Funding of the arts and heritage

Written evidence submitted by the London Borough of Southwark (arts 68)

Southwark as a borough for culture

Southwark has always been a creative borough at the heart of London. Yesterday the home of Shakespeare and Dickens – today the home of London government, a world class cultural centre and one of the UK’s most vibrant cultural quarters. Perhaps more than any other area of London, Southwark is associated with arts and culture..

Southwark’s culture is unique. It is a borough of enormous cultural variety and potential – in its places, people, institutions, history and diversity. It is home to Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe, Imperial War Museum, Design Museum, Siobhan Davies Dance Company, Dulwich Picture Gallery, University of the Arts, South London Gallery, Shunt, Punchdrunk, London Bubble, Brunel Engine House, Kids Company, Cafe Gallery Projects, Thames Festival, Carnaval del Pueblo, Unicorn Theatre for Children, London Dungeon, Fashion and Textile Museum, HMS Belfast, Borough Market, Peckham Space, Bold Tendencies, to name just a few.

Cultural provision in the borough has shown that communities can connect through shared activities and cultural experiences. Artistic excellence and innovation in Southwark has not been limited by the need to engage with diverse audiences – in reality the opposite has been the case, and the levels of engagement in the arts (47.4% for 2008/9) and for visits to museums and galleries (64.4% for 2008/9) are relatively high. Arts and cultural organisations in Southwark deliver on the key priorities of community cohesion, social inclusion, improving the borough as a place to live, work and visit, and increasing opportunities for local residents. As such, they should be regarded as occupying a major place in the ‘Big Society’.

Arts and culture are an integral part of the borough’s dynamism, as a driving force within renewal, for tourism and the local economy, for community cohesion and engagement, and for creating vibrant local places. The investment in the arts by central government, Arts Council and the local authority generates £5 for every £1 invested. The Arts Council alone invests just over £11 million pounds annually in the arts in Southwark so the significance of this funding stream, and the partnership with the local authority is crucial to sustaining a vibrant and relevant arts and cultural sector.

Cultural tourism in the cultural quarter attracts 12 million people annually, generating £100 million pounds of economic benefits (tate modern), and generating 4,000 jobs in the Southwark area. The creative industries in Southwark employ 150, 000 people and are a growth area of the economy. With the ongoing regeneration of the borough and new districts and town centres at the Elephant and Castle, Canada Water, Bermondsey and Peckham, the need to sustain support for arts and culture as a driver of a more diverse economy in the borough is crucial. Entrepreneurship, self employment, social enterprise and small businesses are important aspects of this growth, and are features of creative industries.

The borough attracts and generates artistic innovation and creativity. At the same time, Southwark can be a challenging place to live and too many residents still struggle to have a decent home, good job and healthy life. Arts and culture have an important role to play in improving the quality of life for local people. Children and young people have been a primary focus of cultural provision in the borough with 300,000 participating in cultural activities each year. Funding for arts and cultural organisations to continue to provide free and affordable activities, training, volunteering and routes into employment needs to be maintained to ensure opportunities for all, and not just a privileged few.

Southwark aims to maintain the borough’s position as a leading part of London as a World City through its artistic and cultural excellence. It also aims to ensure that the benefits of its arts and cultural offer - economic, social and cultural - improve life for local people. It recognises the impact of the economic downturn on both the arts and cultural sector and the general public and the importance of working in partnership to deliver a cultural offer.

1. What impact recent, and future, spending cuts from central and local government will have on the arts and heritage at a national and local level

Larger institutions will struggle to maintain funding levels. This will impact on creative programmes and also on community, education and outreach provision. In the longer term this will restrict new and diverse audiences and participants in arts and culture. A number of smaller organisations have already downsized or closed.

Organisations will be in competition with each other. With the emphasis on philanthropic giving as a replacement for government funding and subsidy, it is likely that the diversity and innovation of national institutions will decrease, with funding being sustained for well-established, mainstream organisations and programmes.

Key capital projects have been curtailed, restricting the expansion of organisations and renovation of dated buildings. To maintain a world class cultural offer, a capital programme needs to be retained.

Many arts organisations are multi-funded, or partnership funded with national agencies and local authorities. The spending cuts will impact on all the funding streams at the same time, and it will inevitably lead to closure of a number of medium and small-scale organisations. Reductions in local authority spend will also limit the capacity of local authorities to provide in-kind support in terms of premises and other infrastructure support.

Reduction in touring work nationally will mean that some areas of the country will be disadvantaged.

Closure of organisations will mean closure of buildings in some cases. There is a risk in some areas of urban (and rural) blight through empty premises.

Increase in unemployment in the sector, restricting growth of the creative economy. Publicly funded arts are a driver for the creative industries and as a source of future jobs, should not be curtailed. Young people – school leavers and graduates - will be most significantly disadvantaged by shrinking the sector.

