A new political economy for Arts and Culture - RSA

A new political economy for Arts and Culture

Press release

  • Creative economy
  • Arts and society

A new partnership Towards Plan A: a new political economy for arts and culture? between the Arts Council and the RSA aimed at developing and articulating a new case for investment in the arts and culture will be announced by Peter Bazalgette, at his inaugural lecture as the newly-appointed Chair of the Arts Council.

Speaking to an audience at the RSA, his lecture will be the first of a series of debates and seminars taking stock of the public and private investment case for arts and culture. Drawing together business and finance, the government, local authorities and LEPs, and the arts and cultural sector, the series will explore ideas that can shape a new political economy for arts and culture in England.

The outcome will be that supporters of arts and culture will be much clearer about what will be required to convince public and private investors, from local authority leaders to LEPs, that arts and cultural infrastructure are integral to future economic and social growth.

Commenting on the partnership, RSA Chair Vikki Heywood said:

“In times of austerity and cuts to public spending it’s vital that we clearly articulate the role that the arts and culture plays in stimulating economic growth, driving forward innovation and promoting healthier happier communities. We all recognise the importance of the arts in enriching our lives, but it’s time the sector was also recognised for the unique role it plays in the economy alongside the financial, manufacturing and the service industries.”

The four seminars, underpinned by commissioned papers, will examine different – but connected – arguments for investment in arts and culture. The seminars will explore a range of issues:

  • If the economic case for the arts is so obvious, why does the UK so palpably lack an industrial and export strategy for arts and culture? How important is public subsidy of the arts in enabling creative risk-taking, and providing the foundation for private sector investment?

  • What are the distinctive contributions of creative talent in the economy, and is their value and importance set to grow? What are the implications for the wider education and skills system?

  • How can arts and culture cement their position as an essential service even with shrinking local budgets? Are the arts the most effective ‘ignition’ strategy for active citizenship and effective collaborations between citizens and public services?

  • Why have some cities made the arts part of their future and some haven’t, and what will be the consequences? What can the next wave of arts and cultural innovation bring to our cities, at a time when through community budgets and city deals the Coalition is committed to devolving more power and freedom to cities and city regions.

Notes to editors

1.    For more information contact RSA Head of Media Luke Robinson on 020 7451 6893 or 07799 737 970.

2.    Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. Between 2011 and 2015, it will invest £1.4bn of public money from government and an estimated £1bn from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. 

3.    State of the Arts has evolved from the Arts Council's single annual conference to become a series of diverse activities encouraging thought leadership in the arts and cultural sector and providing platforms to develop new ideas and respond to the political environment as it develops. 


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