase in its funding.

But of course when such a comprehensive overhaul takes place it is inevitable there will be anomalies and that decisions will be made that will prove to be contentious.

I spoke to the Arts Council specifically about the Shared Experience decision and they admitted that it was a tough call and there would be project funds available to help the company survive. I would not be surprised to see them back as a RFO (regularly funded organisation)  in three years time.

It was the umbrella organisations that took the brunt of the pain, with groups such as Dance United (which just happens to be one of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s chosen charities on their wedding list) finding their funding withdrawn altogether.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    When Winston Churchill was asked why he did not cut funding for the arts to help the war effort he replied 'what are we fighting for?'

  • Comment number 2.

    Having looked at its website I am puzzled as to why the South London Gallery gets any public money at all. A future event is described as highlighting "the complex history of processional group walking"!! But it does frequently use the fashionable words "space" and "vibrant" so that's alright then.

  • Comment number 3.

    The party is over from tax-payer funding. About time too.

  • Comment number 4.

    Given that it's now midday and there are only three comments on this board, I think it's fair to say that the "hullaballoo" will be restricted to the people directly affected. The wider public either don't care, or don't seem to have noticed.

  • Comment number 5.

    Maybe the wider public are too busy working to pay for all this stuff that they have no time to take part in or appreciate. Art is for the unemployed and retired. The rest of us pay for it. Sad but true.

  • Comment number 6.

    I assume that the regions will take the brunt of the cuts whilst London will be hardly affected? After all, Art doesn't exist beyond the M25, does it!!??

  • Comment number 7.

    I agree with David (4). Only four comments in over an hour suggests a lack of interest.

    I think the main way to save money would be to stop the system where a rich person puts up an item for auction. The John Paul Getty Museum often bids the highest, but is prevented from taking the item from the nation. There is then an appeal to raise millions to match the bid and this may involve public funds. If the item isn't allowed to leave the UK, shouldn't only UK organisations be allowed to bid for it, even if it means less money for the rich seller?

    Is it really that important for people to see originals? I went to the Jheronimus Bosch Art Center in the Netherlands. It has copis of Bosch's painting, but is no less intersting for that. I'm sure that the UK could raise money by selling originals and keeping copies of some items, especially those that are really displayed. This could be done with the Elgin Marbles. The Victoria and Albert Museum has two rooms showing casts of monuments, several of whch show details that have been lost in the originals.

  • Comment number 8.

    Difficult one. #1 has it in many ways right by quoting Churchill's comment: I recall my father recounting that when stationed in Austria immediately after VE Day, local people were more concerned about rebuilding the Opera House than their own homes & businesses...

    Yet - the idea of funding the 'risk-takers' is sound... because if the risk DOES work, why should they not become a commercial venture? Too many arts groups think that 'commerce' is a dirty word and seem to prefer to exist on gifts. It's the modern version of the old patronage idea, a creator or performer being supported by a wealthy nobleman rather than earning their keep from their work.

    I think we'll be hearing a lot more of 'Keep the day job' and not just to those who fail to impress at audition!

  • Comment number 9.

    I hope some money has been allocated to actually define art and it's benefit to the mainstream population - Methink's Churchill may not have left them alone if it was the same "art" as today !!
    Anybody want to buy an unusually folded napkin ??

  • Comment number 10.

    "Bums on seats" - all art needs to appeal to somebody eventually! OK, the arts bureaucracy is made up of some of the weirdest and most peculiar people in the country none of whom would you want to entertain to dinner, but isn't that the point? Funding the different, to see if it flies or sinks without trace - isn't that what we should be doing? I don't see that funding the arts establishment is ever the right thing to do to the exclusion of the new.

    ps. Will G. pls. fix this

    "which is for once mot male-dominated" (see above).

    We all know what you intended to type! I am sure you do not mean to imply that your motor needs an MOT or were referring to a (bon) mot - we are all reading it as not!

