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  • Detail of Quadrille by Crafts Council Maker Lesley Frankland,

Research and Policy Brief January 2020

January Research and Policy brief

A bumper one this month –

Who’s new?

Nicky Morgan, now Baroness Morgan of Cotes, continues as Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. But a Cabinet reshuffle is expected in early February.

Tracy Brabin MP is the new Shadow Secretary of State, taking over from Tom Watson. She is an actress and television writer and has been the MP for Batley and Spen since October 2016, following the murder of Jo Cox. 

Inequalities and changes

Spare Tyre has looked at art and dementia in the UK South Asian diaspora. Their report concludes that funders and arts organisations need to develop more culturally appropriate approaches.

The Romani Cultural and Arts Company’s Gypsy Maker Report 2019 outlines how The Gypsy Maker project is designed to challenge and overcome widespread ignorance and prejudice relating to Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people living in Wales by raising their profile. The report calls for further showcasing opportunities.

Milan-based online art marketplace Kooness has found that paintings and sculptures by female artists were three times as likely to be undervalued as those by male artists in a recent survey. More than half of participants (51.6%) undervalued art by women, compared to 15.4% who undervalued men’s work. People were aware of the artists’ genders when making the valuations.

Goldsmiths lecturer Rose Sinclair discusses her research on the textile practices of Black British women in episode 2 of Maker Stories. Dr Karen Patel's podcast series features inspirational craftswomen from BAME backgrounds. It’s one element of Craft Expertise, her collaborative research with the Crafts Council exploring diversity and expertise development in the contemporary craft sector.

Older and wiser? Creative Ageing in the UK 2010-19 from King’s College London reviews the growth of creative programmes for older people and what needs to be done to normalise the role of the arts in their lives.

Sustaining Great Art and Culture 2018/19 is the first environmental report to cover Arts Council England 2018-22 National Portfolio. It shows that a new sustainable creative ecology is emerging, but that emissions levels have hardly changed since the previous year.

New workforce analyses

Creative PEC (Policy and Evidence Centre) and Work Foundation have looked at the most pressing skills and diversity challenges in the creative sector. They anticipate a bright outlook for the creative industries but foresee talent and diversity challenges on the nature of work and working practices and how we value and develop creativity and creative skills.

Demos’ report, The Liquidity Report, explores the lack of financial security in the liquid workforce which includes self-employed workers. They face greater barriers to financial inclusion and are almost twice as likely (28%) to be turned down for financial products than traditional employees (15%). The report calls for a minimum wage, better financial services, a more inclusive welfare system, measures to boost pensions take-up and more support with financial management. These recommendations echo Crafts Council calls to improve financial advice and services for micro-businesses, typical of the craft sector.

An Education and Employers survey reveals a disconnect between young people’s career aspirations and jobs in the UK, whether current vacancies or projected demand. Five times as many young people want to work in art, culture, entertainment and sport as there are jobs available. Over half of those respondents do not report an interest in any other sector.

Baroness Bull asked the Government about incentivising research and development investment in the creative industries. She highlighted the current focus on technology and science and how the same tax reliefs aren’t available to the wider sector. Lord Duncan agreed on behalf of the Government to discuss further how to define R&D for the creative industries.

Also - look out for a DCMS consultation soon on measuring the contribution of craft and the creative industries to the economy. Two consultations will look at which methods might be available to calculate economic measures and the statistical definitions that can be used. Note that there’s no intention to change the definition of craft itself in this exercise. The Crafts Council has been asked to participate in a pilot and will be responding to the consultations. If you’d like us to represent your views please contact research@craftscouncil.org.uk.

New policy and strategy approaches for arts and culture

Arts Council England have published their new ten-year strategy, Let’s Create. There are no direct references to craft, but the strategy does recognise in the Case for Change ‘that the opportunities for children and young people to experience creativity and culture inside and outside school are not equal across the country.’

And in Scotland the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee has called for urgent changes to arts policy and funding following an inquiry into the sustainability of current funding models.

Good news

An increasing proportion of GPs believes that taking part in arts activities can prevent ill health and save the NHS money.  Over 70% of GPs surveyed said that public engagement with the arts could make a significant contribution to prevention, according to an Aesop survey.