Arts Council England

Evidence review of social impact of libraries

A new review of the social and economic impact of libraries and literacy points to the health benefits of reading, literacy and library use. The Arts Council evidence review assesses the social, economic and educational benefits of libraries to society. While noting the patchy nature of research into libraries and health, the research demonstrates clear links between reading programmes, literature interventions designed to promote healthy lifestyles and the cost benefits of partnerships between healthcare providers and libraries.

ACE Chair on the value of culture

Arts Council Chairman, Peter Bazalgette, has published an article highlighting the role the arts play in society and focusing on the health, wellbeing and educational benefits of culture. The article for The Observer describes the “inherent, life-enhancing value” of culture… “Although the arts do not pretend to be a frontline health service, we're coming to understand how they can function very effectively in a complementary role.”

Arts Council stakeholder research

Arts Council England has published research into its activity designed to demonstrate the ways in which it engages with the public and responds to Government. The research suggests that while the Arts Council is still bureaucratic it is improving the ways in which it makes the case for the arts and responds to artists and practitioners.

w: http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/media/uploads/pdf/Stakeholder_focus_research_April_2014.pdf

Research enquiry

The National Alliance for Arts Health and Wellbeing and the UK Arts and Health Research Network have responded to the Arts Council Cultural Value report - http://www.lahf.org.uk/arts-council-review-cultural-value, by calling for additional evidence which supports the impact of the arts on health. Both organisations have been in contact with the Arts Council about the limited scope of the published report.

Arts Council review of cultural value

Arts Council England has published an examination of the impact arts and culture has on the economy, health, wellbeing, society and education. The review highlights existing research into the benefits of the arts on health and education while also highlighting areas for further research. As a result of the review, the Arts Council has committed to establishing substantial research grants to cover those areas where there is a lack of data – for example, longitudinal studies of the health benefits of participation in arts and culture.

Priority areas for cultural commissioning

As part of its Arts Council funded cultural commissioning programme, NCVO has completed the first stage of its research into cultural commissioning in England. It intends to focus on three areas of cultural commissioning activity: older people; mental health; and place-based commissioning (work to foster community cohesion, build stronger neighbourhoods and secure public health outcomes). Over the coming months, NCVO will detail how it will provide a programme of activity to increase the capacity for cultural commissioning in these areas.

Arts and older people funds

Arts Council England and the Baring Foundation have unveiled the four successful applicants to their jointly funded Arts and older people programme. The successful applicants are:

Arts for Health Cornwall & Scilly Isles, The Courtyard in Herefordshire, West Yorkshire’s We Do and Abbeyfield in Nottingham. Each organisation will receive a share of the £1m fund to deliver targeted activities aimed at reaching some of the 400,000 older people living in residential care.

Arts Council application process opens

Arts Council England has set out its investment plans for 2015-18 and opened a number of funding streams. Applications are now invited to join the Arts Council national portfolio as well as applications to revised strategic funds and Grants for the Arts.

Parliamentary discussions about wellbeing and culture

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Wellbeing met last week to discuss the role of culture in wellbeing. Invited speakers included Alan Davey from Arts Council England and Gareth Maeer from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Group is compiling a report about the impact of Government activity on wellbeing which will be published in 2014.

Arts Council portfolio plans

Arts Council England has published details of the process whereby it will refresh its portfolio of national organisations. Applications to become National Portfolio Organisations or Major Partner Museums will open in January, applications will need to be submitted by March with announcements in July. In January, ACE will also announce a full range of strategic and other funding schemes. Full details of the application process, how decisions will be made and other funding streams are on the ACE website.

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