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Increase diversity or lose funds warns Arts Council England

18 February 2020

Only six per cent of people working in the arts identify as disabled, compared with just over 20% in the wider population, according to a new report from Arts Council England (ACE).

ACE Chairman Sir Nicholas Serota said the report paints “a disappointing picture” of diversity and accused organisations of “treading water”.

ACE has recorded and published diversity data for the past five years. Abid Hussein, ACE’s Diversity Manager said that diversity targets need to be stretched, or recipients of funding would risk losing it.

“The pace of change has been too slow,” he said. “Certain communities are significantly under-represented and we need to change that. We need to be very clear: if organisations are not delivering, they could lose their funding. There has been a lot of development support for organisations to get to grips with the challenges. We are moving to a point where targets are going to be set and if organisations are not delivering or meeting targets there will be implications and repercussions.”

All arts organisations are required to integrate diversity into programming in order to get funding. In 2018 ACE introduced a four-point scale measuring their success, ranging from “not met” to “outstanding”.

DR UK’s Kamran Mallick said: “We welcome the clarity of this year’s report, and the recognition that changes must be made, or consequences will be delivered. A workforce that reflects the society it serves strengthens the economic outcomes for the organisation which employs it. It also sends strong messages to disabled people in society that the doors are opening, and that we will not be second class citizens with limited opportunities.” More here: https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/publication/equality-diversity-and-creative-case-data-report-2018-19