|Non-departmental public body and charity
|Manchester, England, UK
|Sir Nicholas Serota CH, Chair
|Research, grants, music education hubs
|£993 million GBP (2019)
Number of employees
Arts Council England is an arm's length non-departmental public body of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. It is also a registered charity. It was formed in 1994 when the Arts Council of Great Britain was divided into three separate bodies for England, Scotland and Wales. The arts funding system in England underwent considerable reorganisation in 2002 when all of the regional arts boards were subsumed into Arts Council England and became regional offices of the national organisation.
Arts Council England is a government-funded body dedicated to promoting the performing, visual and literary arts in England. Since 1994, Arts Council England has been responsible for distributing lottery funding. This investment has helped to transform the building stock of arts organisations and to create many additional high-quality arts activities.
On 1 October 2011 the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council was subsumed into the Arts Council in England and they assumed the responsibilities of the council.
The Arts Council of Great Britain was created in 1946 by Royal Charter on the initiative of John Maynard Keynes. It received a revised charter in 1967. On 1 April 1994, it was divided to form the Arts Council of England, the Scottish Arts Council, and the Arts Council of Wales, each with their own new Royal Charter; the Arts Council of Northern Ireland already existed as a distinct body. At the same time, the National Lottery was established and the Arts Council of England became one of the distribution bodies.This increased responsibility saw the Arts Council of England grow back in size to the point where it was larger than before the 1987 restructuring.
In 2001 Chairman Gerry Robinson announced a further restructuring in which the Arts Council of England would be merged with the ten regional arts boards to form a single organisation: Arts Council England.
In 2020, Arts Council England published 'Let's Create', a new 10-year Strategy for the sectors within its remit.
'Let's Create' includes a new vision statement, designed to inform Arts Council England's work and priorities to 2030:
"By 2030, we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish, and where every one of us has access to a remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences."
The Strategy is structured around three outcomes:
Arts Council England has also set out 4 'investment principles':
Arts Council England has a national council of 15 members, including the chair. The national council meets ten times a year and is made up of representatives of the arts community with five of the members also representing the area councils. Each area council has a board of 15 members made up of representatives of their arts community and local government. There are five area councils:
The chief executive of the Arts Council England is appointed by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. Alan Davey was chief executive from 2008 to 2014. He was succeeded by Darren Henley. Each area council has an executive director and each art form has a specialist advisor. The Arts Council England divides its funding into the following headings:
Arts Council England is a distributor of a core funding programme, complemented by National Lottery funding.
In 2020 it administered the Culture Recovery Fund to arts venues and organisations in England affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
From 1994 it oversaw a national capital fund with grants for new buildings, public art and the renovation of existing arts buildings. The story of the Capital programme is told by Prue Skene who chaired the Lottery Panel, in Capital Gains: how the national lottery transformed England's arts.
Arts Council England utilises public funding to support Sampad Arts, a Birmingham-based agency that produces dance, music and theatre productions, and provides professional development for young artists, in association with mac (formerly the Midlands Arts Centre).
Arts Council England supports a limited number of museums as Major Partnership Museums: 16 single museums or consortia were supported 2012–2015, and a further five were added for 2015–2018, bringing the total to 21.Arts Council England also supports other museums via "Strategic Funds."
The council also runs the Designation Scheme for collections in libraries or museums of national or international importance,and is the English partner in the UK Museum Accreditation Scheme.
In 2023, a gender critical woman, Denise Fahmy, won a harassment claim against the Council at an employment tribunal, which ruled that hostile comments about her beliefs at an internal meeting (which followed the Arts Council funded organisation London Community Foundation granting and then suspending a grant to LGB Alliance), and other activity afterward, constituted "an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment" for employees with such protected beliefs.
The Council attracted criticism from the Parliamentary select committee responsible for its oversight for supporting a lottery-funded programme to subsidise UK film production that resulted in a series of films that failed to find distribution. There was also a series of costly capital projects such as the Royal Opera House and the Lowry Centre that required additional funding. In the case of the Royal Opera House the select committee found the Arts Council had broken its own procedures. In 2005 it was announced that the Arts Council England's budget was capped resulting in an effective £30m reduction in its budget.[ citation needed ]
In March 2006, the Arts Council announced a review of its National Office that would "enhance efficiency and delivery while continuing to provide respected and focused arts leadership and drive", while proposing to lose 42 posts, mainly arts specialists, so that the organisation will no longer have dedicated national leads for areas including contemporary music, interdisciplinary art, moving image, architecture, broadcasting, opera, social inclusion, and disability.[ citation needed ]
Arts Council England's music policy was controversial within the jazz world. Chris Hodgkins, in his 1998 paper Jazz in the UK, [ citation needed ] while jazz, with an equivalent audience size,[ citation needed ] received less than 1%.[ citation needed ] The funding landscape has improved since with funding for NWJazzworks and Manchester Jazz Festival 2012. Among other areas funding has diversified into youth music such as National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, National Youth Jazz Collective and South Asian Music Youth Orchestra (SAMYO) etc. On 11 May 2006 it was raised in the House of Lords by Lord Colwyn, as documented in the Lords Hansard Columns (1058 to 1060).pointed out that more than 90% of its music budget went on opera
In May 2015 the Board of Deputies of British Jews released a statement objecting to Arts Council England's funding of The Siege . The Palestinian play depicts a 2002 incident where armed Hamas fighters sought refuge in Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. A 39-day siege ensued, and eight of the Hamas troops were killed by Israeli snipers, before the remaining forces surrendered.
