The House of Lords discuss the long-term future of the Arts and Cultural Sector

First published on Wed, July 11, 2012.

Peers in the House of Lords met on Monday 9th June to discuss the long-term future of the arts and cultural industries.

In light of recent and on-going cuts faced by the sector, several detractors, including the Conservative Peer Andrew Lloyd Webber, outlined a number of key criticisms of the Coalition Government’s arts and culture strategy.

Financial support and philanthropy

In a debate initiated by the Earl of Clancarty, Peers voiced concern that although the funding of individual artists, organisations and projects inevitably carries risk, the Government has shown a considerable lack of foresight in reducing financial support to an industry which makes large-scale social, cultural and economic contributions to society. Consensus opinion is that the arts cannot rely on philanthropic giving, which tends to be directed towards the largest, most prestigious organisations, inevitably leading to a metropolitan bias.


Concerns were also raised that Britain is failing to capitalise on the fact that that culture is one of the economy’s most profitable exports. Government, it was argued, direct too much attention towards big business and not enough towards artists and those working in the cultural sectors.


Finally, there was some discussion regarding the place of creative subjects in the school curriculum. Culture has not been included as a mandatory, sixth strand of the English Baccalaureate, nor has design been included as a STEM subject. Again, Peers noted the difference between the Education Secretary’s agenda, which pays little attention to creativity, art and design, music and the performing arts, and the skills demanded by the cultural leaders and innovators who will be contributing to the future economic prosperity of the UK.

The full debate can be found here.

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