We watched with interest last week as the Arts Council England announced their National Portfolio for 2018-2022. And while we were pleased to discover the additional investment outside of London, we wanted to look further into the figures and make our own minds up.
While the headline statistic of an extra £170m investment outside London will be welcome news for those tired of a London-centric approach to distribution, funding per head is still over 4 times as much inside the capital than everywhere else and in real terms the shift in funding is only very slight at around 3%.
This shift has largely been made possible by some of the larger institutions such as the Royal Opera House, Southbank Centre and RSC agreeing a reduction in their funding to allow the Arts Council to support more small and/or diverse organisations.
This funding cycle greater focus has been placed on the diversity of the strategic decision-makers at the 831 organisations supported, with 96 BME led, 35 disability led, 44 LGBT led and 257 female led.
Of course, some will fall into two or more of these categories and, even considering the best case scenario, the data suggests that at least 49% (412) have little-to-no diversity in the boardroom.
The Arts Council appears to understand this challenge, noting that there are “no Black and minority ethnic or disability led organisations receiving funding at Band 3 level (the largest), and only a single Black and minority ethnic led Sector Support Organisation”, before going on to state that their future efforts should include “holding organisations to account for their implementation of the Creative Case for Diversity.”
The good news for Kind was that our friends, and two of those diverse-led organisations, UK Young Artists and Backlit Gallery have both become National Portfolio Organisations for the next 4 years, joining other locals like Nottingham Contemporary, Broadway and New Art Exchange.
And, looking further at local investment, the East Midlands is set to receive an additional £5m per year this funding cycle, with Nottingham picking up an extra £1.8m of that, which is great news for our city.
Based on the Arts Council’s National Portfolio data, we’ve created an infographic illustrating the change in funding since 2015. We think there’s still a long way to go.