Arts Council England is to demand its funded organisations reflect the diversity of contemporary England, and will make diversity a factor in its next round of funding decisions.
From 2015, ACE is going to "monitor and support" National Portfolio organisations to ensure they reflect diversity in their programming, audiences and workforce. That data will be used to inform its decisions on whether an organisation gets National Portfolio funding when the next tranche is announced for 2018.
An ACE analysis of staff working in funded organisations from 2012./13 shows that overall representation from back and minority ethnic groups is currently 13%, which is below the national average of 15%.
In a speech to be made today (Monday 8th December), ACE chair Sir Peter Bazalgette is to say: "Some National Portfolio organisations…are making good progress – but diverse focused organisations have been shouldering this responsibility alone for too long. From now on the responsibility for promoting diversity within the leadership, workforce, programming and audiences must belong to all our funded arts organisations."
Bazalgette is to add: "For things to change, long term, they need to become more uncomfortable at the top. We have to open up access to power and to resources. Looking up, too many see the white cliff-face of the arts establishment and feel they just cannot climb it."
The 2015-18 list of National Portfolio funded organisations was revealed in July, with publishers And Other Stories and Penned in the Margins among the literature organisations included for the first time.