Arts ‘treading water’ on diversity

An Arts Council England report published today shows that its National Portfolio Organisation clients are not progressing enough with implementing diversity.

The report, Equality, Diversity and the Creative Case, says that disabled people in particular are still under-represented, with only 5% of NPO staff identified as disabled compared with 20% of the working population. The report says the sector is “treading water” on diversity.

“There has been progress in some areas; in others we see little momentum” said ACE’s chair, Nicholas Serota. “We must be more focussed in our approach to the issues and from next year we will be reporting in greater detail, looking at diversity in the context of the funding organisations receive as well as their artistic disciplines.”

The report using 2017-18 data will be the last to analyse the clients’ performance before the next funding round.

It shows slow progress in improving black and minority ethnic representation – a rise between 2015 and 2018 from 10% to 12% compared with 16% of the working population being BME.

Progress has been better for females working in the arts, with the numbers of female chief executives and artistic director up from 35% in 2017 to 46% in 2018. Integration of diversity in to artistic programming has improved, with 51% of NPO rated as “good” in 2018 against 33% in 2015.

“The new National Portfolio runs from 2018-22 and includes more diverse-led organisations than ever before” the report says. “However we accept that there is much work to do before the organisations we fund reflect our diverse, contemporary society.”

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