Culture secretary Oliver Dowden yesterday announced in the daily Downing Street press briefing that the architect of the 2017 Mendoza Review of Museums in England will advise the government on how British culture and heritage can begin to rebound from the damaging impacts of the coronavirus lockdown.

Part of Mendoza’s brief will be to collaborate with Arts Council England, National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England and other sectoral bodies to develop and deliver a strategy fit to support organisations large and small.

“Our local, regional and national institutions have been trailblazers in coming up with innovative ways to reach audiences during the lockdown. Our focus now turns to paving the way for the reopening of the country’s cultural hubs including theatres, galleries, museums and entertainment venues, when it is safe to do so,” Dowden notes.

“Neil’s appointment as commissioner for cultural recovery and renewal and the creation of a new taskforce is all part of the government’s commitment to help get the cultural and creative sectors back up and running.”

The taskforce team

The Cultural Renewal taskforce panel comprises:

Neil Mendoza, Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal
Tamara Rojo, English National Ballet
Alex Scott, sports broadcaster
Sir Nicholas Serota, Arts Council England Chair
Edward Mellors, Mellors Group Events
Lord Grade, former chair of BBC and ITV
Baroness Lane-Fox, founder of
Mark Cornell, Ambassador Theatre Group

Chair of Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, labels Mendoza “a champion of art and culture” in the UK. “Culture and creativity,” he adds, “will be vital to rebuilding communities across the country and in sustaining our international standing as a creative nation. Helping the sector to reopen is a priority for the Arts Council and I very much look forward to working with Neil in support of the aims of the Taskforce.”

Oliver Dowden also announced £200 million in new funding which will be made available for small charities “that are at the heart of their communities” from Friday; without any specific detail on how much of this – if any – would be available for cultural organisations.

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