Visiting Arts and Arts Council England National Portfolio

Visiting Arts is very disappointed at the ACE decision not to include us in its core portfolio.

We believe there is a need for an organisation championing international artists’ work in the UK now more than ever.

This week alone we are welcoming artists from Tunisia, working with writers from Egypt and creating links with artists and galleries in the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. We are also creating a series of collaborations between UK and Iranian theatre directors. In addition to these countries where carrying out projects is sometimes very difficult, we have work going on in some of the most dynamic parts of the world – Brazil, China, Russia, India, South Africa, South Korea.

We believe that this global brokerage needs to be a priority for us in the UK both for the artists’ development and to enrich audience experiences.

Since its inception, VA has always been a hybrid organisation facilitating, connecting and advising. We always work in partnership which has been a strength because our partners are wide ranging and expert in curating exhibitions, creating performances and programming – but it has also proved, to be difficult for us as it is sometimes hard to measure our impacts and to fit comfortably into the funding priorities. Despite this, we have consistently received praise and thanks from our arts partners and successfully leveraged funding to more than match the ACE investment.

Our successful bid to become the EU Cultural Contact Point for the UK has increased our links across Europe and, perhaps ironically, our reputation overseas is growing with more partners year on year who speak highly of us and our work and value what we do.

We are always looking at new and innovative ways of working and have some very strong projects. We have an expert and committed Team, both staff and Board. We will work with our partners, ACE and our other funders, over the next 12 months, to create a future for the organisation that ensures the intelligence and expertise built up over Visiting Arts 35 year history is not lost to the sector.

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