  • Comment number 11.

    Until the arts sector as a whole can come up with a coherent argument for why the arts need to be supported by government they will continue to survive or disappear on the whim of government ministers who use their own cultural interests and a vague feeling that if they stopped all funding it might look bad to make decisions when faced with balancing the book...

  • Comment number 12.

    A country can only afford the luxuries of arts when the productive backbones of science, manufacturing and engineering are successful. Once we are competitive in those areas again, I'm sure arts funding will return.

  • Comment number 13.

    The Queen is said to have 20,000 paintings and drawings in her "collection".

    Why doesn't she sell some and give the money to local theatres, etc.?

    The Royals would pick up some goodwill, which they badly need after
    Air Miles Andy and his horrible family topped the greed stakes.



  • Comment number 14.

    Too much money is going to the Tate Mafia. There is a lovely little circle within modern art, which talks up rubbish art, so that people like Tracy Emin can call their slutty bed art, and Serota and his ilk go along with it. And everybody makes a mint!
    Poor old Van Gogh never sold a painting in his life. He probably wouldn't today, either, as it is not "challenging" or "questioning".

  • Comment number 15.

    And in this exhibit, the viewer as artist is forced to challenge the definition of his experience within the funding landscape, and reinterpret the juxtaposition of cash and horse-manure.

  • Comment number 16.

    In the light of the rduction in funding (deplorable but just what could be expected from the government) a few words of appreciation for the ACE strategy is called for. I haven't seen the complete list of funding decisions (and I'm sure I would disagree with several of them) but the intention of ACE to avoid salami slicing is clearly the correct one. Even if you disagree with individual choices, at least the decisions are rational and are taken by reasonable and disinterested people.

  • Comment number 17.

    I think many people have overlooked the acadmic role played by the AHC council or The Arts and Humanities Funding Council - it does not just provide funding for plays and theatres, which are purely cultural, but it subsidises and pays for PHD tuition fees and maintenance.

    Students have been hit by both a rise in undergraduate fees and now, loss of funding through the back door and underhand government policy. I am currently finishing my BA in History and had hoped to get funding for a Masters, but many very capable students have now been let down and will be unable to pursue their ambitions of completeing a PHD. Its so sad that the Dr's of the future will comprise only those wealthy enough to pay for their education without funding. As a result, important research, across the humanities will not be carried out.

    Its absolutely disgraceful.

  • Comment number 18.

    As someone working in the arts this is of course a disappointing day. The comments already made contain the usual ignorant ideas about the arts but the point I simply cannot let slip is the "why should the taxpayer fund people's hobbies/interests etc."

    Here we go. I do not smoke and have never smoked. Why should my taxes go to fund the medical care of people who smoke?

    I do not take drugs and have never taken drugs. Why should my taxes....etc

    I think athletics is one of the most pointless of human activities. Why should my taxes go towards funding the Olympics?

    I drive sensibly and always within speed limits. Why should my taxes go towards funding the Police, Ambulance and Fire Services to tend to road accidents, the majority of which are caused by reckless driving?

    I think mountaineering is utterly pointless. Why should my taxes fund the rescue and care of people who go mountaineering and get into difficulty?

    The list could go on but I'll stop there. Please use your intelligence people. This is what living in a society is all about, we support each other when in difficulty and we support people's right to choose what they do.

  • Comment number 19.

    I'm not sure whats more depressing - the cuts themselves or the comments about them here.
    The UK economy would suffer enormously if we didn't have highly skilled and innovative artists and designers - all of whom have benefitted by state funded arts and arts education. Art isn't just for retired and unemployed people - how depressing a thought that is - it is for everyone. Just becuase you don't like or appreciate what goes on, it doesn't mean that it is worthless. And the comment #9 about Churchill funding 'art' somehow more proper or conventional to what it is today? - The contemporary art scene of the 1940s was just as innovative and risk taking and (therefore?) unpopular with a lot of people as today's is. It didn't make it a waste of momney then and it doesn't now.

