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Arts Council of Great Britain

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Arts Council of Great Britain was a non-departmental public body dedicated to the promotion of the fine arts in Great Britain. It was divided in 1994 to form the Arts Council of England (now Arts Council England), the Scottish Arts Council, and the Arts Council of Wales. At the same time the National Lottery was established and these three arts councils, plus the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, became distribution bodies.

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  • ✪ National Curriculum: Arts Council of England
  • ✪ RSA / Arts Council England Event - A Grand Partnership


My name Althea Efunshile and I am the Deputy Chief Executive of Arts Council England. My name is Laura Gander-Howe. I'm the Director for Children and Young People and Learning for Arts Council England. Schools are important to the Arts Council. There are important because we are the national funding and development agency for the arts in England. We've got five goals and one of our five goals is about trying to ensure that every child and young person in England has opportunities to benefit from the richness of arts, museums and libraries. Obviously children and young people spend a lot of time in schools and so we want to work with schools so that they get access to the opportunities both in and outside of schools. We are doing quite a lot on on the curriculum, aren’t we? Yes and I think that point about the focus on schools is really important and what is really key is to ensure that all young people have a broad and balanced curriculum. Of course we value and understand the value of the core subjects but also the art subjects sitting alongside those. We are really keen to progress that argument about the STEAM agenda, in other words; Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. The STEM subjects. Putting the A and generating a bit of steam around that if you like. We know that the creative industry is a really growing economy. 3.5 billion pounds a year, many jobs for young people, but the jobs that are required require young people to have technical and creative skills. We think it's really important that those synergies and alignments are seen. Of course we want our arts subjects to be seen on a par with the core subjects. That's really important. So at Key Stage 4 that work that we've been doing to really try and make sure that creative subjects at Key Stage 4 are seen as being on that par with the core subjects. I'm very excited by the work that we're doing alongside arts organisations, educators, industrial sector folk and representatives to look at programmes of study at Key Stage 4 for creative subjects. We will be submitting those later this year to DfE and to Ofqual with a view to having them available in schools from 2016. We are doing other things to help schools. We know that there are loads of really great high-quality resources available, many made by some the best arts organisations in the country but we need teachers to know they are there and be able to use them so that they can use them in their curriculum and in their schemes of work. We are developing an online catalogue of resources where teachers will be able to access a whole range of resources to support and will be linked to various websites and also available on our own website. Of course we also have got Artsmark, we are very proud of Artsmark. It's a scheme for schools that measures the quantity and quality of cultural prevision in those schools. About twenty percent of schools have got Artsmark that the moment but of course we would like many more to have it. Not only does it embed arts and culture within the school but also, of course, it provides them with a great way of evidencing art and culture for inspection, particularly in relation to the social, moral and cultural development of a child. We also have Arts Award which is the qualification for young people, available at five levels from five to twenty five-year-olds. Our gold level is quite challenging and attracts UCAS points, 35 UCAS points, which can really help a young person in their progression. One of the things that we've been working at, with Ofsted of course, has been trying to make sure that in those inspections that there is much more reference to cultural education, so that's going to be very important and hopefully Artsmark can play a part there and bridges are similar. We have a network of ten bridge organisations across our areas and their key role really is to connect schools with arts and cultural organisations, museums and libraries. They have a key role in terms of galvanising local partnerships so that they can really develop a rich, high-quality local offer for young people. Schools and other organisations if they look on our website they will see how to connect through to our bridges. I was interested, when you were talking about Artsmark and the importance of collaborations and partnerships and I want to say just a little bit more about that because one of the things that we're really keen to see is schools working in much closer partnerships and collaborations with arts organisations, with museums and with libraries and hence the importance to Artsmark, but also music education hubs are about partnerships and collaborations. The 123 music education hubs that we fund up and down the country and the way that they are about trying to ensure that schools are working with music organisations locally, looking at what the needs are and ensuring that there is a universal, high-quality universal offer for children and young people in that locality. The work that we've been doing, again with Ofsted, trying to support music education hubs to in turn support schools, to ensure that schools are delivering a high-quality music education partnership. Absolutely. I hope people understand what we do now.



Dancers from the Ballet Rambert, under the auspices of CEMA perform Peter and The Wolf at an aircraft factory in the Midlands during World War II
Dancers from the Ballet Rambert, under the auspices of CEMA perform Peter and The Wolf at an aircraft factory in the Midlands during World War II

In 1940, during the Second World War, the Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts (CEMA), was appointed to help promote and maintain British culture. Chaired by Lord De La Warr, President of the Board of Education, the Council was government-funded and after the war was renamed the Arts Council of Great Britain.

