Arts Council England makes £7.1m available to boost diversity

New online resources for potential leaders in the library sector is among projects being funded.

Joe Lepper | 30th Aug 19
diversity library

Arts Council England has made £7.1 in grants available to encourage diversity and leadership skills among those working in arts and culture organisations, including charities.

Its Transforming Leadership Fund includes a specific grant to encourage diversity among senior library appointments. A total of £342,000 has been handed to Libraries Connected to provide a programme of support to female and minority ethnic library staff to help them make the move into senior management.

> See also: Digital support network for arts organisations launched

This ‘Leading Libraries’ project includes providing a set of online resources on leadership for libraries and recruiting emerging leaders for specialist leadership training.

Another to receive funding is a project, called ‘Lead’, involving Access All Areas, Disability Arts Online and Manchester Met University. This aims to develop a bespoke career programme in the culture sector for those with disabilities and has been handed £283,000.

A total of £7.1m has been awarded through the fund to 18 organisations across museums, libraries and the arts.


Encouraging diversity

“The Transforming Leadership Fund was launched to address specific issues around diversity across leadership, opportunities for emerging and early career leaders, and the development of executive skills at senior levels,” said an Arts Council England statement.

“All the successful projects will carefully consider the diversity of their participants, with a number specifically addressing the underrepresentation of leaders from certain groups.

“Many programmes will deliver activity across the country, with 70 per cent of all participants based outside the capital; others focus on developing leadership in specific places, recognising that appropriately skilled arts and cultural leaders can be instrumental in affecting economic and social change in the places they live and work.”

Mags Patten, Executive lead for Workforce Development, Arts Council England, added: “Our evidence tells us we have a generation of cultural leaders with great ambition, but also great pressures bearing down on them.  This fund is an investment in those leaders – offering them development opportunities that will give them time and space to think.

> See also: The best digital leadership resources for non-profits in the UK

“By supporting a diverse range of emerging and established leaders we think we are more likely to achieve the vision laid out in our proposed ten-year strategy, of a country where everyone’s creativity is valued and high quality cultural experiences are available to each of us.”

In addition, Arts Council England has commissioned external evaluation of the National Lottery funded programme for the wider arts and culture sector to learn from.

Earlier this month the online #CharitySoWhite campaign raised shocking stories of racial inequality in the charity sector.

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