It’s that time of the year when the Arts Council begins the process of planning for the following year, reviewing our plans and programmes and building our case-making to support an increase in public monies for the arts. In recent years, all public spending is being called upon to provide data and evidence to support and quantify the impact of the state’s investment, from education to social protection, from the agriculture to the environment. And the arts are no different. As a sector in receipt of public monies, demonstrating the outputs and outcomes of any funding is invaluable in presenting a case for continued and hopefully increased funding.
Our strategy, Making Great Art Work , and our three-year plan 2017-19, promised that we will invest in research, data and information programmes that increase our knowledge and expertise in the arts, demonstrate and track over time the impact of our investment on the lives of artists, communities and those who access and participate in the arts.
And so we have started this work. Commissioning research, capturing data and analysing and better understanding the information submitted to us by artists and organisations. This supports us in building our expertise, supporting policy development and advocating more credibly for the arts across government and with other stakeholders.
We are very grateful to the many arts organisations, artists and practitioners who have taken the time to give us detailed information about their plans, programmes and audiences -- whether through the arts activity report (AAR) we’ve built into our online services system or through other surveys and reports. Please be assured that we are using this invaluable information and hope over the coming months to bring people together to share with them what we have learned from this information in terms of trends, audiences’ behaviours, programming supports as well as areas for future support and development through policy or specific targeted interventions.
We can already see a clearer, more detailed picture of the arts in Ireland today, and this will prove invaluable to us in policy and decision-making as well as advocating for public funding of the arts.
With best wishes,