Live Art UK statement on Arts Council England NPO funding announcement

Live Art UK is a national network of Live Art promoters and facilitators, whose 28 members work together to develop the Live Art infrastructure for the benefit of artists and audiences. The network is coordinated by the Live Art Development Agency.

Live Art UK is pleased to report that 15 England-based members of the network who currently have Arts Council England (ACE) National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) status will continue to be supported as NPO organisations in 2018-22. We are also delighted that SICK! Festival (Manchester/Brighton) has been brought into the portfolio for the first time. Of the 16 Live Art UK NPO organisations, 4 are in London and 12 are based outside the capital, representing an investment balance of 75% regional and 25% London.

Live Art UK is however disappointed that the two artist-led Live Art UK members who applied for NPO status were unsuccessful in their bids, and that Live Art UK member Arnolfini (Bristol) has not received continued NPO support, although ACE have committed to ring-fence money for the Visual Arts in the South West.

Overall, Live Art is well represented in the new NPO portfolio, which is a strong endorsement of the sector’s importance across the length and breadth of the country. 

Live Art UK very much appreciates ACE’s aspiration to create a more balanced portfolio by bringing more smaller, diverse-led and regionally-based organisations into the portfolio, and believes that this will contribute to making the arts in the UK more inclusive, accessible and representative, with the potential to be more innovative, radical and risky

However, we are concerned about the impact that four more years of standstill funding will have, particularly on the smaller NPOs who have not received any uplifts since 2012 and, who, in many instances, will be receiving less investment than some of the new organisations of similar scale joining the portfolio for the first time. 

The network is also concerned about the loss of key organisations in the portfolio, particularly within visual art and dance, who have played critical roles in championing Live Art, experiential and interdisciplinary practices over many years – as well as Arnolfini, Locus+, Situations, AV Festival, Plymouth Arts Centre, Spacex, and Greenwich Dance Agency have all been removed from the portfolio.

Finally, Live Art UK is concerned about the increased demand on the Grants for the Arts funding stream which inevitably leads to lower success rates, and the disproportionate effect this has on independent
artists and collectives, as well as smaller, non-NPO arts organisations, who rely on project funding and are a vital part of the Live Art ecology.

Despite these concerns, Live Art UK members wish to take this opportunity to thank Arts Council England for its continued support for Live Art through NPO, Strategic Funds and Grants for the Arts, and all of the many artists and audiences who contribute to our collective work.

Contact: Lois Keidan lois(at)

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