We here at body>data>space are confused too by this strange scenario.
So we have relooked across the last few months of government / ACE
debates and we paste below a section of a speech by Ed Vaizey MP
(Minister for Culture, Communications & the Creative Industries,
Coalition Government) at the State of the Arts Conference (ACE/RSA -
Thursday 10th February 2011).
In particular note Paragraph 8 about ".... a much wider programme of
digital innovation that the Arts Council plan to launch in the
spring." As far as we are aware here at body>data>space, ACE will be
announcing the new digital programming funds in September 2012 (not
the spring as stated below).
This is not to say that it was okay for ACE to cut so many excellent
new media groups and organisations yesterday. It actually suggests
that maybe it was easier for ACE decision makers to do so, in the
light of the fact that they may have "used" these upcoming new funds
around the table to make it seem "okay" to do these NPO revenue cuts.
The result is that most small to mid scale digital/media groups will
have to continue/start again to survive from project to project,
rather than through sustained funding across 3 year contracts.
Do also note however that Watershed in Bristol have had a significant
rise from 105.7% to approximately £750k a year from £320k a year - and
their focus on digital/media production will be supported by this. So
the venue bases develop to help the small groups / organisations, and
the focus, as stated by ACE for a while, is on production of artists
work. In addition the new NPOs will not (ACE and the government have
said in various places) be allowed to apply for Grants for the Arts,
freeing up a significant amount of that lottery based arts funding for
small to mid scale non-NPOs.
What we need to ensure is that we are all involved in the criteria
decisions about the new funds coming online ......in terms of ensuring
these are allocated towards work involved in " a new set of conditions
for aesthetic production and reflection", rather than for "a new set
of distribution and delivery mechanism" (as highlighted by Pauline)
Complex times - however it is clear we do need to look around
ourselves more and find our strengths through mixed economy models -
it definitely keeps us in a stronger position that relying on arts
funds ! We here at body>data>space decidedly did not apply for NPO
status in this round - we set up our aims, conceive our projects, find
our funds from a range of sectors, and get on with it in the way we
want to do it............and this suits us :-)
Several of us new media groups were at the State of the Arts
conference and we made very clear inputs about the needs for digital/
media arts to be acknowledged for its advanced ability to to work
collaboratively with/across many sectors. This was (suprisingly)
positively acknowledged in the summations by the ACE Chair Liz Forgan.
And who can say - ACE itself may not exist in 3 years
time.................!! As Simon says, we need to be aware of the
whole scenario for the arts, not just for digital / media work. One of
the best (re)tweets yesterday was
RT @artistsmakers: Can we stop pretending that Arts Council funding =
the arts in GB. Let's celebrate independent arts orgs doing it their
own way #acefunding
Equally this one puts it all in perspective
RT @exitthelemming: To put this £100m Arts Council cut into context,
206 organisations have lost funding today for the cost of two Apache
ps below the Ed Vaizey speech quote are facts and figures taken form
the DCMS website linked to decisions on the ACE post spending review
Ed Vaizey MP (Minister for Culture, Communications & the Creative
Industries) at the State of the Arts Conference (ACE/RSA - Thursday
10th February 2011)
" ..........we need to think about the other kinds of opportunities
that we need to grasp to continue to flourish.
The rapid changes in technology provide just such an opportunity. It
is vital that arts organisations take advantage of new technology, as
a new way to engage with audiences, and dare I say it, even make money.
Through technology, arts organisations can really begin to understand
where their audiences come from, who they are failing to reach, to
push out content, to become broadcasters and content providers.
Michael Kaiser from the Kennedy Center wrote a piece last week for the
Huffington Post about some of the themes I have talked about. In
seven simple points he nails exactly why technology has, and will
continue to revolutionise the way we go about our lives and what that
means for artists and for audiences.
As he stated: “...to most arts leaders I meet, new technologies are
viewed as a threat. They are perceived as competitors for our
audiences' time and attention rather than our biggest allies. Arts
organizations have been slow to exploit the power of new technology
and cling to older, more expensive techniques that are not as
effective. We are clearly doing something wrong. We must find ways to
embrace the new technologies. We need to apply the creativity we bring
to our stages and galleries to the use of these new tools. The
business world, entertainment industry and sports world are all doing
so. If we don't make a committed effort, we will fall hopelessly
behind and the arts will lose their place in our society.”
I couldn’t agree more. Far be it for me to accuse the arts world of
being conservative, but there are clearly opportunities to be had here.
That’s why I’m delighted that the Arts Council and NESTA are
establishing a new joint fund to support all types of innovation right
across the creative and cultural sector.
The new programme will take the people with the most innovative ideas
on leadership, business models, technology, content creation,
fundraising and audience development, from right the way across the
creative industries, providing seed funding for some of the best and
help them share their learning. It will also inform a much wider
programme of digital innovation that the Arts Council plan to launch
in the spring.
The Arts Council has also announced its partnership with the BBC,
working with the BBC Academy with its media and digital experience to
support the development of the arts sector’s media production skills.
The partnerships with NESTA and the BBC show where the Arts Council,
through a network of new partnerships, can add even greater value for
the sector. I want the Arts Council to be an organisation that is a
source of advice and expertise for everyone who works or participates
in the arts - not just for the organisations it funds, but right the
way across the creative ecology.
I want the Arts Council to work with other organisations as well – why
not the Technology Strategy Board, the BFI and Creative England? I
also want to see them learn from the huge number of other creative
organisations who need no encouragement in developing innovative
partnerships across the creative industries, but also to help those
who lack the resources, the knowledge or the guidance to do the same
and who are trapped in what often still looks like a landscape of
The work the Arts Council is doing with the BBC, with NESTA and with
others is designed to address this, and marks the start of a new focus
from government on innovation in the arts."
Facts and figures from the DCMS website
The overall budget for the Arts Council will reduce by 11.8% over four
years in real terms (including Lottery funding).
* The Government has asked the Arts Council to ensure that the cut
to the overall budget for National Portfolio arts organisations is no
more than 15% in real terms over the next four years.
* We have also asked the Arts Council to reduce its administration
costs by 50%, ensuring as much money as possible goes to arts
* An additional £80m will go into the arts from the National
Lottery each year from 2013.
* £2.25bn of public money will be going into the arts over the
next four years, down from £2.39bn over the previous four
In addition to Government funding, we are promoting a sustainable
mixed funding model for the arts by encouraging private giving. Action
so far includes
* an £80m match-funding scheme to encourage cultural philanthropists
* a package of measures in last week’s budget including
inheritance tax relief for people recognising cultural organisations
in their wills
Creative Director, body>data>space