How to Join - click for details

Sign up for our regular website bulletin

Click here and sign up to receive our regular arts news digest by email

Look here for posts about…

ArtsDevUK Partners

Arts Development UK Insurance Scheme - click for details

  a-n The Artists Information Company - click for details

a-n The Artists Information Company

Voluntary Arts - click for details

Closure of Arts Development UK

Dear Colleague,

As Chair of Arts Development UK I am writing to share with you a very difficult discussion that the trustees needed to have about the future of the organisation. Arts Development UK has a long and successful history stretching back over 35 years, and has done much to raise the profile of arts in local communities and to develop our sector. However, as you are aware, the landscape for Arts Development UK has become more and more challenging over the past few years. Significant numbers of local authorities have lost their arts development services and officers, or have had to operate with greatly reduced budgets, and our ability to raise income through subscriptions has reduced year on year.

Careful financial management has meant that the charity has been able to operate within those reducing means, however over the past year this has been at the expense of the conference, seminar programme, and administrative support. The over-riding principle for trustees has always been the consideration of how to meet the objectives of the charity: to provide effective support to you, our membership. The trustees therefore concluded that Arts Development UK has reached the point where it could not provide that effective support and remain sustainable on its current income level. This has been despite all of our best efforts to increase membership, including from the H.E. sector and bidding for grants. This was a difficult decision to reach, however all the trustees were in agreement that the charity could not carry on as it had been.

At the last Trustees meeting, and after careful consideration with our Regional Coordinators, Trustees agreed that it was not appropriate to charge subscriptions for another year, and that the only possible next step would be to carry out a managed closure of Arts Development UK. To this effect, a resolution to close Arts Development will be put to the membership at the AGM on 22nd March 2018, taking place at Toynbee Studios in London. All members are welcome to attend.

Alongside the winding up process, our first priority has been to make sure that all our members were able to join an appropriate alternative organisation, able to provide the support they require. We know that members particularly value the regular communication provided by the e-zine, the CPD opportunities of the conference and seminar programme, and the knowledge that we are all part of a national voice. Therefore, we have opened up strategic discussions with other carefully identified organisations, including the Chief Culture and Leisure Officers Association (cCLOA) and the Artsworks Alliance to support our members in England and in Wales to identify new ways to provide these from April 2018 onwards, and Pete Bryan, our administrator, will be sending out more information about these and other professional membership organisations that some of our members may wish to join in the coming days.

Above all else, I hope that you can find a new home with either one of the organisations we have been talking to, or with another, so that you are able to contribute to and benefit from the networks, professional development, and national advocacy that can be only be achieved through collaboration.

If you have any questions or concerns please do get in touch. Contact details for myself, the trustees, and our national administrator are listed below.


Jane Wilson

Chair of ADUK



Jane Wilson:

Tony Witton (Vice-chair);

Catherine Davis (Secretary);

Catherine Rogers (Treasurer);

Jayne Knight:

Christine Willison;

Lucia Masundire:

Diana Pasek-Atkinson;

Symon Easton;

Strinda Davies;

Caroline O’Neill; caroline.a.o’


Pete Bryan: Administrator & Company Secretary;


ADUK Local Authority Arts Investment Survey 2017

In summer 2017 ADUK undertook its 14th annual local authority spending survey to assess the level of arts spending forecast for 2017/18. For the last 5 years the survey has been in association with Arts Council of Wales, demonstrating ADUK’s growing relationship with local authorities in Wales as well as England, delivering our ambition to broaden the membership and our activities in both countries. The survey has enabled a comparison of past trends and focussed on relevant contemporary concerns, such as financial issues, priority targets, partnerships and the relationship with other bodies including the Arts Councils in England and Wales. Responses to the 2017 survey reveal a challenging picture of the arts in local communities.

The survey shows continued and significant changes to budgets in local authority arts spending.  As of October 2017 and out of 353 authorities in England and 22 in Wales, 143 local authorities have no dedicated arts officer or direct arts service.  This represents 38% of all authorities in England and Wales. The remaining 62% (232 out of 375) have services that are vulnerable to cuts and, like the rest of the local authority cultural sector; the majority are operating in reduced financial circumstances.

In a joint statement from the Chair of ADUK, Jane Wilson, and the Chair of ADUK’s Research and advocacy Working Party, Tony Witton, Jane and Tony commented: “The 2017 survey shows a very similar picture to last year: no dramatic change, but rather a continuation of the service reductions, budget cuts and uncertainty over the future that have characterised all our recent surveys. The gradual nature of the reductions makes it harder to see the overall level of change, but by looking back over time we can see the over two thirds reduction in local authority posts, and the very uneven distribution of those remaining officers across the country, with nearly 40% of local authorities no longer having a dedicated arts officer or direct arts service. 

