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National debate into importance of the arts

Date 8 Nov 2006
Author The Editor
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England’s Arts Council has launched its first ever public inquiry into how people value the arts. The debate aims to help the organisation understand the role of the arts in people’s lives, with key themes including: what is meant by ‘the arts’ these days?; accessibility, barriers and motivations; and attitudes to funding and the role of the Arts Council.

The first stage of the inquiry will be a series of in-depth discussion groups with members of the public across the country, including those that currently have little or no involvement with the arts. The next stage of the programme will include extensive research with artists, arts organisations and other Arts Council stakeholders. In the new year, key issues will be opened up to wider public consultation and debate. Everyone will be able to have their say by logging on to the interactive discussion forum on the arts debate website: www.artsdebate.org.uk.

The arts debate is supported by a panel of external advisors. Panel member Dame Suzi Leather said: "This is a wonderful opportunity for people everywhere to join a fresh debate about the role of the arts in our lives. For too long this conversation has been the preserve of the expert few, and this important initiative will enable the Arts Council to understand and respond to a much wider range of opinions and experiences".

The inquiry will come to a close in May 2007 and findings will be published in the autumn, along with the Arts Council’s response and plans for the future.

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