Written evidence submitted by Southbank
Centre (arts 216)
Southbank Centre firmly believes that
a mixed economy is the best model for bringing long-term financial
sustainability to cultural organisations.
Public money spent on the arts is an
investment in developing audiences. A public investment in the
arts often stimulates a commercial relationship.
Southbank Centre, like many arts organisations,
maintains a large, historic and well-used site. We hope that the
government will work with such organisations to find a way of
funding these operational costs that does not undermine investment
in the arts programme.
The public expect art centres to be well
maintained and with a consistently excellent artistic programme.
Front-loaded cuts could result in a sharp decline in our offering,
which would damage the relationship with our audiences and artists
in the long term.
Businesses and philanthropists have a
major impact on funding of the arts, but more could be done if
tax concessions were created and made more generous.
2.1 Southbank Centre is the UK's largest
arts centre, occupying a 21-acre site in the midst of London's
most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames.
The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history
stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Southbank Centre
is home to the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell
Room and the Hayward Gallery. Southbank Centre provides a public
facility in the widest sense, encouraging cultural excellence,
commercial entrepreneurialism and learning and participation opportunities.
2.2 Today, the arts reach ever larger audiences,
and the creative industries play an increasingly central role
in the UK's economy.i The next few years will be crucial to the
future of our sector. We need to face the challenges created by
the recession and continuing social change, whilst preparing for
the Olympics and building on the success that the arts currently
2.3 Given the current economic climate in
the United Kingdom and the anticipated cuts that the cultural
sector will face following the Comprehensive Spending Review,
as well as the wide range of essential activities that Southbank
Centre undertakes, we welcome the opportunity to respond to the
Culture, Media and Sport Committee's inquiry, and to inform discussion
as to how funding will best enable cultural organisations to achieve
the levels of excellence and access that the public expects.
3. IMPACT OF
3.1 Southbank Centre strongly believes in
the importance of the mixed economy. The core funding for our
artistic and operational requirements comes from an ACE grant
of £23 million. This support enabled us to generate a further
£8.7 million through ticket sales and £9 million through
commercial and development activities in 2010. This financial
stability has meant that we have become an essential part of England's
arts ecology. As well as maintaining one of the best known cultural
tourist sites in London, we welcome the best artistic talent from
around the world; put on cutting-edge performances by emerging
artists; and encourage engagement with and participation in the
arts across all parts of society. Thanks to the sheer scale and
quality of the artistic offering we draw millions of visitors
to our site, which in turn spurs on the consistency in our commercial
income and sponsorship.
3.2 Due to our physical size and the diversity
of art forms we represent, we require the funding we receive from
Arts Council England to work across a number of areas. We produce,
programme and receive work from established and emerging artists
both nationally and internationally. We engage with a broad range
of people of different ages and backgrounds, and actively promote
the creative talent and wellbeing of the individual. We employ
a large number of staff and work with a range of commercial partners.
We are actively engaged in fundraising to develop our programme.
3.3 Southbank Centre maintains a large and
popular site which includes buildings of historic and architectural
importance. 21.5 million people use our 21-acres of public realm
each year. The area must be maintained to the highest standards
in order to meet the expectations of tourists and Londoners alike.
There has been a significant increase in operational costs over
recent years; Southbank Centre has been assisted in meeting these
costs by Arts Council England. A major review of the condition
of the buildings has shown a substantial future investment is
required to keep them open and operating. Keeping the site running
at the standards that the public expects is more crucial than
ever in the run up to the London Olympics in 2012. We hope that
the government will work with organisations such as ours to find
a way of funding these operational costs that does not undermine
investment in the arts programme.
3.4 As well as presenting excellent artistic
performances, Southbank Centre uses its public investment to take
risks with new art forms that attract new customers. Arts centres
must profile and celebrate work that attracts diverse audiences.
This is for both social and commercial reasons. Without attracting
the interest of different parts of the community to the art itself,
we cannot hope to encourage new voices into the industry. We then
have the opportunity to cultivate these new voices to become members
of our core audience from which we derive profit. Our new festival,
Alchemy, brings together UK-based artists in contemporary and
classical South Asian culture with their counter-parts in the
subcontinent. It also links with community celebration and neighbourhood
identity and allows us all to understand the country in which
we live. It brings new audiences to our site, which then allows
us to communicate our wider artistic programme and begin an ongoing
3.5 Southbank Centre runs a significant
programme of learning and participatory activity, much of which
is provided to the public free of charge. Public investment allows
us to operate and make artistic decisions for the public benefit.
