What Next?

At this morning’s What Next? meeting, Darren Henley and Michelle Dickson from Arts Council England spoke about ACE’s next ten-year strategy and the Government’s approaching Comprehensive Spending Review.

I will keep this response brief as many ideas and processes were discussed, but what stood out for me was the need to get in touch with your local MP. This was suggested in terms of telling your MP your concerns around the spending review. However, we feel it goes beyond this and it is simply essential for your local MP to know who you are and what your organisation is doing (if they don’t already).

This is especially important if you are working or touring in rural areas, as these are more likely to be conservative constituencies and they may need more evidence and understanding of the importance of supporting/funding the culture sector.

Although the independent theatre sector’s voice is out there, taking the time to contact your MP and council ensures it gets louder. Telling them and your local council about your work will also help them to understand and appreciate what you are achieving.

Step One
You can find all your local elected representatives via this clear and helpful website: www.writetothem.com

Step Two
Here are some simple steps to building your relationship with you MP and local council members:

• Send an email or letter to your MP, council and councilors– including your contact details and postcode, so they know you’re a constituent (all your personal data is protected when writing to a politician)
• Introduce yourself and the organisations you work for and with
• Invite them to come and see your work in practice and ask if you can meet with them in person

Also take the opportunity to (because data and figures are important):

• Tell them why spending on culture should be protected in your community
• Give practical, tangible examples of where an arts project has enhanced your community – either through regeneration, health outcomes or improving community cohesion
• Set out why any further cuts in your local area would have a negative effect: be as specific as you possibly can

These points are from the What Next?'s online resource: #Arts4Britain 2.0 This Time it’s Local, which is well worth reading. A newer version may be published soon, but the content is still relevant, so please get writing now.

If you have any questions, concerns or thoughts about this please feel free to contact me via email: z_bateman@itc-arts.org or phone: 020 7403 1727.

by Zoe Bateman | ITC General Manager | 20th June 2018

ITC is actively involved in What Next? - a movement bringing together arts and cultural organisations from across the UK to articulate and strengthen the role of culture in our society. We want to engage the public in new and different conversations about how and why the arts are important, and become a catalyst for fresh thinking and new policy ideas.
A growing number of locally based What Next? groups are forming across the UK. Click here to find out more