7. Financing and support
Last update: March, 2020
Statistics portal Statista puts expenditure on cultural services in 2017/18 at GB£ 4,119 billion. However, due to the complexity of the UK arts and cultural funding system, exact figures for public cultural expenditure in the UK are not always easy to determine. The UK Government funds arts and culture mainly through the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and its Arm-Length-Bodies (ALBs), the most well-known of which are the Arts Councils as well as the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
While England has been hit consistently by funding cuts, there has been a relatively steady stream of funding for the arts in Wales. A decade of austerity has led to a shift in cultural business models. Organisations have to rely on private funding and self-generated revenue to a much greater degree than in the past, which is due to the fact that spending through both DCMS as well as the councils has decreased significantly. These days, many local authorities are under immense financial strain, which has hit many small arts organisations and community groups. In particular the councils, which are the largest providers of public funding for the arts outside of London, and which in the past often provided funding for smaller organisations, have had to cut back on cultural provision due to rising demand for other services such as homelessness support, children’s services or social care.
Last update: March, 2020
Table 6. Public cultural expenditure by level of government, 2017/18
Please note that these numbers refer to the whole for the United Kingdom.
|Level of government||Total expenditure in national currency||Total expenditure||% share of total|
|State (central, federal)||DCMS Spending 2017/18 Arts, Culture and Libraries: Heritage Museums and Galleries Media and Creative Industries||GB£ 1,013m GB£ 570m GB£ 461m GB£ 99m||
|Regional (provincial, Länder, etc.)||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Local (municipal, incl. counties)||Councils (includes support for museums, libraries, galleries and arts support)||GB£ 1,03bn||n/a|
According to the Arts Index published in 2017 by the National Campaign for the Arts, the amount of Government funding from the Treasury to Arts Council England per person fell from GB£111 in 2009/10 to GB£72 in 2015/16.
Last update: March, 2020
Currently, there are no recent data available.
Last update: March, 2020
UK support for artists differs markedly from, for example, the social welfare approach of Nordic countries. Artists have to rely on different sources of funding such as the Arts Council system, trusts and foundations and prizes. There is not currently a central database listing all the sources of funds for culture. Certain sources of funding are difficult to find because they are not widely promoted and smaller trusts and foundations in particular do not have the necessary staff to deal with a wide pool of applications. In order for applications to be successful they often need considerable preparatory work, which can act as a further deterrent.
Support primarily comes through the Arts Council system or agencies such as the Crafts Council in the form of grants, bursaries and commissions. An example of this kind of support is the Developing Your Creative Practice fund by Arts Council England, which provides support for independent creative practitioners with the aim of creating more pathways for artists of different creative practices. Support for artistic projects is provided through Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants. The grants range from GB£ 1,000 to GB£ 100,000 and are open to individuals as well as organisations.
Foundations are another important source of money for many artists. The Directory of Grant-Making Trusts, published by the Directory of Social Change lists some 2,000 trusts and foundations that fund a wide range of causes, including cultural ones. Again, due to the great number of foundations and their very different focuses, it can be difficult for artists to find a foundation that is right for them. Many foundations, such as the Paul Hamlyn Foundation or the Rothschild Foundation, are not exclusively dedicated to the arts, but aim to foster them as a means to effect social change. Therefore, artistic projects have to have a specific focus in order to stand a chance of getting funding. However, some foundations try to make their grants as accessible as possible by relying on a very simple application process (few application documents, applications accepted on a rolling basis, decisions given within a few weeks). They are also more likely to give out small grants (a few hundred pounds) to fund smaller projects with a limited reach.
A third funding option are sponsored prizes, such as the Man Booker Prize for literature (which was seeking a new sponsor as this text was being prepared) or the Turner Prize for visual art. Prizes can be relatively high (the winner of the Man Booker Prize received GB£ 50,000 while all shortlisted candidates receive GB£ 12,500, and the winner of the Turner Prize receives GB£ 25,000 while each shortlisted candidate receives GB£ 5,000). In addition to the money, winning a Prize also gives artists much-needed exposure and can thus open further doors for them. However, younger artists without a track record of successful applications, exhibitions or performances, are often deterred from entering the competition for fear of not standing a chance against their more experienced colleagues.
What is important to note is that in many cases, support does not necessarily have to come in the form of money. The Loan Fund for Musical Instruments is a charitable organisation that assists young musicians at the beginning of their career to purchase high-quality instruments. Another option is to borrow a professional instrument, which is made possible by organisations such as the Benslow Instrument Loan Scheme. Furthermore, there are a number of charities that offer affordable studio space to artists, which is especially important in London, where the cost of studio space is often out of reach for many artists in the early stages of their careers.
Last update: March, 2020
There are a fair number of special funds for artists of different disciplines in the UK. Many of the funds have existed for a long period of time, but always try to adapt to the constantly changing demands on artists in the UK. One example is the Royal Literary Fund, a charity which provides grants and pensions to writers in financial difficulty. In a similar vein, Help Musicians UK provides assistance to professional musicians in a crisis such as an unexpected event, illness or accident. While some of the help provided is of a financial nature, the charity also offers support in other form such as the 24/7 helpline MusicMindsMatter, which deal with musician’s mental health. Another charity is the Dance Professionals Fund, which supports dancers throughout their careers.
