Attractions industry news

13 Mar 2020

UK withdrawal from Creative Europe fund 'threatens an impoverished future for British creativity'

Almost 700 figures from arts and cultural organisations across the UK have raised objections to the UK government's decision to withdraw from Creative Europe (CE), an EU-funded scheme that provides investment to creative industries across Europe. Between 2014 and 2020, the scheme provided €1.46bn (£1.28bn, US$1.66bn) in funding.

Concerns were raised in an open letter, addressed to Oliver Dowden, the culture secretary for the UK.

"This decision threatens an impoverished future for British creativity and sends the message that the UK is closing itself off to our nearest neighbours," it read.

"By ending our participation, the UK government is erecting barriers to continued cultural exchange. Moreover, this decision makes no financial sense. It is well established that Creative Europe grants have delivered a net benefit back to the UK creative economy on both soft and hard measures (worth €74m (£64.5m, US$84m) since 2014, benefitting 334 organisations), leveraging additional funding, helping to create employment," it continued.

The letter was initiated by Artsadmin, an art agency, based in London, which supports cultural organisations and artists. Artsadmin is currently involved in a number of large-scale Creative Europe projects, including Art Climate Transition, a project, formerly known as Imagine 2020, concentrating on the climate emergency.

Signatories included Alistair Hudson, director of the Whitworth and Manchester Art Gallery and Fatoş Üstek, director of the Liverpool Biennial.

The current CE programme ends in December 2020, following the UK's depature from the EU on 31 January this year.

Participation in the scheme is not limited to EU member states, with 13 non-member states, including Iceland and Norway, currently participating. However, according to the Creative Europe Desk UK (CEDU), the UK arm of the organisation: "The UK will not be seeking to participate in the next CE programme, due to start in January 2021".

The CEDU goes on to stress that projects currently in receipt of funding for the current programme, "will receive funding for their full duration under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreemnt, including projects that continue after 1 January 2021."

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