By Leah Conway
Last year Arts Council England released a report on the contribution of the arts and culture industry to the UK economy.
It revealed that the arts and culture industries contribute £10.8 Billion a year to the UK economy.
However, COVID-19 resulted in a halt in this contribution. The arts and culture industry has been one of the hardest hit by the ongoing pandemic.
While other sectors were able to adapt to work from home and others, such as hospitality, were able to reopen under social distancing guidelines, the arts and culture sectors could not so easily adapt.
Research by Oxford Economics, commissioned by the Creative Industries Federation, predicted that there would be a 74 Billion drop in revenue for creative industries and a loss of around one in five creative jobs.
What Have the Government Done to Help the Arts and Culture Industry?
The government received backlash and criticism over their reskilling advert.
Rethink. Reskill. Reboot.
Many have seen this insensitive advertising as summarising the government’s attitudes to those dedicated to the arts and culture. The advert received much criticism and has been mocked across social media.
Government figures from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has been trying to distance themselves from the advert.
In addition, Boris Johnson’s spokesperson declined to say who approved the advert.
The government has since removed the advert campaign.
However, the advert was released on the same day that the government was trying to win over sectors of the arts and culture with the Culture Recovery Fund.
Culture Recovery Fund
On a more positive note, the government have established a ‘Culture Recovery Fun.’
The government have put £1.57 billion into the fund with the slogan ‘Here for Culture.’
The fund is intended to help the arts and culture sectors such as performing arts, heritage sites, music venues and museums among more, recover from the impact of coronavirus.
So far, £257 million has been granted to 1385 arts and cultural organisations.
Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden said: “The government is here for culture and we have worked around the clock to get this record investment out to the frontline.
“It will allow our wonderful theatres, museums, music venues and cultural organisations to survive this crisis and start putting on performances again – protecting jobs and creating new work for freelancers.
“This is just the start – with hundreds of millions pounds more on the way for cultural organisations of all sizes that still need our help.”
However, while this grant will help many organisations, there are still those that have and will miss out, and this is not a problem solved that can now be neglected.
What is Happening Locally?
A positive local story is that the Lawrence Batley Theatre has been awarded a grant from the Culture Recovery Fund.
The grant will help the theatre stay financially viable until next year.
The theatre is extremely thankful and stated: “We are acutely aware that there are many thousands of incredible, highly-skilled, viable freelance artists and practitioners who continue to be overlooked and under-supported; we promise you we’ll continue to do our bit to work with as many of you as we can in the coming months.”
The Lawrence Batley Theatre has reopened at a reduced capacity and is taking steps to ensure the safety of their customers, start and artists.
You can support the theatre by attending their events and performances or even going to ‘The Courtyard Café-Bar while adhering to government guidelines.
To find out more about the Culture Recovery Fund Click here.