Salaries for artists tend to be irregular and low (see chapter 2.3). This also has long-term consequences, as many creatives do not manage to pay into their pension funds regularly and thus struggle financially in retirement. Over the years, there have been various initiatives to tackle this issue. A-n The Artists Information Company developed a fees framework for visual art so as to enable artists to quantify their work and put them in a better position when negotiating fees. Similarly, the Musicians’ Unionnegotiates minimum pay rates for freelance players with the Association of British Orchestras and also provides advice to music teachers and workshop leaders. Nevertheless, the lack of pay in the arts is a pervasive problem and a comprehensive solution has yet to be found.
In order to compensate authors for the loss incurred through loans of their books (written and audio), the government administers a Public Lending Right scheme (PLR), which remunerates authors (including writers, illustrators, translators and editors) for the number of loans of their books through public libraries (see chapter 4.1.6) .
The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 is the main legislation covering intellectual property rights in the United Kingdom (see chapter 4.1.6).
An Exhibition Payment Right previously sought to ensure that artists get paid if their work is exhibited in public galleries. It was initially implemented in 1979 by the then Arts Council of Great Britain, but later devolved to the Regional Arts Associations and in spite of initial enthusiasm, the scheme was gradually abandoned. However, in 2014, a-n The Artists Information Company started the Paying Rights Advocacy Campaign which again brings attention to the subject. While the work of the campaign has not been reflected on the legislative level yet, it has nevertheless provided artists as well as galleries with valuable tools such as an exhibition payment guide and information on contracts, budgets and negotiation.
The European Directive on droit de suite or Resale Directive came into force in the UK in January 2006 and ensures living artists benefit from a percentage of the resale prices of their works of art (see chapter 4.2.4).
Last update: March, 2020
A large number of scholarships and bursaries are awarded by the respective Arts Councils. The Arts Council of Wales administers grants, bursaries, commissions and further training for artists and arts practitioners in the fields of dance, drama, literature, translation, music, opera, visual arts, photography, video, etc. Arts Council England provides much of this funding through a national funding scheme called Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants, which replaced Grants for the Arts. The Crafts Council provides support for crafts people and the British Film Institute supports filmmakers.
In addition, there are a number of foundations that support arts projects and some of those support individual artists, e.g. thePRS Foundation for New Music assists a wide range of music activity including residencies and commissions for music creators. A number of smaller trusts, especially in the music field, provide financial assistance, primarily to young people under 25, e.g. to purchase, music instruments or to support further training (see also chapter 7.2.1). Due to the amount of awards, scholarships and bursaries, many of them only cater to a specific art form or demographic or to artists and creatives at a particular point in their careers. Arts Council England provides some guidance as to different funding options on its website, but this information cannot be regarded as exhaustive.
Artists at the beginning of their careers are especially in need of funding in order to be able to establish themselves in their chosen field. For this reason, there are a number of scholarshipsand bursaries aimed at young artists and start-ups. NESTA, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, is working to transform the UK's capacity for innovation. It invests in early-stage companies, informs and shapes policy, and delivers practical programmes that inspire others to solve the big challenges of the future. This has included support for individual creators and projects.
When it comes to scholarships for further training, two key initiatives have sought to help train and develop a new generation of leaders for the cultural sector in the UK: the Cultural Leadership Programme and the Clore Leadership Programme. The former was a two-year Treasury funded investment in excellence in leadership across the creative and cultural industries, and the latter, a Clore Duffield Foundation initiative with a fellowship programme and short courses.
The British Council offers different travel bursaries and residencies for artists and cultural workers all over the globe. Furthermore, there is a range of international and European scholarship programmes which accept applications from UK-based artists. Such opportunities can be found in Fund-Finder: Guide to funding opportunities for arts and culture in Europe, beyond Creative Europe.
Last update: March, 2020
Unions in the arts are not directly supported by government or the arts funding agencies. In order to be able to finance their services, unions charge subscription fees from their members and some unions have their own support funds. In spite of the lack of public funding, there are a number of unions and professional organisations that support artists and cultural workers. These include the Artists’ Union England in the field of visual arts, the Musicians’ Union and the Incorporated Society of Musicians in the field of music, the Media and Entertainment Union BECTU, the National Union of Journalists, and the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain. Equity, the union of professional performers and other workers from the entertainment and cultural industries sectors, works in partnership with the Sector Skills Councils and other agencies and charities to provide career, legal, health and welfare benefits for its members as well as advocate for their rights. Sector Skills Councils (SSCs), such as Screen Skills and Creative & Cultural Skills, are licensed by the Secretary of State for Education, in consultation with the relevant Minister in Wales, to tackle the skills and productivity needs of their sector.
