Last year we commissioned a research study, from economists Daniel Fujiwara and George MacKerron, examining how different arts and cultural institutions affect levels of happiness. Richard Russell, our Director of Policy and Research, blogs about the results, which we've just published.
Our departing Chief Executive Alan Davey blogs for us for the last time.
Swallows and Amazons - Bristol Old Vic. Credit: Simon Annand
I’m told I have a last opportunity to say anything I want, to get it off my chest. To say the words I want to leave ringing in the air as I leave the Arts Council.
Paul Glinkowski, our Senior Manager, Creative Media, writes with Vivien Niblett, Senior Officer, Policy and Research on the results of the second Digital Culture survey - conducted by Nesta, as part of the Digital R&D programme.
Our Midlands Area Director, Peter Knott, tells us how we need to share our stories in order to keep making the case for public investment in arts and culture.
I think we would all agree that we are working in a time of economic challenge, but opportunities, possibilities and above all a positive future remain obtainable. These are extraordinary times and we need to find extraordinary solutions.
Our Deputy Chief Executive, Althea Efunshile, responds to the Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan’s speech to the Launch of your Life campaign (10 November 2014).
In the past, a well-rounded individual was someone knowledgeable about multiple areas of study, a person who was well versed in the arts, the humanities and the sciences.
It is a generally accepted view among business leaders that cities and regions are drivers of economic growth more than nations and governments.
As Nigel Wilson, chief executive of Legal & General has observed: ‘The US doesn’t just have New York – San Francisco, LA, Boston and others are also premier league cities. In Germany, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Munich thrive alongside Berlin. We need the same in the UK.’
The dinner table conversation at my house last week revolved around the difficult environment facing museums at the moment. My family were asking me the question:
‘Why would anyone choose to work in a museum?’
I go to museums a lot; it’s part of Arts Council keeping fully in touch with what’s happening around the country. But Friday was unusual even for me. I visited all eight Cambridge University museums and galleries in a single day: an exhausting, inspiring whistle stop tour.
When I arrived at the Arts Council a little over two years ago, I discovered (with some alarm!) that I was going to be the Executive Board member with responsibility for Goal 1, for ensuring that ‘excellence is thriving and celebrated in arts, museums and libraries’. Who was going to determine what was ‘excellent’ – our arts and cultural leaders? The professional critics? …Me? Would it ever be possible to agree within the Arts Council – let alone amongst arts and cultural organisations – what are the key determinants of ‘quality’?
It’s now been a week or so since we announced our decisions on National portfolio organisations and Major partner museums. We’ve had many reactions, as you’d imagine.
When you are making these kinds of announcements a press conference or in a blog, you have to think very quickly.
Reflecting on the process, and talking to people who’ve been on the receiving end of these decisions, I find myself wanting to share one or two thoughts I was unable to dwell on at the time.