Significant and front-loaded reductions to budgets will require
us to make decisions on a purely commercial basis. This will mean
a significant reduction in the amount of free, participatory and
innovative work here.
3.6 All these activities require significant
funding. We are under no illusions about the tough times that
lie ahead, and accept that the arts will bear some of the burden
of the expected cuts. Income from the National Lottery could relieve
some of the funding pressures that Southbank Centre is currently
under in order to deliver on its aims and objectives. Additional
revenue from the National Lottery will enable us to uphold the
vibrancy of Southbank Centre's artistic life whilst fulfilling
the expectations of the millions of visitors to the site, the
artists that perform here and all of those who benefit from our
superlative participation and education programmes.
4. WORKING TOGETHER
4.1 In addition to our wide range of partners
on artistic projects, Southbank Centre is exploring potential
efficiencies from sharing operational support services with partners
in the cultural sector. We recognise that savings from shared
services typically arrive after an upfront initial investment
and that the approach carries some risk.
4.2 We also believe in working in close
partnership with the local community to deliver our goals. Southbank
Centre continues to play a leading role with the Southbank Employers
Groups, Lambeth and Southwark Councils, the GLA family and our
partners in the South Bank and Bankside Cultural Quarter. Working
in partnership with these groups is bringing about improvements
to the area, reducing duplication of efforts and improving efficiencies.
4.3 The arts sector must continue to work
in partnership with other arts organisations and also other industries.
Looking for synergies with sectors such as health, social justice,
and education will help deliver great art to those who might benefit
5.1 We are actively engaged in fundraising
to develop our programme and our site to ensure Southbank Centre
remains a sustainable world-class destination for creative endeavour.
Individuals have already had a major impact on our fundingthe
refurbishment of the Royal Festival Hall would not have been possible
without the private generosity of major philanthropists and the
18,000 people who made donations totalling £2 million. British
cultural institutions operate a healthy funding model and we welcome
the government's emphasis on the growth of philanthropy in addition
to the public funding provided for the cultural sector.
5.2 We now have very productive relationships
with a range of corporate sponsors (for example, Shell and HSBC)
who are increasingly addressing the balance of our funding constitution.
These major corporate sponsors are attracted by our government
investment and relative stability it can provide the larger institutions.
They are also attracted to our success, our significant number
of visitors and central location, and want to play a part in it.
5.3 Not all arts institutions are able to
offer this level of benefits to corporate sponsors. Southbank
Centre like many other national institutions relies on the health
of the wider regional and local arts establishments for future
talent and expertise, many of whom struggle to attract philanthropy
5.4 We welcome the government's emphasis
on motivating donors and stimulating donations. There do need
to be more government incentives to encourage private donations.
We recommend a focus on major gifts to the cultural sector as
an area of growth and potential. To establish a culture of giving,
individuals can be encouraged by both tax incentives and recognition
of the role they play in society. Those who gave gifts to the
Royal Festival Hall did not do so purely for their own benefit
but to return the building to the wide public who now enjoy it.
CBI estimates that the creative industries contribute between
6 and 8% of GDP, account for £16 billion of overseas trade
each year and employ nearly two million people.
ii Examples of our partnership work include:
South Bank Employers Group, Shell, London
Eye, Lambeth Council and local residents to deliver a new Jubilee
Gardens and Trust for its ongoing management and with other landowners
to improve the public spaces between Waterloo Station and the
Local employers to deliver better management
of the area with joint security, graffiti and other cleaning,
waste management, coach management and cycling.
TfL and South Bank Employers Group (SBEG)
to deliver the new Legible London signage to help visitors and
local resident and workers find their way around the South Bank
The London Development Authority and
local employers to explore the potential of combined heat and
power to reduce future energy costs as well as our carbon footprint.
The Greater London Authority, Lambeth
and Southwark Councils and our cultural partners to deliver a
Cultural Olympiad between Jubilee Gardens and Potters Field.