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Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre contributes to 'Cultural Cities'

Future Cities Forum is delighted that Bernard Hay, Head of Policy at the Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre (Creative PEC), will join our 'Cultural Cities' forum this week at the BFI.

Previously Bernard was Head of Research and Practice at the Design Council, where he oversaw a portfolio of research and policy development focused on maximising the social, environmental and economic value of design to the UK. Prior to this he worked at the Design Museum in London, where he helped to establish the AHRC-funded Future Observatory programme, and set-up the museum’s adult education and academic partnerships programme.

Outside of the Creative PEC, Bernard is a Trustee for Engage, the national charity for visual arts participation. He is also an Associate Lecturer in social innovation at University of the Arts London, and a Fellow of the RSA.

Creative PEC is led by Newcastle University, with the RSA, and operates a north-south, twin-hub to bring benefits to the creative industries across the whole country. Creative PEC started in 2018 at Nesta, and in 2023 moved to Newcastle University, evolving to a twin-hub structure with the southern hub based at RSA House. It provides a step-change for its three main stakeholders – industry, policymakers and the wider research community – in the quantity and quality of evidence available for the Creative Industries.

It consults industry on research needs – from limited diversity, to skills gaps, barriers to trade, and local economic growth – and brings the collective brainpower of its Research Unit and Policy Unit and Research Consortium – to generate the evidence and feed policy advice back to policymakers. This model ensures that the research and policy recommendations are timely and relevant, and meet the needs and priorities of the people working in the sector.

Future Cities Forum will be asking questions around the funding of museums as one of the topics for discussion at this week's event, as well as the importance of skills training for young people in the creative sector.

The Museums Association reports that an advocacy survey commissioned by Art Fund and the National Museum Directors' Council (NMDC) has demonstrated strong public support for public funding for museums, with nearly three quarters of UK adults believing that councils should fund local museums.

The YouGov survey found that 89% of UK adults think museums are important to UK culture while 76% think local museums add value to their area.

Nearly half of those surveyed (47%) said that museums in the UK should be mostly or entirely funded by government. Only 3% said museums should be entirely funded by private investment or income generation.

Looking specifically at local museums, 74% said local government should provide at least half of their funding, with 45% saying that councils should provide most or all of their funding.

Net current expenditure on museums and galleries by local authorities decreased by 11% in real terms – from £206.27m in 2021/22 to £183.05m in 2022/23 – according to a report published by Arts Council England in January.

The YouGov survey found that 44% of people knew public funding for local museums had gone down since 2022, with only 9% thinking it had stayed the same and 4% thinking it had increased.

When asked how they would feel if their local museum were to shut, 54% said they would feel disappointed, 41% would feel sad, 19% would be angry and 16% frustrated.

Speaking to MPs and peers at an advocacy event in Westminster last week, Tate director and chair of NMDC, Maria Balshaw, said: “We know the public love museums – in 2023 there were over 60 million visitors to the NMDC member national and major regional museums.

“Seeing such public support for museums makes everything we do worthwhile – and gives us all even more reason to protect and sustain them.”

The event, which was attended by representatives of the Museums Association and other museum leaders, celebrated the impact of museums and highlighted the risks they are currently facing from funding cuts.


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