Written evidence submitted by engage (arts
This response is sent on behalf of engage, the
National Association for Gallery Education. engage is the lead
organisation in the UK and internationally supporting education
and learning in galleries and visual arts organisations. engage
has more than 1,000 members in some 330 organisations ranging
from the national museums to local authority and independent galleries
and visual arts organisations. engage focuses on advocacy, professional
development, dissemination of practice, projects and research.
engage works with gallery educators, artists and teachers and
with children, young people and adults through its projects and
Research demonstrates that children and
young people gain huge educational and social benefits from access
to the visual arts and artists. A decrease in funding to galleries
and visual arts organisations will result in less education and
learning resources for children and young people.
Arts organisations work in strategic
partnerships and have effective networks that enable audiences
to access high quality art and learning experiences.
Plural funding for the arts is healthyfunding
from the public sector attracts funding from other sources to
the arts. Private donors and the business sector are not interested
in "plugging the gap" left by a reduction in public
investment in the arts. Private donors and the business sector
are interested in supporting "success" and are likely
to focus their support on high profile urban arts activities.
Public funding is necessary to provide a cultural offer across
What impact recent, and future, spending cuts
from central and local Government will have on the arts and heritage
at a national and local level
1. Reduced public investment in the arts
could decrease children, young people and adults' access to the
arts. Galleries and visual arts organisations may struggle to
sustain education and learning programmes. This will impact on
the capacity of galleries and visual arts organisations to work
with audiences in particular with education organisations.
2. The Ofsted report "Drawing Together:
Art, Craft and Design in Schools" (2009) argues that standards
of teaching and learning are raised by schools working with artists
and visual arts organisations and recommends that every child
have a direct educational experience with an artist and art in
a gallery or visual arts venue. The report suggests that not enough
schools are working with artists and galleries and argues for
more professional development for teachers to support them to
work with artists and galleries. Watch this Space, the professional
development programme for teachers and artists delivered by engage
since 2004 as part of the Strategic Commissioning Programme in
Museum and Gallery Education, funded through the Museums and Libraries
Archives Council, is sited in the report as an example of excellent
3. Reports such as "Get it the Power
of Cultural Learning" (2009) argue that despite exemplary
practice in the cultural sector in learning and education, cultural
organisations could make education and learning central to their
mission, thereby creating more accessible cultural organisations
that deliver greater public benefit.
4. Research from Burns Owen Partnership
of "Find Your Talent" 2010 suggests that socially privileged
people are more likely to participate in cultural activities than
vulnerable young people. With reduced resource for education activities,
cultural organisations may struggle to engage with less privileged
young people. More resource is required for cultural organisations
to work with vulnerable young people than with more privileged
groups. Research through programmes such as enquire, the visual
arts strand of the Strategic Commissioning Programme in Museum
and Gallery Education supported by the DCMS and DFS, demonstrates
that young people gain enhanced self confidence and decision making
skills through working with artists and galleries. These are qualities
that can enable young people to make a contribution to society.
5. Galleries and visual arts organisations
are important resources for building a healthy, responsible society.
Galleries respond to the needs of a diverse range of audiences.
They work proactively with audiences and respond to the different
needs of older people, family groups and early years groups, as
well as of the wider public. "Excellence in Schools"
(1997) and research in 2010 by Creativity, Culture & Education
(CCE) argue that family relationships can be developed through
family learning programmes in galleries.
6. The cultural sector is a vital element
of the UK economy. Cultural organisations play a key role in nurturing
talent and encouraging young people to undertake education, employment
or training in the cultural sector. The erosion of the cultural
sector through a downturn in public funding will lessen the cultural
sector's capacity to nurture young talent. This could have a negative
impact on the UK economy and on the UK's reputation as a leading
nation with high quality, innovative cultural and creative industries.
What arts organisations can do to work more closely
together in order to reduce duplication of effort and to make
economies of scale
7. Membership organisations such as engage
already provide a very powerful connected, active and cost affective
network. engage members network and share practice through Area
Groups in England. engage has the capacity to work strategically
with galleries and visual arts organisations across the UK and
key partners, to deliver research and projects. For example, since
2004 engage has worked with the Museums Libraries and Archives
Council and with the Arts Council of England on visual arts strands
of the Strategic Commissioning Programme in Museum and Gallery
Education. This has developed capacity providing professional
development to teachers, artists and gallery staff and has enabled
children and young people to access galleries and the visual arts,
many of them for the first time. Work across the UK has included
research on the Foundation Phase curriculum and a programme supporting
access to galleries and museums by disabled and deaf people. Partners
in these programmes have included the Welsh Assembly Government
and Creative Scotland.
8. Galleries, visual arts organisations,
museums and education organisations are already collaborating
together effectively. For example, engage works with national
organisations such as Tate, the Crafts Council and the Museums
Association as well as with other membership organisations such
as AXIS (a digital listing service for artists) and NSEAD (the
subject association for art and design teachers).
9. There is potential for arts organisations
to work in partnership to duplicate effort and save resources.
This could include sharing backroom services (eg aspects of finance,
website development and membership services) and collaborating
on the delivery of programmes and activities.
10. Sharing services and collaborating enables
organisations to save resource, share skills and to reach wider
and more diverse audiences. However, organisations such as engage
also have specialist knowledge, expertise and a remit which is
valued by the visual arts and education communities and brings
benefits to audiences of the visual arts. While it is important
to avoid duplication of delivery within the cultural sector in
a period of limited resources, it is equally vital to recognise
the distinctive and vital role that individual cultural organisations
What level of public subsidy for the arts and
heritage is necessary and sustainable?