  • Comment number 20.

    Another point to consider. When people go to Paris do they visit the banking district? Do tour groups arrange trips to take a look at the stock exchange?

    No, people visit the Louvre or go the opera, or trundle off to visit Monet's garden. In Florence, where are the queues? Outside solicitor's offices? Outside an accountant's building? No - the queues are to get into the Uffizi to look at art.

    What we know and love of every society past is its art. Early French cave paintings, Byzantine frescoes, Illuminated Mediaeval prayer books, Greek poetry and drama, Italian Renaissance art, French Impressionist painting, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Tolstoy, Shakespeare...

    Art is what we remember and cherish of these societies because it tells us what made them human and tells us what they hoped for and what they aspired to. If all people remember of our society is that we were a nation of bean-counters and that we did really well at making the books balance, we will have failed utterly

  • Comment number 21.

    I assume that the regions will take the brunt of the cuts whilst London will be hardly affected? After all, Art doesn't exist beyond the M25, does it!!??
    ==============================================================
    I was wondering how long it would take for a south v north/city v countryside argument to appear. But also inaccurate given the poverty and hardship that exists in many intra M25 councils versus elsewhere in the UK. And after 13 years of Labour where allocation of money for everything, even basic healthcare, was clearly skewed according to the number of Labour voters that existed in an area. But this is about something else. Simply questioning the efficiency of expenditure which even for art must be the reality after years of Labour waste. One way round this shortfall would be to try and recoup some of the money given away by Labour in allowing foreign visitors free access to our museums and art galleries. Why should I pay to visit a Parisien museum or even pay more than a US citizen does to visit his/her local gallery when French/Americans get free entry to mine? I suggest a visitor tax especially on non-EU visitors like Americans - after all America charges EU citizens for the ESTA service, and give that to the arts. And also make businesses like hotel chains pay a tax based on foreign visitors to sustain the arts and culture they use to charge such rip off prices in the UK.

  • Comment number 22.

    Hillarious reactions! However, it is true to say that "the arts bodies need to find benefactors who share their aims and ambitions" as rightfully pointed out by Lord Aldington.

    Much although gallery openings are huge fun and synonomous with "Free Booze" amongst the initiated few, one musn't forget that there is no such thing as FREE! someone always has to picks up the bill and tidy up the mess.

  • Comment number 23.

    Lets not forget that there will be people who work within the Arts who will be unemployed as from today.

  • Comment number 24.

    Re #2 - I am delighted the South London Gallery has received a boost in funding. It's too easy to check the website and pull a random quote in an attempt to write off an institution with a long history. SLG does a lot of work with local communities that have benefited greatly from its presence, giving young people something to really engage with. And its recent expansion further helps it provide a vibrant and creative alternative to contemporary art areas dominated by central London institutions like the Tate.

    Re #7 - I don't think youve got the auction thing right. The artwork is only temporarily prevented to leave the UK *when* a foreign buyer is trying to buy it. Before it gets to that stage, UK institutions do all they can to be allowed to buy it first, then resort to delaying foreign sale in order to match the bid. It is not simply 'banned' from UK export for all time.

    Selling off originals for cash? Never going to happen. Museums in Holland are not showing copied artworks because they prefer that format. There's a lot more behind that than just thrifty thinking. And a lot of the casts in the V&A are special objects in themselves because they are so old now. Art imitating art becoming art?

  • Comment number 25.

    The over-riding factor that no-one seems to be talking about is that this funding is almost entirely misdirected - particularly when community youth music projects, local drama groups etc are being entirely cut out of the loop and have never been under tougher pressure.

    Without today's junior orchestra, tomorrow's Halle will have no British instrumentalists.

    Without today's local drama group, the royal shakespeare company will struggle to continue.

