In December 2019 Arts Council England will publish its next 10-year strategy.
It will come into effect in 2020 and take over from their current strategy, Great Art and Culture for Everyone. The new strategy will extend and develop Arts Council England’s support for our country’s artists, curators and librarians, cultural organisations and their workforces, and the communities they serve.
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In December of this year Arts Council England will publish our next 10-year strategy. It will come into effect in 2020 and take over from our current strategy, Great Art and Culture for Everyone. The new strategy will extend and develop the Arts Council’s support for our country’s artists, curators and librarians, cultural organisations and their workforces, and the communities they serve.
We start from a position of strength. From the national accomplishments of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad and the 14-18 NOW commemorations of the centenary of the first world war, to the local achievements of the Creative People and Places programme, the last 10 years have seen a flourishing of culture and creativity in this country. Cultural organisations and artists have risen to the challenges presented by the economic uncertainty of austerity and continued to make outstanding work.
So why does the Arts Council need a new strategy? The short answer is that, in the years since 2010, the world has changed. Economically, technologically, socially and environmentally, the last decade has been a period of significant transformation – and there is every indication that over the next decade that transformation will accelerate.
In such a rapidly shifting landscape we cannot continue to operate in the ways we always have done. We need to change with the world, as it changes. We need to think and work creatively to overcome the challenges, and make the most of the opportunities, that such change brings.
And we need to go further in addressing old challenges, as well as readying ourselves to meet new ones. We are proud of the arts and culture that we support today. But while our original strategy made strides in bringing arts and culture topeople around the country, too many gaps remain. 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.
With the strategy that we are proposing here, we are looking to shape a country that encourages every one of us to express our creativity: for the joy, satisfaction and wellbeing that living a creative life brings, and for the way in which creativity and the culture that comes from it allow us both to adapt to our world and to adapt it; to change, and to make the changes that we want to see. We are looking to the future, and to ways we can support artists and cultural organisations to evolve to meet new challenges as effectively as possible: through improving their environmental sustainability; through building better, nimbler business models; and through innovating and taking risks in all areas of their work in order to create inspiring, entertaining and moving cultural experiences. We want communities in villages, towns and cities up and down the country to experience the benefits of investment in culture, and we want to support children and young people to develop their creative potential to the full. We intend to make sure that the doors are open for the finest, most exciting artists and cultural leaders, no matter where they come from, to step through.
The document you have in front of you today is not the Arts Council’s next 10-year strategy; rather it is a draft of that strategy. It is built on the evidence we have gathered, including extensive consultation with the public, our partners and stakeholders, creative practitioners and cultural organisations.
But in order to turn this draft strategy into a finished one, we need to ask, once again, for your help. We want you to tell us whether we’ve got it right – and how, in your view, the challenges raised might best be met. We also want to hear from you about what should be in the delivery plans published over the course of the decade, which will set out in more detail how we intend to realise our outcomes in each period.
This is a strategy that has partnership at its heart, and the first piece of partnership working starts here. Your contributions now will ensure that our next 10-year strategy is smart, robust and ambitious enough to carry us all through the decade to come.