The Black Arts Funding Trap –  Why a new model is needed for BAME arts projects

The Black Arts Funding Trap – Why a new model is needed for BAME arts projects

Signifier recently teamed up with MeWe360, a non-profit incubator that supports creative entrepreneurs, to look at how funding models can hinder or su

Spike Island
Colston Hall
Kings College, University of London

Signifier recently teamed up with MeWe360, a non-profit incubator that supports creative entrepreneurs, to look at how funding models can hinder or support more BAME (Black Asian Minority Ethnic) participation in the cultural sector.  

We recommend reading the full report, but here’s a snapshot:

Over £100 million has been spent in the last 30 years to make the arts culture sector more racially diverse… with little to no impact. We’re seeing no significant increase in BAME audiences, leadership, or artistic talent. In fact, most organizations that received this funding have closed, are under threat of closure, or are not under BAME leadership anymore.

Why is this happening?

Funding decisions are not grounded in the needs or demands of the BAME community.

Consider this:

The BAME community is largely creative & entrepreneurial, and don’t naturally fit with the grants-funded “traditional” arts sector. Plus, funding is often only in the form of short-term funding (2-3 years), which squashes entrepreneurship & prevents organizations from becoming self-sufficient.

What needs to change?

MeWe360 has spent the last 5 years finding & testing new, effective approaches to driving arts diversity.

They’ve learned that in order to deliver sustainability, BAME artists need:

  • Resources, like rehearsal or studio spaces. This is one of the biggest barriers to expansion for BAME businesses.
  • Networks in a wider community for access to opportunities, shared learning, and potential partners.  
  • BAME-specific personal development via mentoring and peer-learning.

Learn more

Read the full report here, then join in the conversation by tweeting @Signifier & @MeWe360 with the hashtag #MeWeLetsTalk!

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