    Opera north will still continue to fill halls and make money, whether they receive the same funding or not. It's our children and young people who are being denied opportunities in arts, and these changes have done nothing to help. All they have done is keep the little money that is given to the arts to the top of the pile - very little of which will ever filter down to grass roots.

  • Comment number 26.

    Post industrial societies need new technologies or new applications for old. That means people with skills and imagination. What stimulates the imagination? Yes, the arts. The arts are central to our commercial well being. They stimulate in unforseen ways. Einstein riding on a sunbeam. Next time you hear 'art for art's sake' point out where that notion leads. Here.

  • Comment number 27.


    Royal Opera House

    * Artform: Combined arts
    * Region: London

    The Royal Opera House houses the UK’s leading Opera and Ballet companies, and plays host to a wide range of visiting companies and artists. Through its programme on the main stage, in the Linbury Studio, the Clore Studio and in spaces throughout the building it presents many forms of classical and contemporary opera and dance. Our funding is a contribution towards its core costs.
    Funding awards

    Royal Opera House will receive £26,961,420 in 2008/2009, £27,689,378 in 2009/2010, £28,294,806 in 2010/2011 and £26,342,464 in 2011/2012.

    I would like to see all funding removed from ROH. It's a spent, crass waste of space.
    Hand it over to community based projects who help our next generation of writers, directors, actors and musicians.

  • Comment number 28.

    "Art is for the unemployed or retired". Sad to see a comment like this in a country with a rich art history. I'm used to this attitude in the U.S. as an artist. Art is called elitist when all the while many art museums are free or charge a small fee. But sports events can charge hundreds of dollars for a single ticket. The small minded view fails to see how the arts are everywhere in everyday life. From the clothes they choose to wear, the car they drive, the song they are singing or the television show they are talking about at work. But then we fund wars left and right. As I have always said, what kills the most, gets funded the most. Sad days ahead.

  • Comment number 29.

    I can't add much to what JLC has rightly said at comments 18 and 20. It's very sad to see some of the comments here and especially on the main article, from people who dismiss the arts as the plaything of a rich minority, which is quite simply not true.

  • Comment number 30.

    #16 - I agreed with your comment right up to the point that you described those in the Arts Council making the decisions as "reasonable and disinterested people". As with all walks of life, they have their agendas, their preferences, their bias. While quality and talent are of huge importance, perhaps more than in many other sectors the arts is about your ability to network and build a profile - basically a decision can come down to who you know. This is bound to have had an effect on funding decisions. And the political pressure from above to *be seen to be fair* in reducing funding to large organisations (without actually cutting them enough to impact hugely on their ability to run) will have been great.

    Those who look at the list of organisations which have lost their regularly funded status or suffered large cuts to their budgets will have plenty to be angry about, but there are also some welcome additions to the list, which will add real value to the cultural landscape.

    I hope that all arts organistions will find a way to adapt and reinvent themselves in order to survive the current climate and emerge with both their infrastructures and their artistic integrity largely intact. And no one should be ashamed of accepting a little corporate assistance. Perhaps the arts would do well to learn a little from private sector - there is nothing inherently anti-arts about building a robust business model.

    Good luck everyone. See you on the other side.

  • Comment number 31.

    Rural areas hit again. Wren Music who bring music and singing to all sectors of the community throughout Devon - and have done for nearly 30 years..have 100% cut in their Arts grant added to the loss of grants from Devon County Council and Exeter City Council. Only a few weeks ago they were being lauded in Glasgow at the Music Learning Live Conference; and now this...how ironic!

  • Comment number 32.

    The list of organisations that have lost their funding makes it clear that decisions were were simply what ACE wanted to fund: small, rural organisations have been disproportionally hit whilst increases of funding have been given to organisations that are not financially sustainable and have been bailed out once already through the Sustain programme, particularly those which have large new buildings to fund which ACE would be too embarrassed to see fail.

