We were sad to see yet another network and support organisation announce closure.
Arts Development UK – the national network for those working in the creative industries – largely aimed at Arts Managers working in institutions and Local Authorities, has now confirmed that it has ceased operations from 1st April 2018. A resolution was passed unanimously at the ADUK AGM which took place on 22nd March, with the next three months being mapped out as a final period to close the charity. The following is the official notice letter written by their Chair and posted on their website:
As Chair of Arts Development UK I am writing to share with you a very difficult discussion that the trustees needed to have about the future of the organisation. Arts Development UK has a long and successful history stretching back over 35 years, and has done much to raise the profile of arts in local communities and to develop our sector. However, as you are aware, the landscape for Arts Development UK has become more and more challenging over the past few years. Significant numbers of local authorities have lost their arts development services and officers, or have had to operate with greatly reduced budgets, and our ability to raise income through subscriptions has reduced year on year.
Careful financial management has meant that the charity has been able to operate within those reducing means, however over the past year this has been at the expense of the conference, seminar programme, and administrative support. The over-riding principle for trustees has always been the consideration of how to meet the objectives of the charity: to provide effective support to you, our membership. The trustees therefore concluded that Arts Development UK has reached the point where it could not provide that effective support and remain sustainable on its current income level. This has been despite all of our best efforts to increase membership, including from the H.E. sector and bidding for grants. This was a difficult decision to reach, however all the trustees were in agreement that the charity could not carry on as it had been.
At the last Trustees meeting, and after careful consideration with our Regional Coordinators, Trustees agreed that it was not appropriate to charge subscriptions for another year, and that the only possible next step would be to carry out a managed closure of Arts Development UK. To this effect, a resolution to close Arts Development will be put to the membership at the AGM on 22nd March 2018, taking place at Toynbee Studios in London. All members are welcome to attend.
Alongside the winding up process, our first priority has been to make sure that all our members were able to join an appropriate alternative organisation, able to provide the support they require. We know that members particularly value the regular communication provided by the e-zine, the CPD opportunities of the conference and seminar programme, and the knowledge that we are all part of a national voice. Therefore, we have opened up strategic discussions with other carefully identified organisations, including the Chief Culture and Leisure Officers Association (cCLOA) and the Artsworks Alliance to support our members in England and in Wales to identify new ways to provide these from April 2018 onwards, and Pete Bryan, our administrator, will be sending out more information about these and other professional membership organisations that some of our members may wish to join in the coming days.
Above all else, I hope that you can find a new home with either one of the organisations we have been talking to, or with another, so that you are able to contribute to and benefit from the networks, professional development, and national advocacy that can be only be achieved through collaboration.
If you have any questions or concerns please do get in touch. Contact details for myself, the trustees, and our national administrator are listed below.
Chair of ADUK