Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the Arts Council of England

  Thank you for your letter of 1 November inviting the Arts Council to provide written evidence to your inquiry into Staging International Sporting Events.

  In our submission to the Committee for the original inquiry in 1999, the Arts Council of England made some recommendations regarding the staging of future international sporting events. Briefly, these recommendations were as follows:

  1.  That international sporting events should be seen as national cultural occasions rather than merely a sporting contest. Artistic activity must be at the centre of planning from the outset and not tacked-on as a peripheral "entertainment" venture. Moreover, it is important that the cultural apsect of any sporting competition should be integral to the whole event and as such will not lose importance as other pressures, especially financial, come to bear upon the organisers.

  2.  That levels of funding for cultural programmes are clear from the earliest stages. Budgets should be identified and those planning the cultural festival should be informed in order that they can plan accordingly.

  3.  That cultural activities around international sporting events should be organised nationwide and not merely centred on host cities. The Arts Council is keen for such cultural activity to be inclusive and accessible to all.

  4.  That cultural activities surrounding a sporting competition are designed to leave a lasting legacy of longer-term cultural benefit to the nation.


  Your letter requested information about the impact of the 1999 Cricket World Cup and the Rugby World Cups. The Arts Council of England regrets that there was no discussion at a national level with the organising committees of these competitions. We believe that had those responsible for organising these events considered the cultural aspects of the tournaments, and applied the recommendations above, each competition would have had a far greater national impact.


  The Arts Council of England was disappointed that England was not selected to host the 2006 World Cup finals. We had preliminary discussions with representatives from the 2006 campaign and were encouraged by the response. The campaign team were clearly keen for the cultural programme to be one of the core ingredients of the World Cup finals.


  The Arts Council has been working with M2002, the Spirit of Friendship Festival, North West Arts Board and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to ensure the arts are an integral part of next year's Commonwealth Games. The Arts Council of England is committed to:

    —  Making available all of our appropriate funding programmes to enable and encourage applications from arts organisations and artists seeking to undertake activity relevant to the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth Games. This means that these arts organisations and artists will be able to apply for funds from our £10 million a year National Touring Programme, funded by the National Lottery, and the £22 million a year Regional Arts Lottery Programme (RALP) which is allocated by the Regional Arts Boards. Other open application programmes will also be made available. These are now in their final stages of development and will be made public in March/April 2001.

    —  Diversity 2002 is a major initiative in Black, Asian and Chinese arts which will provide a platform for a celebration of the achievements from within these communities. We are developing our Diversity 2002 programme to complement the cultural programmes surrounding the Games.

    —  Providing £100,000 over two years from 2001-02 to North West Arts Board to fund the post of Creative Producer who will contribute to the arts element of the Spirit of Friendship Festival. This will be a festival of major international presentations and performances. Early plans are that the festival will encompass six core elements, which are: a major international events programme; a Games Animation programme with artists animating city spaces such as the airport and shopping centres, and carnival activities in the streets; a Commonwealth Arts Festival dedicated to the presentation of culturally diverse work; a Community and Education programme developing people's participation in processional and celebratory arts, such as South Asian Mela and Carnival, and enabling "electronic exchange" via the Internet for all schools with children from the Commonwealth; the Athlete's Village—athletes recording and archiving their own experiences and feelings; and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

        The Creative Producer will develop all of these strands and will work closely with M2002's Spirit of Friendship Director. Other partner funds to support the festival are being given by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office/Visiting Arts, Single Regeneration Budget and North West Arts Board.

  The Arts Council has not, however, created a dedicated fund to support the cultural elements of the national Spirit of Friendship Festival. Our budget for 2001-02 is already fully committed. The additional and welcome resources made available to the Arts Council as a result of last year's Comprehensive Spending Review (an extra £100 million by 2003-04) have already been committed to three key specific areas:

    —  Theatre, which as is publicly acknowledged, is in dire need;

    —  Education, which will result in our Creative Partnerships initiative;

    —  Core funding, which will enable us to address the problems faced by arts organisations as a result of historical underfunding.

  The Arts Council of England is keen to see a strong cultural programme at the core of the 2002 Commonwealth Games. By making our existing application programmes available to the relevant projects, by linking elements of Diversity 2002 to the objectives of the Games' cultural programme, and by providing £100,000 to fund the post of Creative Producer for the arts element of the Spirit of Friendship Festival, we will make a significant contribution. However, without considerable additional and dedicated funds we will be unable to achieve a truly nationwide cultural festival. With an additional £10-£15 million we could deliver a significant cultural programme of real national and international impact. For example we could:

    —  Launch a nationwide celebratory programme of community events that would reach out to involve local communities across the UK;

    —  Invest in a world-class arts festival through funding the arts element of the Spirit of Friendship Festival to programme major works from across the Commonwealth;

    —  Support tours of the large and epic productions out of the festival to the rest of the UK;

    —  Distribute a range of major art works from across the Commonwealth digitally and through publishing and recordings, linking to the education sector;

    —  Develop a national programme of cultural exchanges between UK artists and those from across the Commonwealth. This could lead to lasting legacy of co-operation and collaboration between UK and Commonwealth countries.

  Additional monies, as well as attracting new partnership fundings, would also provide a catalyst for genuine creativity and artistic activity on a national scale.


  The Arts Council believes that public support is vital to the success of international sporting events hosted in the UK. Of equal importance is the willingness of organising committees to engage with cultural agencies from the outset of any bid. The recommendations provided by the Arts Council to the Committee during its original inquiry, and repeated here, should be applied by the governing body of any sport wishing to host major tournaments in this country.

January 2001

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