    Some organisations are complaining about a small cut in funding should remember the desperate situation for those who have lost ALL their funding.

  • Comment number 33.

    The current funding problem has two sources.

    Firstly, the previous government spent huge sums of money that it didn't have, managing to overspend hugely and borrow even more hugely at a time when it should have been able to, at worst, balance the books.

    Secondly, the Olympic Games have sucked dry all likely sources of funding - this massive white elephant has no appeal whatever for huge numbers of people and is essentially a project for London, so the London versus regions argument goes on, I'm afraid, with London coming out best as usual.

  • Comment number 34.

    I'm glad that the Arts Council managers have made the difficult decisions. If you salami-slice across all areas you just pass on the responsibility for cuts to lower levels. To me that would just be avoiding your responsibilities as a strategic manager.

    Have they got it right? Time will tell.

  • Comment number 35.

    Do I know you JLC, because I ought to?!
    Whenever we are unsure of a direction to take; whenever life has dealt us a blow; whenever we marvel at something beautiful; whenever we feel that nobody understands us; whenever we are inspired or confounded or called upon to express our needs or open up our very soul (or indeed hide away and howl) somebody somewhere has written a poem, composed a piece of music, painted an image, taken a picture, crafted something skillfully or danced about it.
    When words fail us, the performance of somebody else reaches out and takes over. In life we all face challenging moments. 'The Arts' is an umbrella term for the things which we all relate to each day, which can inpsire us and help us. It isn't some distant unavailable and unnecessary add on to life. As humans we need to express our individuality and reach out to others. You can be the richest person on the planet or living in poverty and desperate, but be inspired by a word, a drawing or a piece of music. Some of the most unlikely people have risen to be a voice for others through their artistic talent.
    Projects which reach out to the next generation matter and these are in danger. Oh yes it matters very much.

  • Comment number 36.

    The Arts Council’s cuts brings mixed news for artists and crafts people. The innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of artists and makers will shine through as they seek alternative funding. As consumers, we have to ask ourselves if we are prepared to support creativity from our own wallets. SeekandAdore.com provides artists with new ways of raising their profile and makes art and craft accessible to consumers – part of our everyday lives. This kind of practical support could become increasingly important.

  • Comment number 37.

    Well, Will is absolutely right about Somerset. 100% cut for arts funding from County Council; 100% cut for arts funding from Mendip District Council; 100% cut for the Merlin Theatre from ACE; 52% cut for Take Art from ACE; one new body (well done Somerset Film & Video) at 54% of what ACE recovers from Take Art. IS Somerset our first official Cultural Desert?

  • Comment number 38.

    Damien Hirst's more expensive works can fetch as much as £10 million. The Arts Council cuts are a mere £100 million. It would only take a couple of pickled sharks, unmade beds, a tent with names on or a bling skull dutifully bigged-up and sold on to a Russian oligarch or a Shanghai playboy and the arts can trundle along merrily as they did before.

  • Comment number 39.

    Artists must be free to express themselves in any way they choose. The rest of us should be free to choose if we wish to take notice. If we do wish we'll pay. If not, the artist is saying something in which we are not interested, and it is time for the artist to say something else.

    Subsidised arts may or may not produce works of quality, but they do diminish our freedom of choice.

  • Comment number 40.

    The problem as far as I can see is not the sincere idealists who might have hitherto depended on subsidy to some extent.

    It is the commercially successful "creative" types in architecture, design etc. who blight our living spaces and fill them with objects that cause us endless practical difficulties, discomfort and even injury to indulge a particular fashion. (For instance that bedroom furniture must, without exception, have sharp corners, and electronic devices have flush, unlabelled controls and be the same colour-matt black-as their surrounds. The effect of this fashion in a wash basin is that on putting one's hands in the water the "Severn Bore" effect in the corners causes a fair proportion of the contents to end up on the bathroom floor. I could go on.).

  • Comment number 41.

