Entertainment & Arts

Culture minister calls for more geographic diversity in the arts

Matt Hancock Image copyright DCMS
Image caption Matt Hancock took over from former culture minister Ed Vaizey in July

More should to be done to spread the "world-beating excellence" of British arts and culture to all parts of the UK, the new culture minister has said.

"No one should be excluded... because of their postcode," digital and culture minister Matt Hancock said in a speech to the arts and creative industries.

London's success should be "matched in every part of our land", he added.

The creative industries would be "absolutely central to [the UK's] post-Brexit future", he also said on Friday.

Speaking in central London, Mr Hancock said the UK's "cultural capital [had] long served as our global calling card".

The arts are central not just "to who we are as a country" but also "to our future prosperity as a nation", he said.

'Force for openness'

The minister said he would "fight to ensure that the creative and digital industries are at the heart of [the] government's industrial strategy".

Creative sector tax reliefs, he insisted, would "not be adversely affected" by the UK's decision to leave the European Union.

He also pledged that free entry to the permanent collections of the country's national museums was "not up for review".

During his address, hosted by the Creative Industries Federation at BFI Southbank, Mr Hancock also announced the following:

  • Entrepreneur Neil Mendoza, a non-executive director at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will lead a "full review" of the challenges facing British museums
  • A consultation has been launched on a tax relief for museum and gallery exhibitions
  • The creative industries will be held "to a higher standard" with regards to access and diversity

"You have a special responsibility to be a force for openness and social mobility in Britain," he told an audience that included Sir Nicholas Kenyon, director of the Barbican, and National Gallery director Gabriele Finaldi.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Hancock cited Adele as an example of the UK's "culture capital"

Mr Hancock's keynote speech followed an address earlier this week at the AGM of the British Phonographic Industry, during which he called on the music industry to ensure there was "diversity... in the boardroom as much as backstage."

"Music can't be the preserve of the privileged," he went on. "Are you doing all you can to blast open the doors to the industry?"

Elsewhere during the speech, Mr Hancock wondered why Adele's music was "so morose" given her remarkable global success.

The Conservative MP for West Suffolk took over from Ed Vaizey at the DCMS in July.


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