Great Britain Launches Ô£12m Program to Recruit New Arts Leaders

Classic Arts News   Great Britain Launches Ô£12m Program to Recruit New Arts Leaders
U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown and Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell stressed the importance of the arts to the British economy at the launch of a Ô£12 million program aiming to find future cultural leaders.

The Cultural Leadership Program, a two-year initiative run by Arts Council England, aims to promote better management in the cultural sector. It will help around 2,000 people gain leadership experience by moving between the arts and business sectors, according to the BBC.

The arts sector is "not a sideshow but right at the centre" of the economy, the BBC quoted Brown as saying. He went on to observe that "culture in the U.K. helps to define and shape and deepen our lives as individuals," according to the Financial Times. "If this significant part of our economy is to prosper and grow, we must recognize the role of our cultural leaders in delivering that success and ensure the emergence of a talented and diverse group of future leaders."

Attracting leaders from diverse backgrounds was a key topic. The Independent writes that five years ago the BBC was described as "hideously white" by its then-director general Greg Dyke, and other creative industries are examining ways to recruit a more diverse staff. New statistics show that only 4 per cent of staff in the U.K.'s Ô£5 billion music industry are from ethnic minorities, according to the paper.

The program was welcomed by Eric Nicoli of EMI, who told the Financial Times, "Music is an important constituent of the creative sector and the U.K. music industry is dynamic, vibrant and flourishing ... We do, however, face more challenges than ever before. Just as we invest heavily in technology, infrastructure and developing our artists and their music, it's also vital that we invest in our people."

According to Jowell, the arts account for more than 5 per cent of the U.K. economy. The scheme was announced in last year's Budget statement.

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