11. The arts have enjoyed a period of sustained
growth since the 1990s. Small amounts of public subsidy have encouraged
the arts to flourish and have been matched through funding from
trusts and foundations, the private sector and individuals. Research
by Arts and Business and the Arts Council of England demonstrates
that the private sector, individuals, trusts and foundations will
not step in to pick up a funding shortfall for the arts left by
downturn in public sector funding. Trusts, foundations, the private
sector and individual donors have their own agendas for supporting
the arts. These may not be in tandem with the priorities for the
arts set by government or the respective arts councils. It is
difficult to predict the amount of funding from outside of the
public sector that may come to the arts and how sustainable this
is. It is very difficult for arts organisations to plan and work
strategically when it is hard to anticipate the amount of funding
available in the future.
Whether the current system, and structure, of
funding distribution is the right one
12. The UK has an international reputation
for high quality arts and cultural provision and an "arms
length" funding system which makes a clear distinction between
political ideology and funding decisions for the arts and culture.
The Arts Council of England, Creative Scotland, Arts Council of
Wales and Arts Council of Northern Ireland all play an important
role in administering funding to the arts sector. These organisations
have recently under gone significant restructuring and review
which has lead to a reduction in staff and therefore capacity.
Staff within these organisations have specialist knowledge of
the arts together with an overview of cultural provision and government
policies which can enable them to make strategic decisions which
can enable cultural provision in the UK to flourish.
What impact recent changes to the distribution
of National Lottery funders will have on arts and heritage organisations
13. The review of the distribution of the
National Lottery could mean an increase in funding from the Lottery
to the cultural sector. This could augment funding from the public
sector. Given the fragility of funding from other sources such
as the private sector and individuals this is a hugely important
source of funding for the cultural sector.
14. Public funding has been shown to encourage
philanthropic supportincreased lottery funds will enhance
the cultural sector's ability to gain funding from individuals.
Lottery funding is also essential for projects and programmes
that traditionally find it harder to gain funding from individualsfor
instance, those working with offenders, vulnerable young people
Whether the policy guidelines for National Lottery
funding needs to be reviewed
15. The current guidelines for the Arts
Council of England from DCMS are very broad. The guidelines particularly
focus on using Lottery funds to support programmes that encourage
access to the arts, especially for non-traditional arts audiences
and for children and young people; to nurture talent; to support
local community initiatives; and to encourage volunteering and
participation in the arts. These are very important funding principles
which support and enable access to the arts, particularly for
audiences new to the arts. Participation, working with non-traditional
arts audiences, nurturing talent and engaging with communities
are all areas that education and learning programmes in galleries
and visual arts organisations focus on.
The impact of recent changes to DCMS arms length
bodiesin particular the abolition of the UK Film Council
and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council
16. As stated above, engage has worked with
the Museums Libraries and Archives Council to deliver a professional
development programme for teachers and artists. The MLA provides
valuable services supporting access to museums, libraries and
archives and developing professional standards within these organisations.
Programmes such as Learning Links, delivered by MLA for the Strategic
Commissioning Programme in Museum and Gallery Education, support
non-visiting schools to access museums, libraries and archives.
Without the support provided though MLA there is a threat that
small and medium scale organisations who particularly benefit
from the support of a national organisation may struggle to provide
high quality learning and educational servicesand indeed
to operate. The UK's cultural framework is enhanced by having
organisations of differing scales serving regions and sub-regions,
as well as those with a national remit. MLA has had a role in
brokering partnerships between national institutions and regional
ones, increasing access and participation across the country.
Whether business and philanthropists can play
a long-term role in funding arts at a national and local level
17. Plural funding is important for the
health of the cultural sector. However, recent research by the
Arts Council of England and by Arts and Business suggests that
the businesses and philanthropists are not interested in replacing
public funding that has been withdrawn.
18. Businesses and philanthropists have
an interest in supporting additional, rather than core, activities
delivered by successful cultural organisations. Traditionally
high profile cultural organisations, particularly those in London
and in other major cities, have attracted support from these groups.
The Arts Council of England and Arts and Business argue that this
pattern is likely to continue; this would mean that medium and
small-scale cultural organisations, particularly those outside
major cities, are unlikely to receive significant funding from
19. With a decrease of public funding to
the cultural sector there is a threat that while large-scale urban
cultural organisations will survive, small and medium-scale organisations
will not. Small and medium-scale organisations play a vital role
providing a cultural infrastructure in regions and sub-regions.
They provide access to the arts to students and teachers and to
vulnerable groups who find it difficult to travel significant
distances to larger cultural venues. The private sector and individual
donors are not a reliable source of funding for the cultural sector
over the long term. A cultural sector more dependent on funding
from these sources with less core funding from the public sector
is likely to be less robust, less able to plan strategically and
for the long term and therefore represent less value for money
and provide decreased public benefit.
Whether there need to be more Government incentives
to encourage private donations
20. The Arts Council of England and Arts
and Business suggest that tax incentives such as those used in
the United States would stimulate giving to the cultural sector
from businesses and individuals. The Government have a responsibility
to work with key organisations such as the Arts Council of England
to put in place incentives to encourage private philanthropy.
The Arts Council of England argue that developing a culture of
private philanthropy in the UK will take time. There is a danger
that a drastic reduction in public investment in the arts in the
short term and the absence of other funding to "plug the
gap" will leave to the irrevocable erosion of the UK's arts