Where services do remain, the pressure to deliver more with significantly reduced resources is emerging in the survey responses. Those localities with continuing services are seeing further growth in partnership working, and in the funding of arts activity designed to address wider social and economic issues: the pressure on local authority funding where it is still in place means that space for support for the new or emerging is increasingly squeezed.  We are operating in a very different landscape, one which prompts serious questions about the future ecology for arts and culture, both within and beyond local authority services.”

A full report with appendices is available here: ADUK_LA_Arts_Investment_Report_2017

The 2017 survey shows what is important to arts services currently provided by local authorities: Continue reading ADUK Local Authority Arts Investment Survey 2017

Invitation to attend AGM of Arts Development UK: 22/3/18

You are invited to attend the AGM of Arts Development UK, which this year is taking place on Thursday 22nd March 2018 at 13.00 in The Fire Room, Toynbee Studios, 28 Commercial St, London E1 6AB (please visit to get a map and route to the venue). The nearest tube station is Aldgate East (District/Hammersmith & City lines) approx. 4 minutes’ walk. The AGM will also include a networking forum considering regional development.

The meeting is scheduled from 13.00 to 15.00.

Papers for the meeting include:

Agenda Papers, Minutes and Resolutions: AGM agenda & nominations letter 22-3-18

Annual report for 2016/17: Signed & approved statement of accounts 2016-17 10-10-17

The agenda also includes a resolution to formally wind up Arts Development UK, which will be submitted to the membership by the Board of Trustees and is included in the papers below. If you are attending I would be grateful if you could bring these papers to the meeting and I look forward to seeing you in London.

Yours Sincerely

Pete Bryan Administrator and Company Secretary of ADUK

ADUK Cymru Meeting

New Date: 30th Nov at Park & Dare Theatre, Treorchy, starting at 12.00 noon

The next ADUK Cymru meeting is taking place on 30th November, starting at 12.00 at the Park & Dare Theatre in Treorchy. We invite all members to attend and we hope that you will be able to make the new date and venue and we look forward to seeing you at the Park & Dare Theatre in November.

Nominations are open for the Hearts for the Arts Awards 2018

We are delighted to report that ADUK is partnering with the National Campaign for the Arts and UK Theatres in the 2017/18 Hearts for the Arts Awards programme. Other partners include the LGA, What Next? and Culture Counts.

The National Campaign for the Arts’ (NCA) Hearts For The Arts Awards celebrate the work of Councils, Councillors and Council Officers who have overcome financial challenges to ensure the arts stay at the centre of community life. The 2018 Hearts For The Arts Awards will be delivered by the NCA and UK Theatre, in partnership with Culture Counts, the Local Government Association (LGA), Arts Development UK (ADUK) and What Next?.

Nominations are welcome from members of the public and from Local Authorities, in the following categories:

  • Best Local Authority Arts Initiative
  • Best Local Authority Arts Champion- Councillor
  • Best Local Authority Arts Champion- Officer
  • Local Authority Arts Project encouraging community cohesion

Nominations can be made online at and winners will be presented with their Awards at their Town Hall (or equivalent) by a renowned artist. Last year’s presenters included Samuel West, Howard Goodall CBE and Olivia Colman.

Samuel West, Chair of the NCA, said: “Councils across the country live under real financial pressure, yet the success of these Awards in 2017 shows that arts programmes that unite and delight us can still be driven forward by passionate, committed people. In celebrating them and the essential work of some councils, we want to inspire others to keep the arts at the heart of their communities. Few things can bring us together like the arts can, and we need that now more than ever.”

The 2017 winners were: Nottingham City Council for Nottingham Performing Arts Library Service (NPALS), for Best Local Authority Arts Initiative; Councillor Wendy Simon of Liverpool City Council for Best Local Authority Arts Champion – Councillor; Pokuaa Osei of London Borough of Haringey and Rachel Wood of Oldham Council for Best Local Authority Arts Champion – Officer; London Borough of Lewisham for Meet Me at The Albany, for Best Local Authority Arts Project Encouraging Community Cohesion.

For more information visit

ADUK Regional Meeting Survey

As part of ADUK’s Development Strategy, we are appraising our regional meetings programme. We have developed a short 2/3 minute questionnaire available Survey Monkey and would be grateful if you could give us an honest appraisal of current regional meetings and how we can improve and further develop them to meet our member’s needs. The survey is available at:  and many thanks for your time and support in taking part.

