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Five a Week 6: Some Things to Read and Think About

1. TAILORED REVIEW OF ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND
If time allows I’ll write something specific about this DCMS ‘tailored review’ of Arts Council England, but it is obviously an essential read. As an end of term report it’d be a B or B+ in old money, I suspect: it concludes value and a good job, but some areas to sharpen up, most of which I suspect fall of into the categories of ‘Already working on that, ta, but will work/think even harder.’ (Prediction: that could serve as the exec summary of ACE’s response.)

Some glass-half-empty descriptions of the review have highlighted the ‘must work harder on diversity’ points. I can imagine folk in ACE putting their head in their hands and wondering what more they can do. The pace of change, it seems to me, is not for the want of trying, though obviously not everything tried has necessarily been the ‘right’ thing at he right time. But the actions now on diversity are for the sector, surely, for the board and leadership teams? Anyway, lots of interesting things in here and more of my reflections, for what they’re worth, soon.

2. ANALYSIS OF ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND NPO DATA
MyCake’s fourth annual analysis of the data from ACE’s NPO data is now available via CultureHive. It is useful if you are wondering how your organisation might compare to others, in terms of say, earned income or sponsorship. It very usefully draws out a range of points, including that there are intrinsic differences in business models between small and large organisations and across artforms.

3. HOW TO HELP WRITERS BREAK THROUGH
In terms of models for supporting the development of artists and organisations, you could do a lot worse than the three principles Steve Dearden sets out in this article about writers. Young writers need, he argues, long-term, flexible support, open access to small amounts of enabling money, and connectivity. Many years ago, when I was a young poetry upstart and chef with only a long-arm stapler and a big knife to my name, Steve gave me at least 2 out of 3 of those, when he worked at Yorkshire Arts, for which I am eternally grateful. It remains a strong manifesto.

4. A GENERAL ELECTION MANIFESTO FOR THE CREATIVE INDUSTRIES
Talking of manifestos, apparently there’s an election on. The Creative industries Federation have published their 10 point manifesto for the creative industries. It’s what one might expect, and studiously applicable to all parties, so it seeks to make the best of a bad job re Brexit, for instance, whilst pushing strongly on education. I’m to be convinced re creative enterprise zones, but like the idea a place would be ineligible if they severely reduce arts funding. I want to know more about the home-grown skills shortage, too – and what the hell the HE/FE sector have been doing in recent years if there really is one.

5. THE UK GOVERNMENT IS COMPLETELY DELUDED ABOUT BREXIT
This is a depressing read, but probably necessary – the title says it all.

“BANK HOLIDAY BONUS ARCHIVE CHOICE: HAPPY MAY DAY
This is from 5 years ago. I’ll be honest: I am not as optimistic as I was then when I think about the Paul Mason quote shared here. But the video by Nisha Duggal (which is above) still makes hope rise.

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