The English Touring Opera attributed its firing of white musicians in 2021 to "firm guidance" from the Arts Council.
Tate is an institution that houses, in a network of four art galleries, the United Kingdom's national collection of British art, and international modern and contemporary art. It is not a government institution, but its main sponsor is the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
The Royal Opera House (ROH) is a historic opera house and major performing arts venue in Covent Garden, central London. The large building is often referred to as simply Covent Garden, after a previous use of the site. It is the home of The Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet, and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. The first theatre on the site, the Theatre Royal (1732), served primarily as a playhouse for the first hundred years of its history. In 1734, the first ballet was presented. A year later, the first season of operas, by George Frideric Handel, began. Many of his operas and oratorios were specifically written for Covent Garden and had their premieres there.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is a department of His Majesty's Government, with responsibility for culture and sport in England, and some aspects of the media throughout the UK, such as broadcasting.
The Arts Council of Great Britain was a non-departmental public body dedicated to the promotion of the fine arts in Great Britain. It was divided in 1994 to form the Arts Council of England, the Scottish Arts Council, and the Arts Council of Wales. At the same time the National Lottery was established and these three arts councils, plus the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, became distribution bodies.
The Hon. Sir Nicholas Andrew Serota,, is a British art historian and curator.
Alexander Robert "Sandy" Nairne is a British art historian and curator. From 2002 until February 2015 he was the director of the National Portrait Gallery, London.
The Arts Council is the independent "Irish government agency for developing the arts."
Arts University Plymouth is an independent university-sector Higher Education (HE) provider located in Plymouth in South West England. The former Plymouth College of Art was officially granted university status in 2022. In April 2019 the specialist college was awarded taught degree awarding powers (TDAP) by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), granting the institution the authority to award and accredit its own BA (Hons) degrees and Masters awards.
Sir Peter Lytton Bazalgette is a British television executive and producer, also active in the fields of the Arts and broader creative industries.
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is the lead development agency for the arts in Northern Ireland. It was founded in 1964, as a successor to the Committee for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts (CEMA).
Birmingham Jazz is a voluntary, non-profit organisation responsible for promoting and commissioning jazz and related contemporary music in the UK.
Autograph ABP, previously known as the Association of Black Photographers, is a British-based international, non-profit-making, photographic arts agency.
Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery (RAMM) is a museum and art gallery in Exeter, Devon, the largest in the city. It holds significant and diverse collections in areas such as zoology, anthropology, fine art, local and overseas archaeology, and geology. Altogether the museum holds over one million objects, of which a small percentage is on permanent public display. It is a National Portfolio Organisation under the Arts Council England administered programme of strategic investment, which means RAMM receives funding (2012–15) to develop its services.
Darren Richard Henley, born February 1973, is the Chief Executive of Arts Council England and an author of books about the arts. He is a member of the UK government's Creative Industries Council.
York Museums Trust (YMT) is the charity responsible for operating some key museums and galleries in York, England. The trust was founded in 2002 to run York's museums on behalf of the City of York Council. It has seen an increase in annual footfall of 254,000 to the venues since its foundation. In both 2016 and 2017, it saw its annual visitors numbers reach 500,000 people.
The Creative Industries Federation (2014-2021) was a national organisation for all the UK's creative industries, cultural education and arts. It advocated for the sector, aiming to ensure that the creative industries were central to political, economic and social decision-making.
Maria Jane Balshaw CBE is director of the Tate art museums and galleries. The appointment was confirmed by Theresa May, the UK Prime Minister at the time, on 16 January 2017, making Balshaw the first female director of the Tate.
Andrea Stark, FRSA, is a British arts executive. She was chief executive of High House Purfleet, director of the Foundation for Future London, the organisation responsible for developing the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as a new cultural and educational district and is currently Director of Employment, Skills and Culture at the London Borough of Islington. She was previously executive director of Arts Council England, chief executive of East England Arts, and chief officer of arts and culture at Dundee City Council. The financial arrangements for her departure from Arts Council England for High House Production Park caused some adverse comment in the arts press. Her appointment was announced by High House chairman Tony Hall, now director general of the BBC.
Reyahn King is a British curator and museum director. She is the chief executive officer of York Museums Trust.
The Culture Recovery Fund is a grants programme issued by the UK Government as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund aims to financially support cultural organisations in England which had become financially unviable as a result of national and local restrictions. It is administered by Arts Council England.
ETO have stated that they are prioritising: "increased diversity in the orchestra. This is in line with the firm guidance of the Arts Council