A Royal Charter was granted on 9 August 1946,[1] followed by another in 1967. The latter provided for functions in Scotland and Wales to be conducted by two almost[citation needed] autonomous committees known as the Scottish and Welsh Arts Councils – the basis for today’s Scottish Arts Council and Arts Council of Wales.

The Council's first Chairman was John Maynard Keynes who used his influence in Government to secure a high level of funding despite Britain's poor finances following the war. The majority of this funding was directed to organisations with which Keynes had close ties such as the Royal Opera House and was restricted to Central London. Keynes used his political influence to ensure that the Arts Council reported directly to the Treasury rather than an Arts Minister or the Education Department as had been the case with CEMA, establishing the principle of an 'arms length' relationship between UK Arts policy and the government of the day.

After Keynes' death in April 1946 Government funding was reduced but the Arts Council received wide recognition for its contribution to the Festival of Britain thanks to the new Chairman Kenneth Clark. Artworks commissioned by the Council for the Festival were retained to form the basis of the Arts Council Collection.[citation needed] The Arts Council commissioned 12 sculptors and 60 painters, who made large paintings, 114 by 152 centimetres (45 by 60 in) or more, to be displayed at the festival. Ultimately the works were to be given to new hospitals, libraries, schools, and health centres that emerged after the war. There were five cash prizes awarded: Robert Adams's Apocalyptic Figure, Elinor Bellingham-Smith's The Island, Lucian Freud's Interior near Paddington, William Gear's Autumn Landscape, and Robert MacBryde's Figure and Still Life.[2]

Under the Harold Wilson Government of 1964-70 the Arts Council enjoyed a Golden Age thanks to the close relationship between Chairman Arnold Goodman and the Arts Minister Jennie Lee. This period saw the Council establish a network of arts organisations across the country as regular client organisations and a programme of touring exhibitions and performances. To support the Council’s responsibilities in relation to the visual arts, it opened the Hayward Gallery on London's South Bank in 1968 as a home for its major exhibitions and the base for the Arts Council Collection. Since 1987, the gallery has been independently managed by the South Bank Centre. In 2003 sculpture in the Collection was moved to a base in Yorkshire.

During the 1970s and 1980s the Arts Council came under attack for being elitist and politically biased, in particular from the prominent Conservative Party minister Norman Tebbit.[citation needed] The Government grant to the Council was capped effecting a real terms reduction in funding though it was argued that any shortfall would be made up by increased sponsorship from the private sector. The Secretary-General from 1975–83, Roy Shaw, the last secretary-General to be knighted, faced the difficult task of reconciling the needs of arts organisations with the restricted funding. William Rees-Mogg was a political appointment as Chairman and proposed slimming down the Council's responsibilities. This led to a series of clashes with prominent figures from the Arts such as Peter Hall who resigned from the Council in protest. In 1987 the restructure inspired by Rees-Mogg cut by half the number of organisations receiving Arts Council funding. During the same period the Arts Council began encouraging a greater level of corporate sponsorship for the arts.

The Arts Council of Great Britain was divided in 1994 to form the Arts Council of England, Scottish Arts Council and Arts Council of Wales. At the same time the National Lottery was established and the Arts Council of England became one of the distribution bodies.

Chairmen of the Arts Council

Chairman Served
The Lord Keynes 1946
Sir Ernest Pooley 1946–1953
Sir Kenneth Clark 1953–1960
The Lord Cottesloe 1960–1965
The Lord Goodman 1965–1972
Patrick Gibson 1972–1977
Sir Kenneth Robinson 1977–1982
Sir William Rees-Mogg 1982–1989
Peter Palumbo 1989–1993
The Earl of Gowrie 1993–1997


  1. ^ Who's Who in Music and Musicians' International Directory. Burke's Peerage Edition, London 1962
  2. ^ Becky Conekin (28 June 2003). The Autobiography of a Nation: The 1951 Exhibition of Britain, Representing Britain in the Post-War World. Manchester University Press. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-7190-6060-1.

Further reading

  • Hewison, Robert (1995), Culture and Consensus: England, Art and Politics Since 1940, Methuen
  • Sinclair, Andrew (1995), Arts and Cultures, The History of the 50 Years of the Arts Council of Great Britain, Sinclair-Stevenson, ISBN 1-85619-342-X

External links

This page was last edited on 21 December 2018, at 18:41
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