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Should the Arts Council be abolished?


Jan McNulty
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Interesting. I find myself agreeing with one statement, then disagreeing with the next.

For me, it is good they are politically 'independent', but the overt drive for 'right-on-ness' rather than pure artistic merit (though how you'd measure that quality must be exceedingly difficult) is a frustration as to where the funds get allocated. Was surprised at the number of staff I can't deny.

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I agree with the concept of scrapping ACE and starting again.  Yes the arts need funding, yes we need all kinds of art to keep our culture vibrant, but they, like most arts institutions these days, are alienating many in their core audiences.  As has been alluded to elsewhere on this forum, the funding requirements in order to get ACE grants are now affecting the output of many arts companies, be they dance, theatre or anything else. In order to get funding, they have to show how worthy and 'relevant' they are.  This raises the sad problem of how much our cultural heritage could be lost or diminished.  Many companies are already withdrawing productions in case they 'offend' people. But what really concerns them is getting on the wrong side of ACE.  Scrap it so that everyone has a fair chance.

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Has anyone on this forum ever applied for an ACE grant?  Or knows someone that has?  I wondered what the criteria actually were.  Do they really insist that in order to qualify it must appeal to certain minority groups?  And who determines what those minority groups are, or what is likely to appeal to them?

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Since it would seem logical to assume that the minority groups are comprised of ballet virgins, no-one can surely have a clue whether contemporary works will have a greater appeal unless and until they have been exposed to a full canon of classical and heritage works. 

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1 hour ago, Fonty said:

Has anyone on this forum ever applied for an ACE grant?  Or knows someone that has?  I wondered what the criteria actually were.  Do they really insist that in order to qualify it must appeal to certain minority groups?  And who determines what those minority groups are, or what is likely to appeal to them?

 

My experience is very out of date so can't comment on what the criteria are now but the organisation that I was involved with in the late 80s received a grant that was a fraction of the grant received by a perceived feminist organisation that also showed films.

 

This is the current front page of the ACE website:

 

https://www.artscouncil.org.uk

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Goodness, that is a very ambitious set of criteria.  Many of them are laudable in theory, such as trying to give the opportunity to more people to watch excellent performers in all the arts.  However, they are expected to produce work that  reflects "the diversity of contemporary England."  I assume they are referring to content, rather than the performers themselves?  What exactly do they mean by that?  Are they trying to encompass every conceivable visual art form?  The trouble is, some of these might be so obscure they would  only appeal to a tiny minority.   

 

Thinking about it logically, if you want to get more people going to see live performances by appealing to a broader spectrum, then I am surprised they haven't encouraged shows based around the most popular types of programme on television e.g. soap operas or cookery.  Perhaps "Eastenders the Opera" should be considered?  Or the  Great British Bake Off Ballet?  

 

I am still puzzling over how you can make a library "environmentally sustainable" as well.  Get rid of the books?  All those trees being chopped down to make paper is appalling. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Today's NPO announcement 2023-26 Investment Programme | Arts Council England

 

 a couple of select companies

 

  2018-2022 (average) 2022-2023 (annual) 2023-2026 (annual) 2023/26 - 2022 % change
           
Royal Opera House
24,755,681 25,211,186 22,268,584 2,487,097 90%
Northern Ballet Limited
3,112,000 3,169,261 3,289,261 177,261 106%
Birmingham Royal Ballet 7,891,000 8,036,194 8,036,194 145,194 102%
Ballet Black 220,000 224,048 424,048 204,048 193%
English National Ballet 6,214,000 6,328,338 6,011,921 202,079 97%
           
Sadler's Wells 2,456,153 2,501,346 2,376,279 79,874 97%
Edited by oncnp
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1 hour ago, oncnp said:

Today's NPO announcement 2023-26 Investment Programme | Arts Council England

 

 a couple of select companies

 

  2018-2022 (average) 2022-2023 (annual) 2023-2026 (annual) 2023/26 - 2022 % change
           
Royal Opera House
24,755,681 25,211,186 22,268,584 2,487,097 90%
Northern Ballet Limited
3,112,000 3,169,261 3,289,261 177,261 106%
Birmingham Royal Ballet 7,891,000 8,036,194 8,036,194 145,194 102%
Ballet Black 220,000 224,048 424,048 204,048 193%
English National Ballet 6,214,000 6,328,338 6,011,921 202,079 97%
           
Sadler's Wells 2,456,153 2,501,346 2,376,279 79,874 97%

 

as a postscript that's "Offered" funding. Based on Mr Beard's statement on the ROH website, there is some negotiating ahead....

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