Broadly speaking, people with these backgrounds and current circumstances are those most likely to experience disadvantage in the form of reduced opportunities due to their levels of income, education, and work experience on the one hand, and discrimination and unequal access to opportunities on the other. This disadvantage may be evident in access to educational, artistic and employment opportunities, health, and quality of life. Overall, these groups tend to be underrepresented across the arts, to varying degrees in different art forms and disciplines.
Not only is this under-representation unjust, research shows it threatens the vitality and long-term health of the arts overall. We have thought carefully about what we can do to support more equitable access to our funding (see our commitment to access and inclusion here) and believe the biggest difference we can make is in supporting people to apply to us. We are committed to providing information and advice to enable people to make the right decision to apply, and then support them in making an application. Through this support we are investing in the capacity, confidence and skills of individuals to apply not just to us, but to other sources of income, thereby supporting their long term success.
We hope that our increased commitment to supporting people to apply will increase the breadth of applications we receive in term of diversity including socio-economic background, and geographic reach nationally. We have refined our monitoring information to help us improve how we capture this data, and will be publishing what we learn from it at the end of our 2019 pilot year.
The other area we can have influence on is our decision making process. For 2019 we are appointing a diverse range of Artist Advisers from across the UK to be our ears and eyes and support our assessment and decision making. The aim is for them to help us to broaden our taste and increase our national reach, and we will share what we learn from working in this way at the end of our 2019 pilot year.