However, Arts Council England supports a number of visual artists associations and services. These includeAxis, which provides information about contemporary artists through anonline database; a-n - The Artist's Information Company, which provides information for artists to enable them to develop their practice and employment; InIVA (the Institute of International Visual Arts), which supports the work of artists from other countries whose work is outside the main canon of arts criticism and teaching, and the Contemporary Art Society, which for many years purchased work from contemporary artists and craftspeople to donate to museums. In the field of literature, support has been given to bodies such as the Arvon Foundation for writers and artists' residencies. In the field of music, the Association of British Orchestras, which is the UK’s national body to represent the interest of British orchestras and ensembles, receives funding from Arts Council England.
Last update: March, 2020
A decade of austerity has had a significant impact on funding models in the UK. Government figures reveal that grants from central government form a much smaller proportion of income of cultural institutions than they did 10 years ago. These changes have led to a shift in cultural business models with organisations having to rely more on mixed revenue generation than before.
Although the Charities Aid Foundation states that the amount of money going to charity as a whole rose from GB£ 9.7 billion in 2016 to GB£ 10.3 billion in 2017, the latest year for which data is available, the arts are the least popular charitable cause, receiving just 1% of the total amount given to charitable causes. At a time of economic difficulties when charities and good causes in many sectors are finding fundraising challenging, there is anecdotal evidence that some existing and prospective individual donors may be turning their attention to other areas of need.
An annual survey that assessed the extent of private sector investment in culture was discontinued after Arts and Business (A&B) lost its Arts Council England grant in 2011 and was forced to make about 80% of its staff redundant. A&B was absorbed into the Prince of Wales’s charity, Business in the Community (BITC), but there was insufficient money to continue the survey and the majority of its previous tasks. The final A&B survey for 2011/12 indicated that business support for the arts/culture in the UK was GB£ 113.8 million (broadly the same as the previous year), individuals gave GB£ 372.9 million (an increase of 6.5%) and trusts and foundations GB£ 173.8 million (a 15.8% increase). It also revealed a considerable imbalance between London and the rest of the country, with over 80% going to organisations in the capital. Subsequently, ACE has commissioned from mtm two three- yearly surveys on Private Sector Investment in Culture that cover England.
The first, for 2014/15, was published in 2016 and indicated that business support was GB£ 96 million, individual giving was GB£ 245 million and trusts and foundations provided GB£ 139 million. Some 60% of total private support went to the 50 largest organisations. A further report covering Private Investment in Arts and Culture was published in 2019 and indicated GB£ 545 million came from private sources in 2017/18. Individual giving still represented the largest amount at 43% of the total, while trusts and foundations contributed 38% and business 18%. The visual arts and museums sectors were the biggest beneficiaries representing half the total of private investment, but there were increases to all sectors except literature. Although the same methodology was used, the respondent samples were different and so comparisons need to be treated with caution. Significantly, 91% of the 889 respondents received some form of private investment.
In 2018/19 cultural organisations supported by DCMS attracted almost GB£ 436 million in fund- raising, including trading income and also the value of donated objects to museums and galleries.
Several initiatives were instituted by DCMS in conjunction with Arts Council England and others to help cultural organisations develop new revenue streams in the context of public expenditure cutbacks. These included the GB£ 100 million Catalyst Fund, which offers organisations assistance to diversify their income, develop philanthropic donations and endowments and help them become resilient and sustainable in the longer term. In addition, ACE has funded a number of pilot business support programmes with the same objective (see chapter 2.8)
Due to reductions in local government funding, arts organisations turned increasingly to trustsand foundations for assistance. Many of these have been generous in their support in recent years and some have also begun to provide core funding to arts organisations, whereas in the past funds would have been restricted to projects.
Proceeds from the National Lottery (after allocations for prizes, government tax, commission for retailers of tickets etc. and profits to the operating company) are provided for good causes, which are shared as follows: Health, education, environment and charitable causes (40%); Arts (20%); Heritage (20%); and Sport (20%) across the four UK nations. Since the first Lottery draw in 1994, more than GB£ 40 billion has been raised for over 565,000 good cause projects. Many of the grants have been under GB£ 10,000. In the financial year 2018-19, GB£ 1.6 billion was raised for good causes.
Initially, when the National Lottery was established, funds for the arts could only be spent on capital projects, not least to avoid any temptation future governments might have to use Lottery money as a substitute for government funds. This focus helped to rebuild and refurbish the cultural infrastructure. However, after a few years the nature of arts funding via the Lottery started changing, with government policy directions to allocate more of it to support smaller arts projects and later arts organisations. Today the arts in England and Wales are increasingly supported via Lottery funds. Not only has there been a significant expansion of funds for participatory and community arts and local heritage initiatives, but funds have been made available to artists, arts and cultural organisations and research in the sector. There is no doubt this is having a transformative effect on arts and culture, but at the same time there is concern that it is increasingly being used in place of government funds. Perhaps this has been fortuitous during a period of austerity policies, but it can be problematic given that lottery funding streams are dependent on income and in 2015-16 and 2016-2017 there were falls in Lottery ticket sales.