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New campaign to make case for investment in culture

Above: National Museums Liverpool has signed up for the campaign to launch next month (Image of the Museum of Liverpool's view towards the 'Three Graces' courtesy of Ant Clausen)

The Cultural Philanthropy Foundation will next month launch a nationwide campaign celebrating the impact of culture – and make the case for investment in the run-up to the UK general election.

Thirty-nine organisations have already signed-up for Culture Makes… ahead of its official launch on 1 May, including National Museums Liverpool, Mostyn Gallery and Arts & Business Northern Ireland.

The campaign aims to grow government and public understanding of cultural organisations as charities that make real impact, need support and encourage the democratisation of cultural philanthropy as a result. It is based on a tool that outlines eight impacts that culture can make, from economic to educational.

Creative – the intrinsic value of the experience created by engaging with culture and heritage
Economic – the value of culture to the wider economy
Physical Health – improvements to physical health through culture
Mental Health and Wellbeing – improvements to mental health and wellbeing through culture
Education – programmes that enhance learning experience in formal education settings
Social Benefit – the impact on wider society via the engagement of the individual
Community Building – communities of geography or interest developed or supported through culture
Innovation – technological innovation that drives creative value

“Cultural and heritage organisations have long wrestled with how to communicate the value and impact of their work,” said Caroline McCormick, the chair of the Cultural Philanthropy Foundation.

“Culture Makes… comes at a critical time enabling us to come together through a clear and simple set of linguistic tools, which will allow us to celebrate and raise awareness of the impact of the sector as a whole and the individual contributions each organisation makes with government and policy makers, funders, and our audiences.”

Councils are the biggest funders of arts and culture in England, but research by the County Councils Network shows they have reduced spending to culture and tourism by almost £500m since 2010/11.

A recent report from Arts Council England found that local authorities in England invested 23% less per capita in museums and galleries in 2022-23 than they did in 2009-10.

Meanwhile, giving to culture has declined to less than 1% of all charitable giving in the UK, its lowest level in more than a decade, according to the UK Giving Report 2023.

Sharon Heal, director of the Museums Association, expressed support for the initiative.

“Our Museums Change Lives campaign has highlighted how museums can enhance health and wellbeing, create better places for us to live and work and provide space for us to explore some of the big issues in society,” she said.

“But in order to deliver all those benefits we need sustainable funding, which is why our Museum Manifesto is calling for urgent strategic public investment so that everyone can engage with a high-quality museum service near to where they live.”

The UK government has not yet confirmed a date for the general election, but it must take place no later than 28 January 2025.

Museums and other heritage, culture and arts organisations can sign up to the Culture Makes... campaign to receive a free toolkit with campaign assets that can be used in venues and online throughout the campaign year.

McCormick said: “Our aim is to build an overwhelmingly powerful sector voice that cannot be ignored. We need the partnership of every cultural organisation across the UK to achieve this.”

Culture Makes… is sponsored by cultural sector consultancy company Achates, which developed the 8 Types of Impact of Culture and Heritage tool to express the breadth of impact of the cultural sector, and Pentagram, an independent design consultancy.

The 39 0rganisations that have already signed up to Culture Makes…20 Stories High; A & B Cymru; Access All Areas; An Tobar and Mull Theatre; The Art House, Wakefield; Arts & Business Northern Ireland; Bristol Old Vic; Cardboard Citizens; Crafts Council; Dundee Contemporary Arts; Edinburgh International Festival; Hastings Contemporary; Hilanderas Plataforma Cultural; Javaad Alipoor Company; Litfest – Lancaster Festival of Literature; Lyric Theatre Belfast; Midlands Arts Centre; National Centre for Writing; National Museums Liverpool; National Youth Orchestra Scotland; Northern Ballet; Northern Ireland Opera; One Dance UK; Mostyn Gallery; Picturehouse Cinemas; Pleasance; Puppet Place, Bristol; Roundhouse; Royal Shakespeare Company; Scottish Ballet; Shakespeare’s Globe; Shubbak Festival; Southbank Centre; Stage Beyond Theatre Company, Derry; Talawa Theatre Company; Theatr Clwyd; The Forum, Norwich; The Women’s Prize Trust; and Worthing Theatres and Museum.


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