Westminster Media Forum

The future for arts and culture in England - funding, participation and Arts Council England’s new 10-year strategy

Morning, Thursday, 12th December 2019

Central London


This timely seminar will consider the future for arts and culture in England.

Delegates will discuss future funding, improving participation and engagement, and on the Arts Council England’s (ACE) new ten-year strategy, which will take effect from April 2020.

With private investment in arts and culture being the most common source of income in the sector, delegates will consider more can be done to drive investment outside London, with ACE’s own Private Investment in Culture Survey finding that two-thirds of private investment goes to London-based organisations.

We expect discussion to reflect the ongoing debates around the ethical dimension to fundraising in the sector and latest developments in corporate sponsorship of the arts.

Delegates will share thinking on how the growth of collaborative partnerships in the sector could help organisations achieve operational excellence and be more financially resilient in the face of tighter budgets.

It comes with the Cultural Cities Enquiry, recently published by the CoreCities consortium of urban local authorities, highlighting the fragmented nature of the cultural sector and making recommendations for providing greater networked access to business skills that would allow organisations to share resources.

The agenda includes a speaking contribution from Jack Rubin, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Tessitura Network on the potential of software that facilitates collaboration and information sharing between arts organisations, and supports ticketing, marketing, and fundraising for cultural organisations.

In the context of the Culture is Digital update from government, delegates will assess progress in addressing the skills gap and improving innovative applications of new technologies as well as opportunities for future development.

We expect a case study on developing new approaches to widening engagement and creating new experiences for audiences, which can result in increased revenue for organisations.

ACE’s consultation on their draft strategy highlighted concerns from respondents that smaller organisations face greater obstacles in taking risks.

The conference will also provide the opportunity for discussion on what more can be done to support creative and cultural organisations to undertake research and development - including mitigating the financial risks through funding, access to knowledge from industry experts, and advice on how to make creative innovation commercially viable.

The ACE draft strategy highlighted inequality of access to publicly funded culture, challenges for engagement of young people with the arts, and the development of the cultural workforce.

Delegates will discuss opportunities for widening participation and engagement with arts and culture throughout the country.

This is expected to include regional and socio-economic imbalances, the development of local, community-driven projects, and making the sector more representative of audience - with locally accessible high-quality arts and culture expected to be a key strategic goal for ACE over the next decade.

What more should be done to increase the exposure of children and young people to arts and culture and nurture creativity both within and outside of the education system will also be assessed.

We expect discussion to draw on responses to the final report from the Durham Commission - set up in collaboration between ACE and Durham University to explore the relationship between creativity and education - which is due to be published next month.

Further sessions will consider priorities for developing the sector’s workforce and addressing skills shortages in the creative industries - including helping a more diverse group of young people enter the sector, developing a broader talent pool to draw on, and ensuring that the sector is attracting young people with the skills it needs. 

It follows initiatives such as the Creative Careers Programme which aims to communicate to young people the full range of careers in the sector and provide professional advice on the pathways available to those roles, and the Government’s recently announced Film and TV Apprenticeships pilot which seeks to enable young people from underrepresented groups to work on UK films and television.

Keynote Speakers

Richard Russell

Chief Operating Officer, Arts Council England

Emma Squire

Director, Arts, Heritage and Tourism, DCMS

Keynote Speakers

Richard Russell

Chief Operating Officer, Arts Council England

Emma Squire

Director, Arts, Heritage and Tourism, DCMS


Rt Hon the Lord Foster of Bath


Lucy Crompton-Reid

Chief Executive, Wikimedia UK

Lamia Dabboussy

Executive Editor, BBC Arts

Dr Jeremy Silver

Chief Executive Officer, Digital Catapult

Annette Mees

Head of Audience Labs, Royal Opera House

Jack Rubin

Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Tessitura Network

Peter Mather

Group Regional President, Europe and Head of Country, UK, BP

Mark Featherstone-Witty

Founder and CEO, The LIPA Learning Group

Emmanuel Kojo

Actor and Councillor, Minority Ethnic Members, Equity

Councillor Terri Reid

Member, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council