Profiel: England/Engeland

1. General Context

England is a country of the United Kingdom roughly covering about 62% of the island of Great Britain. England’s population of 56.3 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom1, and the greater metropolitan of London has a population of 14.2 million as of 2021, representing the United Kingdom’s largest metropolitan area. The UK Parliament and Government have policy responsibility for all cultural issues in England.

2. Cultural Policy and Funding

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is responsible for government policy on the arts and creative industries and Arts Council England (ACE) is the national agency responsible for supporting the arts, museums and libraries in England with financial support from the government and National Lottery funds. It operates under a Royal Charter (as amended in 2008 and 2011) with a mission to develop and improve the knowledge, understanding and practice of the arts; increase accessibility of the arts; advance the education and further the establishment, maintenance and operation of museums and libraries. It is also obliged to advise and cooperate with government, local authorities and others.  

ACE works with a 10-year strategy, which runs from 2020 to 2030. The current strategy is called Let’s Create, a guiding strategic framework for the way ACE makes our decision in relation to both investment and our development activities for this period. Let’s Create is built around three Outcomes and four Investment Principles. They are designed to work together to achieve a vision of a country in which the creativity of each individual is valued and given the chance to flourish, and where everybody has access to a remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences. 

The three outcomes are: 

  • Creative people: everyone can develop and express creativity through their life;
  • Cultural communities: villages, towns and cities thrive through a collaborative approach to culture;
  • A creative and cultural country: England’s cultural sector is innovative and collaborative and international.

The four principles are: 

  • Inclusivity and relevance: England’s diversity is fully reflected in the organisations and individuals that are supported and in the culture they produce;
  • Ambition and quality: cultural organisations are ambitious and committed to improving the quality of their work;
  • Dynamism: cultural organisations are dynamic and able to respond to the challenges of the next decade;
  • Environmental responsibility: cultural organisations lead the way in their approach to environmental responsibility.

ACE is a distributed organisation. It has 9 offices around England and the biggest office is in Manchester. In this way there is  national oversight intelligence with local on the ground intelligence. 

ACE produces a lot of research on key priorities to inform policy decisions such as the Diversity Report.

ACE is also involved in international work but has a different responsibility to the British Council. 

Europe remains a key market for England. Pre-Brexit, funding for touring and international collaboration was often accessed via international collaboration in the Creative Europe framework and ACE support. There is a strong collaboration with the other arts councils in the UK through its collaboration in the Arts Infopoint UK and the Four Nations International Fund. The Cultural Bridge partnership programme is an example of the promotion of cross-border collaboration between Germany and the UK focusing on participatory arts based methodologies. The Magnetic Residencies project is a collaboration between France and all arts councils of the UK and the British Council.

ACE also has bilateral programmes with some countries in the EU, such as the International Touring and Environmental Responsibility Fund in partnership with the Danish Arts Fund, Arts Council Norway and Julie’s Bicycle. With Italy ACE has developed in partnership with the Italian Ministry of Culture, The Italian Cultural Institute in London and the British Council a project called ‘Open Dialogo’ around dance and disability taking place in England and Italy.

Kunstenpunt-Flanders Arts Institute connected with the following persons at ACE in relation to our BAR project. Emails are:

  • Simon Mellor – Deputy Chief Executive Arts and Culture
  • Nick McDowell – Director International 
  • Nicola Smyth – Senior Manager International
  • Peter Heslip – Director Visual Arts
  • Claire Mera-Nelson – Director Music
  • Cate Canniffe – Director Dance
  • Pamela Vision – Theatre/Circus

3. Information 

  • The British Council builds connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language. It has a dedicated arts programme. 
  • The British Council has partnerships with ACE and with key stakeholders in England and the UK. The British Council head office in London has dedicated art space in different disciplines and themes and dedicated information platforms:
  • On the Move, the cultural mobility information network, provides information and knowledge for artists and cultural professionals active across borders. On the UK country page you can find information that relates to Wales and the last edition of Mobility Funding Guide to the United Kingdom | On the Move ( contains information specifically regarding Wales.
    • Part of the On the Move Mobility Information points, Arts Infopoint UK is a pilot initiative to support the arts sector with information on practical issues relating to cultural mobility (visa, work permits, and more). Focus is on incoming mobility, meaning to the UK but information is also provided for UK arts professionals going to Europe post-Brexit. 

4. Landscape and players

Due to the impact of Covid19, inequalities, BlackLiveMatters, climate change, cost of living crisis and the implications of Brexit, including loss of European funding and impact of travel between the UK and the EU, the landscape has changed. 

Prior to Brexit there were a lot of exchanges between arts professionals in England and the EU supported by the Creative Europe projects. In the past years several collaborations between Flemish and English arts organisations were developed. Artsadmin e.g. worked with NTGent, Kaaitheater, Kunstencentrum Vooruit (404); the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival UK worked with Festival van Vlaanderen, Sadler’s Wells with STUK kunstencentrum and Curtain Call Productions to name a few.

As part of the BAR project, a mapping was done of contacts in England by Kunstenpunt. Online meetings were held with ACE to better understand the context. On 12 July 2023 a Kunstenpunt delegation visited ACE in London and prior to that a delegation of Kunstenpunt went over to understand ableism in the UK better through a visit and workshop organised by the British Council. 

More information

If you have any questions or seek more information please don’t hesitate to reach out to our colleague Lissa Kinnaer.

[1] Demographic data about England

(Re)Connect with the UK:

In 2023 deed Kunstenpunt onderzoek naar de (negatieve) impact van Brexit op de culturele sector in Vlaanderen. We brachten de problematiek in kaart, en wisselden ook kennis rond diversiteit en inclusie uit. We proberen op die manier de culturele relatie met het Verenigd Koninkrijk te versterken en uit te breiden.