Arts Council should focus more on grassroots – report
Arts Council England should introduce a new funding strand dedicated to grassroots work as part of a shift to recognise the value of “everyday creativity”, a new report has claimed.
The call is among a number of recommendations made by the new report, which addresses the Arts Council’s role in balancing the “everyday” and the “professional”. It argues that more should be done to nurture grassroots art, which is described as a “central contributor to a healthy arts and cultural sector in England”.
The report – Everyday Creativity: From Great Arts and Culture for Everyone, to Great Art and Culture by, with and for Everyone – has been written by campaign group 64 Million Artists, having been commissioned by ACE.
The main focus of the document calls on the Arts Council to do more to recognise the value of everyday creativity, but also advises that the cultural sector itself should contribute to a shift in how grassroots and amateur work is valued.
More than 300 artists and arts professionals across England were consulted as part of the research process.
The report’s recommendations include adapting the way ACE funds to create a small grants fund with lower requirements for up to £5,000. The report also calls for people, rather than projects, to be funded, in a bid to support individuals.
“Across all consultees it was widely felt that ACE, and the infrastructure it funds, could and should better explicitly value everyday creativity within a broad ecology of arts and cultural practice, embracing the amateur and grassroots alongside the professional and institutional,” it says.
Funded cultural organisations should also do more, the report says, to support everyday creativity. Buildings should be better used for community activity, with skills sharing a common practice.
The report says that bringing the professional and amateur sectors together could maximise the opportunities for both to learn from each other.
It also calls for a “citizens panel” to be included in funding decisions.
The report claims lobbying and advocacy are crucial to ensure creativity is central to government policy. To enable this, the sector more broadly should take a stronger stance on creativity in education, as well as leading research into the impact of the arts on well-being.
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