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Under Siege - Funding in the Arts, 2010

Saturday 10th July 2010

The Art Newspaper recently published an interesting article about the current state of funding in the arts, and the battle which organisations like the Arts Council UK face in coming years to rationalise long-term funding schemes for the arts.
 
It is said that this is the first true instance in which the Government has been challenged to take the arts seriously since the start of the Second World War when Britain's museums and galleries were empty as works were hidden away from the frequent bombings. The Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts (today the Arts Council) was born in order to fulfill the Governments promise to fight for civilisation. 
 
We are definitely not in the same situation as we were in 1940 however the arts do face a significant battle to render themselves 'useful' and worthy of funding in the eyes of the Treasury. The Department for Culture, Media and Sports has to make a cut of £88 million in this years spending, giving the Arts Council quite an uphill battle to rationalise spending in the arts.
 
It has long been argued that the arts provide a sense of community and belonging throughout society and aid social and urban regeneration. It has been noted that Glasgow's year as European Capital of Culture in 1990 and Liverpool's in 2008 are perfect examples of this. The New Labour Government, without a good economic argument for the arts, were more than happy with a social rationale to work with.
 
Given the current economic climate, it would seem that social measures don't make a strong enough statement for the current UK Government. If the sums don't add up in their eyes then there is little reason at all for them to consider boosting or even maintaining current levels of available funding.
 
Whatever happened to "fighting for civilisation"?
 
To find out more about the issues facing the Arts Council and arts funding in the UK, read the full article: "In an Era of Austerity, Reasons to Fund the Arts", or visit the Arts Council website

Posted on July 10th 2010 on 02:36pm

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