Arts Renewal Taskforce Announced By Culture Secretary

Sir Nicholas Serota

The Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has today announced representatives from the arts, cultural and sporting worlds who will join a new task force aimed at helping Arts renewal by getting the country’s recreation and leisure sector up and running again. 

We are determined to do all we can to help our sectors that are such an incredible part of British life in their recovery – Oliver Dowden

They are: Sir Nicholas Serota (Arts Council England Chair), Tamara Rojo (English National Ballet), Alex Scott (former England international and Arsenal footballer and now a Sports Broadcaster), Edward Mellors (Mellors Group Events)Neil Mendoza (Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal, Entrepreneur, publisher and philanthropist) Lord (Michael) Grade of Yarmouth (TV executive and former Chair of BBC and ITV) Baroness (Martha) Lane-Fox of Soho (Founder of Mark Cornell (Ambassador Theatre Group)

Oliver Dowden
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden Arts Renewal Taskforce Announced

The five new ministerial-led taskforces have been set up to develop blueprints for how and when closed businesses and venues can reopen safely, following publication of the UK government’s National Covid-19 Recovery Strategy to help rebuild Britain. Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), will be chairing the taskforce responsible for the recreation and leisure sectors, and joining him in this important work is:

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: We are determined to do all we can to help our sectors that are such an incredible part of British life in their recovery. The Taskforce is made up of some of the brightest and best from the cultural, sporting and tech worlds. Experts in their fields, they’ll be instrumental in identifying creative ways to get these sectors up and running again.
The taskforces will be crucial to the reopening of sectors of Britain’s economy. They will support the renewal of DCMS sectors and help develop new COVID-19 secure guidelines for the reopening of public places and businesses, where and when it is safe to do so. The focus of the groups’ work will be on:

ensuring that COVID-19 secure guidelines are developed in line with the phasing ambitions and public health directions, building on the existing (work settings) guidance and providing intelligence and sector-specific expert input. Develop creative solutions, including digital solutions, to drive the return of sectors whilst maintaining consistency with the medical advice. Agreeing and ensuring alignment of all relevant sectoral guidance. Providing key sector stakeholders direct access to ministers

As the nation’s economy begins to move towards recovery and regeneration, the Taskforce will look to see how creative new approaches could help sectors thrive in future, building on existing channels of government support (like the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme, Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants, a 12 month business rates holiday, and £200 million of emergency public funding through the Arts Council, Historic England and National Lottery Heritage Fund).

The first meeting of the Cultural Renewal Taskforce will take place this Friday 22 May, and will meet on a weekly basis. The work of the taskforce will be supported by eight working groups chaired by DCMS Ministers, which will include representatives from key sector bodies and organisations and focused on areas like sport, entertainment and events, museums and galleries, heritage, tourism and libraries.

The government published its COVID-19 Recovery Strategy on 11 May 2020. It set out that non-essential retail businesses may be reopened in phases from 1 June, where and when it is safe to do so, and if those businesses can meet new working safely during coronavirus guidelines.

Reopening other (currently closed) businesses and public places will take place when the science allows, and when they can meet new COVID-19 secure guidelines, which relate to their specific activities. To support the development of such guidelines, the government has established five ministerially-led ‘taskforces’:

The DCMS is also planning to appoint a representative from our world-class tourism sector to the taskforce.

The individuals experts appointed to the panel represent themselves, and not the organisations they work for. The role is unpaid.

Nicholas Serota has been Chair of Arts Council England since February 2017 and is a member of the Board of the BBC. He is currently Chair of the Durham Commission on Creativity and Education and was a Board member on the recent Cultural Cities Enquiry. He was Director of Tate between 1988 and 2017. During this period Tate opened Tate St Ives (1993) and Tate Modern (2000 & 2016), redefining the Millbank building as Tate Britain (2000). Tate also developed its national role by creating partnerships with 35 regional galleries across the UK in the Plus Tate network.

Top Photo: Sir Nicholas Serota  By P C Robinson © Artlyst 2020

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