It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

Despite a positive performance in the last quarter of 2009, the Cultural Observatory’s latest recession snapshot (pdf, 311kb) suggests the West Midlands’ cultural sector is facing a period of ‘funding uncertainty’.

Evidence highlighted in the paper suggests that while many local cultural organisations remain optimistic about the short-term stability of core funding sources, perception of funding security is low compared to confidence levels pre-recession.

Spines of books on a shelf in a libraryIn the Cultural Observatory’s own economic survey with local cultural organisations, 72% of respondents stated that they were ‘less optimistic’ about the stability of core funding sources compared to 2007.

Against a backdrop of funding concerns, the research shows that the cultural sector continued to see increases in numbers of customers through the door in the last three months of 2009, building on the unusually high increase in footfall seen over the summer.

Strong audience figures suggest the value placed on culture by the general population has only increased during the economic troubles, as suggested in the Cultural Observatory’s recent paper The role of culture in the region’s post-recession recovery (pdf, 139kb).

Evidence contained in the latest recession snapshot also demonstrates the breadth of provision being offered by the sector during the economic troubles.

As the following comment made by one survey respondent demonstrates, local libraries are now working in partnership to support jobseekers:

“Local Jobcentres are referring people to libraries to use the free computers to compile their CVs, search and apply for jobs

West Midlands-based library service, January 2010

As noted in a previous post, it remains to be seen how far the cultural sector’s ability to continue to deliver these positive impacts will be compromised if access to funding is reduced.

Download the latest cultural sector recession snapshot (pdf, 311kb)

Previous recession snapshots

If you would like to receive the economic snapshot for the cultural sector directly please get in touch with Lauren (lauren.amery@artscouncil.org.uk / 0121 631 5705). Also, please feel free to comment on this research in the comments below.

Photo by kpishdadi

One Response

  1. […] It was the best of times, it was the worst of times « Observations – Despite a positive performance in the last quarter of 2009, the Cultural Observatorys latest recession snapshot suggests the West Midlands cultural sector is facing a period of funding uncertainty. […]

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