Government policy is part of the context within which arts practice operates, but is now going through unpredictable changes that make it more difficult to write about in terms of practice. The Arts Council has just announced the grants it has for arts organisations, their overall funding had been reduced. It is a time, therefore, that many arts organisations are thinking about their future. In the article there are brief comments from Jeremy Hunt, the Culture secretary, saying that the deficit is at the heart of the cuts, and Ivan Lewis, the shadow culture secretary, saying that frontline arts services will be affected. The leaders of arts organisations are at the brunt of managing this crisis, even those whose funding was cut less dramatically.
A sample response from the article says:
Others saw the cuts against a broader canvas. Michael Boyd, artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, said: "I hope we will see some longer-term thinking from government about arts funding. I would like to see more collaboration between government departments which recognises the value of the arts across many other areas of policy – in education, tourism and inward investment just as much as culture (Higgins and Brown, 2011).
The rationale for public funding may be linked to both economic and ideological sources as the current coalition government enacts legislation; because of the recession there is less money but how the Coalition decides to spend this money is also related to idea that government should limit the direct funding of public services. That is of course is an over simplification, and establishing the motives and directions of the new government is an ongoing debate. However, as the quote above indicates, arts practice also relates to other areas of the economy, such as education and tourism. By cutting funding in some areas of public funding, the context for other areas, such as tourism or entertainment, might also be affected.
The Arts Council funding cuts relates to an article we looked at the last Campus Session from Stage that indicated funding in the outer boroughs could be diminished in order to focus on the main London cultural centres (Woolman, 2011). This might be saying that tourism is being prioritised over services to local arts community. A case in point would be the cut in funding (Arts Depot, 2010) that is continuing to operate, but must now rely on more private funding in order to operate. For the Arts Depot, it is the local government policy about funding cuts that would have to be explained in order to understand both the decisions and consequences facing similar arts organisations. If the issues facing arts organisations financially stem from changes in policy, then understanding these changes to government policy must be crucial to their survival in these challenging economic times.
Arts Depot (2010) 'Keep art in the frame!', Arts Depot News, online, [Accessed 31/3/11] Available from:http://www.artsdepot.co.uk/news/index.php?articleid=326
Higgins, Charlotte and Brown, Mark (2011) 'Arts Council funding: a day of mixed fortunes as cuts are announced', Guardian, online, [Accessed 31/3/11] Available from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2011/mar/30/arts-council-funding-cuts
Woolman, Natalie (2011) 'London arts cuts - Barnet and Croydon Among the Losers', The Stage, London: the Stage Newspaper Limited, March 10, p. 3.
* To get the quote to indent - I did this article in Word and then cut and paste back into my blog.
Google Harvard citation for samples if they are not in the BAPP Subject Handbook or on the Libguides - an example would be:
The sources can say slightly different things - so just use a consistent approach throughout your document.