More for Less

Picture of Jane Wilson, Chair of AD:uk

Jane Wilson, Chair of AD:uk

Our Chair, Jane Wilson has written a major feature this week in Arts Professional stating that a voice within the local authority, able to talk from a position of knowledge about the role of arts and culture, is crucial.

As more and more local authorities reduce funding and staffing for the arts, how can we ensure they have the capacity to fulfil their cultural responsibilities? Local authorities have changed and are still changing, and as part of that change we have seen a significant reduction in the numbers of specialist arts staff. Some authorities still employ arts officers but many have no arts or cultural specialists at all. Figures from last year’s Arts Development UK survey of local authorities in England and Wales showed that 37% had no dedicated arts officer or directly delivered arts service. In parallel with staffing levels, discretionary budgets are also reducing and local authority grant funding for the arts has declined considerably. This needs to be placed within the wider context for local authorities, which has seen a similar impact on a whole range of services. In other words, it’s not personal.

Transformation is top of the agenda for local authorities, and arts officers need to demonstrate how their work can support and even lead transformational change. We already have some of the skills and knowledge to do this, and although not always obvious from the outside, arts officers have become adept at making operational connections, picking up opportunities for the arts to deliver on wider priorities and building the partnerships to deliver that. This flexible, responsive and sometimes opportunistic way of working is very effective and, where arts officers continue to operate, it is helping to build and sustain the role of the arts in local authority work, even when more traditional (and arguably more paternalistic) funding relationships are tailing off.

Read the complete article here.

Jane Wilson is Chair of ADUK and Culture & Community Manager at Cambridge City Council.

Some of our other members have written case studies to support the argument and you can read more here:

Source: Arts Professional

City in the Making: A week in Rotterdam

Catherine Rogers. ADUK and Chair of The Generator has just spent a week in Rotterdam. Catherine writes:

“As a Director of The Generator Loughborough CIC, I recently travelled to Rotterdam to immerse myself for a week in the amazing project, City in the Making. I am a Director of an emerging space in the town centre of Loughborough for creative business and community arts and was hoping to learn from the directors of the Stad in de Maak about their journey so far in taking over 6 empty properties in Rotterdam and redeveloping them for the community of artists and makers who live there.

 This was part of a Peer to Peer exchange programme (P2P) and is an activity of the European Creative Hubs Network, which is co-funded by the European Commission, led by the British Council. It is set-up to help creative hubs staff (leaders, founders, managers, projects or platform leads, community managers, etc.) benefit from a work experience in a different creative hub, with the aim of sharing knowledge or setting up collaborative projects. By supporting the mobility of creative hub leaders to other hubs, it will enable learning and exchange of best practices, and foster international collaboration and co-creation. Here is the blog about my time there:”

ADUK Local Authority Arts Investment Survey 2017

Our annual local authority arts investment and partnership survey for 2017 is now live and we urge you all to take part. The survey is open to both member and non-member authorities and will allow us to review vital information about the health of the arts sector. It is being undertaken in association with Arts Council of Wales and we have both English and Welsh versions of the questionnaire on Survey Monkey. As in last year’s survey, we have separate questionnaires for authorities in England and in Wales, and have also a third questionnaire for outsourced services (for culture trusts, CICs and other organisations) provided by organisations operating art services to either a single local authority area or multiple catchment areas (but not for single venues). We will then collate and correlate responses into an over-arching report. The survey is open to both member and non-member authorities.

In this critical time for local government, with budget reductions affecting most services, it is imperative that we maintain our intelligence on the financial situation for arts services. We have been collecting financial data the last 11 years, and 2017/18 sees our members face major challenges that we need to document and record. We also want to measure the impact of arts investment and the effect that this has for local communities. We need your help to document the current status of each authority as we progress into the new financial year. Continue reading ADUK Local Authority Arts Investment Survey 2017

Launch of Inquiry into the Civic Role of Arts Organisations report

The report into the first phase of the Inquiry into the Civic Role of Arts Organisations is now online. Rethinking Relationships is a report from the first phase of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation’s Inquiry into the Civic Role of Arts Organisations. The report, which was produced following extensive research and collaboration with those working within the arts sector, including Arts Development UK, highlights the extent and diversity of the civic role arts organisations are currently playing in the UK and further afield, and the positive impact they are having in communities.

These impacts are brought to life through a series of powerful and compelling examples of the difference arts organisations are making, such as musical performances in the Calais refugee camp that brought people together and lively cabaret shows for retired people with little access to affordable culture. Read the full report here