    As a country with some of the most innovative and world leading artworks, it is a very sad day for some of the creative organisations that many communities currently benefit from.

    It seems that many people are oblivious to how many artforms within everyday culture benefit our economy, heritage, local communties and wellbeing, forgetting that art is not simply resigned to 'a painting on a wall'. Covering a wide range of areas, such as music, theatre, dance, letures, film and architecture to name but a few.

    To say you are simply are not interested in any form of art whatsoever is an incredibly bold statement to make...

  • Comment number 42.

    Art - what is it good for and why should the public purse fund it?

    The common perception of many people in the uk is that art is as an elitist pointless pursuit that they feel has little or no relationship with their day to day existence and many of them do not see why it should be funded by general taxation.

    The thing is, if art is not supported by the public purse then who will support it, and what type of art will be produced in their names?

    Will we return to the days of art being portraits of the rich and famous and their possessions? Or perhaps we will have nice classical art such as favoured by National Socialism or Soviet Socialism? Or do we follow the route favoured by the bankers of the world whereby a small elite of 'famous name' artists find that each and every work they produce is bought up in order to guarantee their success and improve the value of the work already owned by their patrons?

    One may not approve entirely of how the Saatchi favoured YBA's dominate the fine art world but at least for a while they have made fine art interesting and raised its and also the UK's profile.

    My personal belief is that diverse and widely available art is vital to the international perception of our country and I am convinced that it more than pays its way, what with the number of tourists who come to to this country to see shows and exhibitions.

    The counter argument to this might be that well ok lets just fund the arts in big cities where the tourists pay to support it and not bother with the rural or suburban stuff. Well if we don't fund the small scale local arts experience how on earth do we find talent in the future? Perhaps we should just leave it to the offspring of the rich and famous to do all our performing? ( this is already probably not too far from the current truth ) Although I do wonder if a member of the Cambridge footlights could really be cut out for a role in Eastenders or Hollyoaks?

    There is so much more that I could say about the importance of art to society but
    ultimately, I think that supporting the arts, in all their manifestations, is really about declaring that you have civilisation and that has a value.

  • Comment number 43.

    re #17 "Meroyn wrote: I think many people have overlooked the acadmic role played by the AHC council or The Arts and Humanities Funding Council - it does not just provide funding for plays and theatres, which are purely cultural, but it subsidises and pays for PHD tuition fees and maintenance.... As a result important research, across the humanities will not be carried out. Its absolutely disgraceful."

    Really? What research across the humanities that is truly important will not be done? If it is important, someone will pay for it.

    If it merely allows more arts graduates to stay in academia where they dont have to encounter the real world, then it is not necessarily helping our society become more competitive in the long run.

    We need to focus on manufacturing, engineering, science, language skills. If we dont generate wealth in this country, then subsidy for the arts will need to be cut seriously, not just by the 15% average this year, which is pretty small beans to be honest in the context of national debt.

    Until the country becomes a little more competitive, arts will have to get a little more acquainted with what its audience is prepared to attend, and what price the market will stand for tickets.

    As it is too many arts events are simply over-priced for what they are - there are a few too many feather bedded jobs out there, where people are paid unionised rates which cant be justified by what audiences are prepared to pay.

    We are certainly not short of art in this country, I am overwhelmed with the opportunities to see great things. I could go to a dozen different things every day, and many are not sold out.

    There is overcapacity in the arts sector, and this overcapacity is being supported by unjustifiable subsidy.

    And I say this as someone who very regularly goes to plays, concerts, ballet, plays, galleries, gigs etc... and participates in some events myself...

  • Comment number 44.

    Rue Britannia.

  • Comment number 45.

    Whatever. The Arts Council have been too insular and elitist for too long. Cuts from taxpayers' funding are long overdue.

    Unless you know the right people, who know the right people, who are related to the right people - the Arts Council are not remotely interested except in those incestuous chums who know the right people. Get the drift?

 

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