This report evaluates the success of Arts Council England’s 10-year visual arts strategy Turning Point and the subsequent Turning Point Network that was set up for its implementation. Using quantitative research from both stakeholder organisations and members of the public this exhaustive report gives a full overview of the programme and what is left still to do within the sector.
Turning Point is the name of the 10-year visual arts strategy published by the Arts Council in 2006 and the structure developed to implement it. The document identified fragmentation as a key and immediate challenge for the visual arts to overcome. Arts Council England responded to the issue of fragmentation by supporting regional visual arts groups to come together to define and deliver a shared vision for growth and change. Arts Council England’s intention was that the national network would lead on developing the next 10-year strategy for the visual arts in England. A central aim of the Turning Point Network was to develop a culture of reciprocal relationships and shared aspirations where arts organisations and their partners took the initiative in devising and implementing strategies that transcend partisan interests to safeguard the future of the sector as a whole. This culture shift has become even more relevant in the current funding climate.
The Turning Point Network has two elements: 13 regional groups and a national network. National and regional groups carried out logic modelling sessions with the evaluator to explore their theory of change about how to strengthen the visual arts sector and reduce fragmentation. There was much common ground in projects selected by regional groups, with agendas of carrying out shared research and development, fostering critical debate, strengthening marketing and audience development, supporting workforce and leadership development, and strengthening regional markets. Regional groups tended to identify projects and strategies that were most suited to collaborative action. Collaboration was an essential part of Turning Point Network because of the scope to develop synergies, reap efficiencies and increase the voice of the sector.