Featuring data from 2018-19, the report is the first to cover the 2018-22 Arts Council England National Portfolio, which means it now also includes Libraries, Museums and Sector Support Organisations.

Equality, Diversity and the Creative Case outlines the progress – or lack thereof – made by the Arts Council and the organisations it funds in implementing changes to bolster diversity.

“This year’s annual diversity report reveals a disappointing picture,” according to Nicholas Serota, chair of Arts Council England. “A key tenet of our new strategy for 2020-30, Let’s Create, is that the organisations we fund, and that the Arts Council itself, should be representative of society.”

This year’s report includes several changes, including the facility for readers to analyse data in relation to geography, discipline or artform, and level of Arts Council investment. This revealed, for instance, that museums had the highest female workforce, at 57%.

Chartered Institute of Fundraising October 2021

NPO numbers

Figures for all National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) in Equality, Diversity and the Creative Case revealed:

Non white representation

Overall NPO workforce – 11% (compared to 16% in the UK working age population)
Overall board representation – 15%
Artistic directors and chairs – 11%
Chief executives – 10%

Disabled representation

Overall NPO workforce – 6% (compared with 21% of the working age population)
Overall board representation – 7%
Chief Executives – 9%
Artistic Directors – 8%
Chairs – 5%

Gender representation

Chief executives – 52% Female, 41% Male
Artistic directors – 45% Female, 41% male
Chairs – 40% Female, 55% Male

Looking ahead, Serota noted: “Organisations that receive regular investment from ACE will need to set themselves stretching targets for representation in governance, leadership, workforce, participants and audiences. Failure to meet these targets will have an impact on future funding.”

This is supported by the Arts Council’s stance that Band 2 and Band 3 NPOs must achieve a rating of at least ‘strong’ by 2021 or risk becoming ineligible for funding in the next portfolio.

Acknowledging the disappointing results in the latest diversity report, Arts Council’s chair concluded: “We must now all act with greater determination to remove the persistent inequalities in our boards, our workforce and our audiences that are holding back opportunity and achievement in our sector.”


The full report can be downloaded here.

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