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How to demonstrate the value of public investment in arts and culture


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Supporting our role as an advocate for the value of arts and culture, Arts Council England has refreshed its advocacy toolkit for the sector. The new toolkit contains updated advice and guidance on how to raise awareness and demonstrate the value of public investment in arts and culture. This presentation can be shared and downloaded for use in your own presentations and meetings.

For more information visit

Inside you will find:
• a series key facts and statistics infographics on: investment; economy, employment and audience which can be shared in social media
• advice on the government agenda and how to make our case effectively to local and national politicians to align with their broader objectives
• advice on relationship building with MPs and media
• advice on how organisations can create your own ‘public value’ web pages

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  • I really like a lot your demonstration of the value of arts and culture! Unfortunately in France the bigger part of cultural workers think that the immaterial value of culture( social, educational..) is the one and only the one you can tell about...May I have to go to work in England to be happy? :-) Evelyne (
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How to demonstrate the value of public investment in arts and culture

  1. 1. How to demonstrate the benefitsof public investmentin arts and toolkit
  2. 2. Tree Of Light in Oxford, delivered by Thames Arts. Photo: Nick Serpell Rand
  3. 3. Why invest in arts and culture?This presentation is designed to help your organisation demonstratethe benefits of public investment in arts and culture.You can use the information on these pages to:• contact your MP to explain why it’s essential to invest inarts and culture, and how this applies to your organisation• tell your stakeholders and social networking followers why weneed to invest in arts and culture and encourage them to makethe case to their MPs and local councilors.• update your website with content on the benefits of investing inarts and culture.• include key messages on investing in arts and culture on yourpress releases and in any media activityBattle for the Winds - the final battle.Photo: Kevin Clifford
  4. 4. Our story:why arts and culture are good valueYou can use and adapt these messages at every opportunity:• Britain’s cultural sector has boomed after sustained governmentinvestment• together, we have created world-class work, landmarkinstitutions and quality education programmes• cultural events bring communities together and make our livesricher• the cultural sector creates economic growth and jobs: it is oneof the fastest-growing in the economy• continued public funding is vital to the whole sector, givingconfidence to sponsors and private investors• arts and culture are relatively cheap to support, and bring bigreturns - the cost to each person in England is just 14p perweek – less than 0.05 per cent of government spendingFire Garden at Stonehenge, CompagnieCarabosse. Photo: Clint Randall
  5. 5. 5 simple thingsorganisations can doWe all have a role in demonstrating the value of investment in artsand culture, here are some practical things you can do to help:• create a landing page on your website using the ‘why arts andculture are good value’ bullets and link• put together some facts, figures and quotes to show the impactof your work - Economic impact assessments can also beuploaded to our blog• tell your social networks about the value of public investment inarts and culture and encourage them to share your messages -– you can also share our key facts and stats infographics• encourage your stakeholders to make the case for publicinvestment to local and national politicians• ensure your work is branded with the Arts Council Englandlogo, so everybody knows public money has contributedStockhausen’s Mittwoch aus Licht/Wednesdayfrom Light by Birmingham Opera Company.Photo: Helen Maybanks
  6. 6. 5 simple thingsartists can do• if you are working with arts organisations, find out if there is anyplanned advocacy activity that you could support• identify opportunities in your own promotional activity to talkabout how public investment in arts and culture shaped yourown artistic career• write to or email your MP to tell them why public investment inarts and culture is so important and how it has benefited youand your local community• use your professional and social networks to tell youraudience why arts and culture are good value using ourdemonstrating the value bullets• if you have a website, include link through to the Arts Council’spublic-facing landing page and Death of Marina Abramovic,Manchester International Festival 2011.Credit Lucie Jansch
  7. 7. Create a public value webpageDisplay information about public investment inarts and culture on your website• direct your visitors, supporters and socialmedia followers to the page to help themunderstand why public investment in arts andculture delivers good value• include the line: ’Public funding for the artsand culture costs each person in Englandjust 14p per week - to find out more• explain how your work contributes towards tobuilding communities, local economy,showcasing the best of Britain, boostingtourism, supporting education and creatingemploymentGood example: Royal Shakespeare Company website1 / 2
  8. 8. Create a public value webpage• demonstrate how your work contributes tosupporting children and young people• give examples of key artistic successes,audience figures etc.• include quotes from visitors, teachers andlocal business leaders• be positive - celebrate what you are able toachieve with public funding• display an Arts Council England logo, whichlinks to our public-facing landing / 2Good example: Ironbridge website
  9. 9. How to contact your local MP• visit to find out who your local MP is.It is best to contact the MP via their constituency office (ratherthan Westminster). Find the MP’s personal websiteto get their constituency contact details.• alternatively you can send a message• research your MP’s interests; for example memberships ofSelect Committees and All Party Parliamentary groups to helptailor your approach• make your approach relevant to the MP’s constituency – if youhave a city or area-wide remit then it might be more appropriateto ask a person who lives in the MPs constituency to contactthem firstThe Night Pirates by Theatre Hullabaloo.Photo: Mark Savage
  10. 10. Developing therelationship with your MP• invite your local MP to see your organisation’s work and thenregularly invite them to opening nights, launches and events• if your invitation is accepted, suggest that you set up a photocall with the local media• provide regular updates on what your organisation is doing, forexample through press releases and your social networkingchannels – remember to include key facts, figures and quotesto show the impact of your work• some MPs write a column for their local newspaper and may beprepared to feature your organisation and a story about artsfunding if approached• encourage people who have benefited from your work to writeto their MP expressing support for the work you doBertie Carvel as Miss Trunchbull in Matilda TheMusical. Photo by Manuel Harlan.Copyright: RSC
  11. 11. Working with the mediaGetting a relevant story into the media can help tocommunicate messages about arts funding to MPs,local authorities and other stakeholders.• include a boilerplate statement in your press releases thatshows the positive outcomes of public investment• our area communications teams may be able to provide youwith an Arts Council England quote for your press release• positioning leaders or artists from your organisation asspokespeople strengthens your message regionally andnationally; a good spokesperson helps to get your storyinto the news• volunteer your spokespeople for discussion shows on regionalradio stations1 / 2Creating the Spectacle! by Sue Austin.Photo: Norman Lomax. Copyright:Freewheeling
  12. 12. Working with the media• some MPs write a column for their local newspaper and may beprepared to feature your organisation and a story about artsfunding• working with other arts organisations could strengthen yourmessage and make the story more newsworthy• letters from audience members, friends and volunteers cankeep your story in the news and show newspaper editors wherereaders’ interests lie• a good photo or filming opportunity helps to getcoverage for your story2 / 2School children visit YSPs Jaume Plensaexhibition. Photo Hannah Webster
  13. 13. Government agendaIt is important to understand how arts and culture promote thebroader objectives of local and national politicians:• bringing communities together• driving economic growth• showcasing the best of Britain on the international stage andboosting tourism• supporting education• Incubating talent for the creative industries• creating employmentCan you demonstrate how your organisation hascontributed towards these?Nick Hornby and children from St MonicasPrimary School at the opening of the Ministryof Stories, November 2010.Photo: Miriam Douglas
  14. 14. Circa and Fagiolinis How Like An Angel. Photo: Clint Randall
  15. 15. Where next?For more information on how toadvocate for public investment in arts and culture