This report publishes the findings of the ‘Towards Plan A: a new political economy for arts and culture?’ seminar series. The seminars brought together representatives from business and finance, the government, local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships, and the arts and cultural sector to explore ideas that can shape a new political economy for arts and culture in England.
The over-arching aim was to develop a connected set of insights and ideas that can help the arts and cultural sector play the fullest possible role in economic and social growth, strengthening its investment pitch to a wide variety of partners and public and private investors. Aligned with these aims Arts Council England is developing a narrative about the ‘holistic’ case for investment,emphasising social, cultural and economic impacts that support and reinforce each other.
These seminars have implicitly fleshed out that ‘holistic case’ suggesting that the ‘intrinsic’ cultural, social and economic cases are made in terms of national and local economic / social / place goals as well as cultural ones. This should not of course mean collapsing cultural aims into these wider aims. Instead the arts and cultural sector should be seeking to make these different investment ‘logics’ distinct and transparent developing specific goals and mutually reinforcing measures for each of these particular forms of investment and activity. This report publishes the four commissioned papers that drove our ‘Plan A’ discussions. This introductory segment has two aims.
Firstly, to capture the wider themes and issues that emerged from the discussions.Secondly, to build on the analysis of the papers published in this collection to highlight key recommendations that could be central to the future development and impact of the arts and cultural sector. The recommendations are either drawn from the papers or reflect discussions and suggestions that have emerged from the seminar process.