The sector is used to reductions in its funding. However, the timescale for implementing cuts means that there is usually limited time to make a real strategic change. It would be preferable that funding reductions are phased over 3 – 4 years.

2. What arts organisations can do to work more closely together in order to reduce duplication of effort and to make economies of scale

Southwark has strong arts and cultural partnerships, notably the South Bank and Bankside Cultural Quarter. There is significant scope for shared back office services, marketing, ticketing and on-line services; and streamlined education, community and outreach programmes between large institutions.

The arts and cultural infrastructure for London authorities can be reviewed, with a view to shared services and provision, in a similar way to the London Libraries pilot scheme. This will, however, require time to pilot and implement.

Provision for children and young people can be reviewed to maintain the range of arts opportunities for all young people but to rationalise the numbers of programmes and initiatives.

3. What level of public subsidy for the arts and heritage is necessary and sustainable

Public subsidy for the arts and heritage in the UK should ensure that there is provision to maintain excellence and innovation in the arts and heritage on a national and regional level. The eyes of the world will be on London in 2012

and it is important that Festival 2012 can demonstrate the diversity and excellence of culture in the UK.

· It should ensure that there is support for new organisations.

· It should be part of the mixed income model, which has been successful to date, and organisations should be expected to earn income and generate funding, and to be financially effective.

· A balance needs to be maintained between subsidy for national organisations, regional centres and local provision.

· Funding needs to incorporate revenue, capital, and start-up loans, and other ways of investing in the arts and heritage to generate financial return over a longer period of time. Both core and project funding need to be available to maintain sustainable organisations.

4. Whether the current system, and structure, of funding distribution is the right one

· We support the arms-length principle of funding as an appropriate way of operating support for the arts and heritage.

· The current system and range of distributors has been effective to date, with national and local funding opportunities available. There is scope, however, for streamlining decision-making processes between different authorities and decision-makers to achieve more consolidated and targeted provision.

· Stagnation in the funding system needs to be reviewed to ensure that new organisations can get support.

· A more streamlined and shared approach to funding application, assessment and review processes.

· Local authorities are a significant funder of the arts and recognise that arts and cultural provision impact positively on key priorities, including community cohesion, health and well-being and quality of life. In the spending review, local authorities’ capacity to fund the arts and heritage is likely to be significantly reduced with the Arts Council’s and that of other agencies. The negative of impact of reductions by all funding agencies over a similar period of time must be taken into account.

5. What impact recent changes to the distribution of National Lottery funding will have on arts and heritage organisations

The increase in the share apportionment for arts, heritage and sport on April 1, 2011 (18% each) and April 1, 2012 (20% each) is to be welcomed. The National Lottery has been an effective source of financial support for many projects in Southwark since 1994. This increase will not however be sufficient to replace the reductions in other funding streams.

6. Whether the policy guidelines for National Lottery funding need to be reviewed

Duplication in funding support between the National Lottery and other funders of community focused provision could usefully be reviewed and streamlined.

7. The impact of recent changes to DCMS arm’s-length bodies – in particular the abolition of the UK Film Council, and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council

There is a risk that in the abolition of arm’s-lengths bodies for arts and heritage that professionally informed leadership and expertise for the discrete areas of arts and heritage will be lacking. It is vital to maintain this if central government wish to encourage economic growth in the arts and heritage sector, and to maintain our international profile through creative excellence, and through exporting creative products.

The accreditation system for museums has benefited museums by ensuring quality whether the museum is large or small. We believe that a similar accreditation scheme should be retained to ensure diversity of quality provision at regional and local levels. The system of small grants for museums administered by the MLA has been very useful for new projects in museums and we would like to see a similar level of flexible support retained.

The loss of professional agencies that set standards and policies for the cultural sector, and encourage regional networks and exchange, will have a detrimental effect on the sector in the longer term. We question what will replace them and how long it will take to establish an alternative system.

8. Whether businesses and philanthropists can play a long-term role in funding arts at a national and local level

We believe that businesses and philanthropists should be encouraged to support the arts. However, this should not be a replacement for public subsidy, but should form part of multiple funding streams. The economic downturn is impacting on businesses and sponsorship of the arts has reduced, so the expectation that philanthropy and sponsorship can replace public funding in the short or longer-term is unrealistic.

We note the majority of philanthropic giving is focused on London, and 90% is for small or medium donations (£1 - £5000). The most significant donations are received by national institutions for high profile programmes. We believe that more can be done to encourage and inform potential donors and sponsors about the impact that the arts can make, including on a local level. Many organisations do not have the expertise to attract sponsors and donors, and more could be done to skill organisations up in this area.

9. Whether there need to be more Government incentives to encourage private donations

More could be done to improve charitable giving, particularly in respect of the tax breaks for indirect cash support via an intermediary, as identified by Arts and Business.

September 2010