Many Rivers to Cross
Responding to the announcement by DCMS & Treasury of emergency support funding for Arts & Culture in the UK:
As we wait to hear specific details about the nature of the support that government are extending to the arts & cultural sector, we would firstly like to thank everyone who has enthusiastically engaged in the loud campaign to #SaveTheArts, without your voices and loud support we’re sure that further foot-dragging would have doomed many more venues & organisations to closure. Ultimately, if the government has listened to anyone at this time, it is to your collective voice.
We would like to thank the Treasury for finally acknowledging that the culture sector is one of the most vibrant and profitable areas of the British economy, paying both financial dividends to the public coffers, and cultural dividends to the people and communities who engage with it year round.
Whilst this announcement will hopefully be a chance for some celebration in venues and orgs around the country, we also need to acknowledge that more is needed to help support freelancer, self-employed and casual staff and creatives, who will continue to struggle until cultural life across the country can reopen. It seems the government is looking to make venues and organisations responsible for supporting those who are left outside, and as a sector we must do everything in our power to ensure this money makes it through to those most in need. Buildings without creative work are just shells waiting for life to grow in and around them.
Additionally, we understand the need to secure the operation of our largest and most glittering prizes in the commercial cultural sector (O2 arena, Wembley Parks, English Heritage) we hope that the funding find space to provide significant support to small and medium sized venues and organisations across the whole of Britain, who create the fertile ground from which our International reputation is grown. Without venues like Esquires and grassroots live music scenes in pubs and bars we wouldn’t have home-grown headline acts for world renowned festivals like Glastonbury, without spaces like The Place & The Quarry supporting early-career theatremakers we’d miss out on work like Fleabag, The Play That Goes Wrong, and all the other work that started life in the Fringe theatre scene.
Finally, this announcement comes at the same time that DoE announced an intention to constrict GCSE options for young people in State-run schools, removing access to arts, culture and creative expression for the most disenfranchised and vulnerable young people across the country. We acknowledge that a support package for our industry mustn’t come at a loss to others working in public sectors (education & healthcare), or those in SMES who are still awaiting help. We will continue to stand in solidarity with all those who create the diverse, inclusive, holistic cultural ecosystem that supports and uplifts the people of this country (and beyond) from birth to old age.