Arts Council England has published a draft 10-year strategy for 2020-2030 and has launched an online consultation for feedback. It is also staging a series of consultation workshops across England from 3-18 July.

Outlining the context for the new strategy, the draft states: “As we look towards 2030, the external shifts and challenges facing not only artists and cultural organisations but the wider world, are daunting.”

Adding that new technologies are “presenting us with new opportunities and posing new questions”, it also cites increasing pressure on public funding while stating that “the impact of the UK’s exit from the European Union on our national politics and economy has yet to be fully understood”.

The draft outlines three “fundamentally interlinked” key outcomes and principles. The outcomes are characterised as: creative people; cultural communities; and a creative and cultural country.

It adds that in order to achieve these outcomes, the principles that will be applied for future investment, especially in relation to ACE national portfolio organisations that receive regular core funding, are:

  • Ambition and quality – funded organisations will be expected to develop their creative potential “in order to deliver work of the highest quality and match themselves confidently against local, national and international peers”.
  • Inclusivity and relevance – organisations should reflect the diversity of their communities and be valued by the communities and partners they work with.
  • Dynamism and environmental sustainability – organisations should also be capable of adapting in a rapidly changing world and be “leading the way in addressing climate change and resource exploitation”.

The draft states that the application of these principles will “become more demanding” over each investment period between 2020 to 2030.

Explaining the need for a new approach, which will come into effect in April 2020 and replace the current Great Art and Culture for Everyone strategy, the draft document explains that “while our original strategy made strides in bringing arts and culture to people around the country, too many gaps remain”.

It adds: “Inequality of access to publicly funded culture still exists across our country; for children and young people, opportunities to experience culture and creativity often depend on background and postcode; and throughout our sector a lack of diversity persists. It’s time to bridge these gaps: to support and celebrate the cultural and creative lives of everyone in England.”

Writing in a blog, Simon Mellor, ACE Deputy CEO (Arts and Culture), said that over the next decade “we want England to become a country where the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish, and where every one of us has access to a rich and remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences”.

In order to achieve this, he said that in the future ACE “will place as much emphasis on our advocacy and development responsibilities as our role as a funding agency”.

Other aspects of the draft strategy include a strong focus on creativity in the school curriculum; support for organisations to innovate and take a more collaborative approach; increased partnership working across business, local government and the health and criminal justice systems; and greater support for “individual artists and creative practitioners who want to turn their creativity into a career”.

In developing the new draft strategy, ACE said it had “heard from over 5,000 people, including artists, curators, librarians, employees of cultural organisations, members of the public, children and young people, and stakeholders from across the creative industries, education, and local government, as well as our own staff”.

The current consultation, which continues until 23 September 2019, will form the last part of the development process, with the new 10-year strategy set to be published in December this year.

You can download the draft strategy here. Details of consultation workshops across England are here

Graphic from Arts Council England draft 10-year strategy, 2020-2030, published June 2019.

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