We want to improve understanding of the role that arts organisations play nationally and in their communities – who they serve and how. In partnership with arts and civic society practitioners we will craft recommendations as to how this role can be strengthened through policy change and practical support.
‘If all of us – as part of our civic role as citizens and as organisations – are individually and collectively engaged in creating culture, we can together create a new culture – truly accessible to all, because it is created by all.’
Stella Duffy, Fun Palaces
Patterns of arts consumption are changing and increasing cultural diversity means that people now relate to the arts in different ways and have higher expectations. Alongside this, there is growing disillusionment with conventional political processes; increasingly innovative ways of engaging people are being developed in other sectors; there is increased devolution and a greater emphasis on local leadership. All of these changes are providing an impetus for arts organisations to play a greater civic role.
Many arts organisations, recognising this, are breaking new ground in demonstrating their commitment to their civic role. However, this work often has a low profile and is under-appreciated. We want to stimulate a debate and work with people and organisations to develop a strong and growing movement of arts organisations that embrace their civic role.
We are planning three phases for the Inquiry. Phase 1 will describe how arts organisations demonstrate their civic role, highlighting inspiring examples, surveying arts organisations and interviewing key influencers. It will provide a basis for identifying the themes or issues that the planned phase 2 will examine in detail. Phase 2 will develop recommendations to support a growth in the civic role of arts organisations. Phase 3 would develop an implementation plan to ensure the initiative makes a lasting difference.
‘In 2016 the challenges facing society can appear chaotic, cruel and unknowable. The arts and culture are uniquely placed to bring the creative imagination to bear on these complex and difficult times, and to enable deeper understanding of who we are in relation to the world around us.’
Dominic Gray, Opera North
One of our aspirations for the Inquiry is that it should break new ground in the extent to which it is porous and engages the widest range of people with the broadest range of experiences, views and perspectives to contribute.
Please talk about the Inquiry with your colleagues, and sign up for the newsletter at the bottom of this page or follow us on twitter to keep abreast of opportunities to contribute, events and calls for evidence.