Miliband promises arts at the heart of Labour government

Ed Miliband has said that Labour will ‘put policy for arts and culture and creativity at the heart of the Labour government’s mission’ if the party gains power in this year’s general election. The Labour leader was speaking at the Creative Industries Federation at Battersea Arts Centre.

‘Britain will be a prouder, richer, stronger country when we give everybody the opportunity to develop their creativity, expand their horizons, enhance their talents and make a life for themselves in the arts and culture: old and young, rich and poor, north and south.’

Despite his backing of arts and culture, Miliband would not confirm that there would be no further cuts to the arts, saying: ‘I can’t make promises about what funding’s going to look like in the future.’

Ed Miliband speaking at the Creative Industries Federation at Battersea Arts Centre (Credit: Ian Watts)

Ed Miliband speaking at the Creative Industries Federation at Battersea Arts Centre (Credit: Ian Watts)

In his speech, Miliband also quoted from the Warwick Commission’s report, and said: ‘If we care about the opportunities for the young, the findings of the Warwick Commission should worry us all.

‘The next Labour government’s mission is to guarantee every young person, from whatever background, access to the arts and culture: a universal entitlement to a creative education for every child.’

In Miliband’s speech, Labour backed the Warwick Commission’s recommendation that schools will only be able to receive an ‘outstanding’ rating from Ofsted if they offer creative subjects and cultural opportunities within a broad and balanced curriculum.

Other policies announced during the speech included: strengthening creative education in schools by encouraging afterschool clubs to offer music, drama, dance, art, sport or other creative activities; building better career pathways into the arts and creative industries by increasing the number of apprenticeships; and widening free access to museums and galleries.

Internship fund launched by Arts Council

Arts Council England (ACE) has launched a new initiative to support unpaid internships in the arts sector. The Creative Employment Programme will see funding of up to £15million provide financial support to unemployed 16-25 year olds seeking work experience in the arts sector.

This news follows ACE’s discussions with arts organisations concerning their guidelines for hiring unpaid interns. The Old Vic and Unicorn Theatre both suspended their internship schemes following consultations with ACE.

ACE’s Creative Employment Programme outline claims that the money will help fund ‘6,500 new apprenticeships and paid internships across the arts and cultural sector.’ The fund will be paid out to organisations who apply to help subsidise the cost of recruiting interns. The programme is scheduled to start in early 2013, and will run until March 2015.

Executive director Andrea Stark described the scheme as a ‘fantastic and vital development for young people interested in working in arts and culture.’

Stark went on to say: ‘If young people cannot gain entry into the sector workforce we risk losing a generation of talent, which would potentially have an adverse impact on the art that is produced, distributed and attended by the wider population. This programme gives young people the opportunity to gain skills and experience that potential employers will value, removes the barrier of lack of paid work experience, and helps boost the start of their career in the sector’

For more information, visit www.artscouncil.org.uk/news/arts-council-news/creative-employment-programme-launch.