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Policy Brief April 2017

In April we look at -

Policy priorities

1. Industrial Strategy Green Paper

The Crafts Council’s response to the Industrial Strategy Green Paper highlights how support should meet the specific needs of microbusinesses, the economic importance of creative Research & Development for cross sector collaboration (evidenced in our research report Innovation through Craft: opportunities for growth) and the need to address the risk of market failure in craft and creative training and skills development (evidenced in Studying Craft 16).

We have been working closely with the Creative Industries Council, echoing their response and that of the Creative Industries Federation (the Crafts Council is a member), including the recommended elements of the ‘sector deal’ to be negotiated with Government for the creative industries:

  • High-growth creative clusters;
  • Boosting exports and inward investment
  • Catalysing investment; and
  • Securing the talent pipeline.

Successful applications to the new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund include projects about robotics and prosthetics. Whilst these projects do not focus on craft skills, they are interesting in the context of the Crafts Council’s Parallel Practices programme with makers and scientists that included both of these areas.

2. Arts Council priorities for Brexit

The Arts Council has published its plans to help steer the arts and museum sector through Brexit. Priorities include commissioning bespoke research, ensuring international talent is able to work in the UK, and developing proposals both for investment in cultural exchange and to maintain tariff free access to the EU market for cultural exports.

Creativity and Education

The Durham Commission on Creativity and Education, a collaboration between Arts Council England (ACE) and Durham University, is to investigate what happens when children experience arts and culture, and how this helps them develop and thrive. A report in spring 2019 will make recommendations on education policy and industrial strategy in England. ACE will also be working with De Montfort University to develop a pilot scheme to explore the potential of the 25 Year Creative Talent Plan.

In preparation for the 2017 General Election, The National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD) is consulting on an update of its 2014 Manifesto for Art, Craft and Design Education.

Access to arts and culture

The European Alliance for Culture and the Arts has written an open letter to the G7 cultural ministers, calling on them, “to include culture in the newly upcoming fundamental discussion on Europe’s future and to appeal to other member states and the EU institutions to put culture at the heart of European policies. Culture is the basis and a crucial condition for the development of democratic societies. It is a lever for a sustainable Europe and a key aspect of its relations with third countries.”

The House of Lords debated access to arts, with crossbench peer the Earl of Clancarty calling for local authorities to be required to support arts and culture. The debate drew on the Museums Association findings that between 2010 and 2016 local authority spending on museums and galleries declined by 31% in real terms.

Culture Minister Matthew Hancock has launched Culture is Digital which promotes the role of digital technology in embracing new forms of distribution and creating new forms of experience.

University of the Arts London have launched Creative Unions, calling on arts and cultural leaders to show the world they believe in creativity beyond borders.

Who is using Fablabs?

Paris-based Makery has surveyed fabrication spaces to understand the profile of the typical fablabber, who is a young (27-year-old) man, with a university degree and a background in business or design. He identifies as a volunteer maker, working either for free or for a small fee under €1000per month. Makery’s map lists more than 850 labs in 2017, compared with 400 at the end of 2014.

Tax relief for exhibitions

UK Museums and galleries can already apply for a tax relief for the cost of new permanent, temporary or touring exhibitions, under measures in the Finance Bill 2017 even though this will not pass into law until after the election. Arts Council England has published some FAQs.