Monday, April 4, 2011

Arts funding in the UK: "Salami slicing" out, selective funding in

With 118 million pounds less cash to hand out, the Arts Council of England has cut grants to arts organisations in its latest funding round. However not all organisations fared badly. The Serpentine was one of the institutions that benefited from Arts Council's new policy of funding fewer organisations realistically as opposed to the old "salami slicing" approach (the practice of handing equivalent amounts to all).

Serpentine director Julia Peyton-Jones and co-director of exhibitions and programmes Hans Ulrich Obrist said in an email release they were "very grateful for the uplift" from the Arts Council, "although it is bittersweet news at a time of swingeing cuts to the sector."

Last year the New Statesman published an entertaining piece by Sophie Elmhirst on the use of the word swingeing and the way it is linked to cuts. She also predicted that it would appear at least once a week in a news headline for the rest of the year "as it is deployed around the country, scythe in hand, towards shivering schools and subsidised arts centres, libraries and nurseries. It's like the threat of a serial killer - where will swingeing and its evil little sidekick, cuts, strike next?"
Image: Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, London