“Dreadful picture” of arts funding in East Midlands

Published: 11 April 2024
Reporter: Steve Orme

Call for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire to get a fair share of funding: David Brownlee

Residents of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire do not receive their fair share of national and local arts funding, according to a new study.

Data Cultural Exchange, a consultancy which helps “to create a thriving cultural sector that is demonstratively reflective and inclusive”, has revealed “concerning findings regarding the historic underinvestment in arts within the D2N2 region” which includes Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

The study reveals that:

  • since the inception of the National Lottery in 1995, D2N2 has received £10 less per capita in arts funding compared with the average for English regions, amounting to over £21 million in lost funding;
  • Arts Council England allocates £11.5 million in revenue funding to 25 organisations in D2N2 annually, equating to only £5.21 per person—significantly lower than the English regional average of £6.14;
  • the 19 local authorities in D2N2 collectively invest £8.3 million annually in the arts, amounting to £3.79 per person—far below the English regional average of £7.14.

David Brownlee, chief executive of Data Culture Change, commented, “on every metric we examined, arts investment in D2N2 was less per person than the English average. This was also almost universally true when London was excluded.

“The region is home to an amazing range of funded and unfunded arts organisations. They could be doing so much more to improve life and opportunities in their communities if the region received an equitable share of national and local government and Lottery arts funding.”

Stephanie Sirr MBE, chair of Nottingham’s Strategic Cultural Partnership and chief executive of Nottingham Playhouse, added, “this timely study highlights a pretty dreadful picture of historic and current funding to support arts activities in D2N2. The future is at risk of worsening further with local cuts to all arts funding.”

With Mayoral elections taking place on 2 May, Data Culture Change is calling on policymakers to “prioritise equitable funding to support the vital role of the arts in enriching communities and transforming lives across the region”.

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