Arts programme


This programme is primarily aimed at increasing people’s experience, enjoyment and involvement in the arts, with a particular focus on young people.

This year, we have worked against a backdrop of challenging economic circumstances and uncertainty for artists and the arts sector, working closely with other public and private funding bodies to share expertise and develop a better understanding of the impact of the recession.

New Special Initiative

The year has seen some important developments in the Arts programme’s Special Initiatives.

Following an extensive and thorough consultation and research process started in 2008, trustees approved £1.47m towards a new five-year action-research Special Initiative to support artists working in participatory settings. The initiative will develop and work closely with three to four collaborative pathfinders that will each span initial training, continuous professional development and employers’ needs. We will be appointing a Project Director and a Steering Group during 2010/11.

Work on the Breakthrough Fund has continued to bring us into close contact with applicants and grantees. As per the Fund’s original conception – as a three-year annual funding initiative to be followed by evaluation of its impact – this year we made the third and final round of grants. Over the three years of the Fund, PHF has identified 19 exceptional individuals at critical points in their development – whether they are an emerging talent, reaching full stride in their work or at the pinnacle of their career – to whom we provide support that will make a significant difference to them and to the organisations in which they work. The application process was a bespoke journey that enabled applicants to engage in ‘blue-skies’ thinking, develop their creative vision and consider their own professional development needs. We believe this was valuable even when we did not make a grant.

We have commissioned a consultant, Kate Tyndall, to carry out an extensive evaluation of the Breakthrough Fund that will start in 2010/11. We will publish the findings and share them as widely as possible within the sector 1.

We awarded the last of the five JADE Fellowships in 2009, to Independent Ballet Wales and Amy Doughty. With the awards now made, we have turned our attention to maximising the impact of the dissemination of our findings from the initiative. Together with the Clore Leadership Programme and Dancers’ Career Development, we organised a symposium, held in May 2010, to explore what makes a good transition after a successful dance career. The event celebrated our Fellowships in the context of what else is available to dancers, providing a much wider legacy for the dance sector 2.

Changing context for Open Grants

We support organisations and groups through our Open Grants scheme, concentrating on work that is transformational at three levels: for the participants, for the funded organisations themselves and, more generally, for the sector in which they operate.

Over the past year we have experienced a decrease in the number of applications to our Arts Open Grants scheme. Whilst this is counter-intuitive in the context of a recession, it is a pattern that is consistent with what other charitable grant-makers are reporting. Investment through our Open Grants programme is comparable with previous years and we have provided core support and capacity-building grants for a small number of organisations that we feel are important to the sector and are working with vulnerable and excluded communities to improve access and increase enjoyment in the arts.

Nevertheless, creativity and ideas do not go away in a recession, and new forms of creative expression and production have emerged – often through inhabiting the margins and encouraging participation in the arts across generations. We have seen a relative shift where, increasingly, artists view their practice as having a social purpose, with engagement becoming a key part of the creative process in making an artwork. Whether they be a film, a piece of music, or a play, the final artworks explore the concerns of the artist and their creative trajectory, but also place equal importance on the collective and individual creative expression of the participants – valuing the process undertaken to arrive at this point.

New practices

New ways of working and new economies of scale are evident in practice across the UK, especially as access to the arts has been increasingly democratised  in recent years and there has been a significant change in the way we socialise, network and consume through the rapid advancement of technology 3. The old debate of professional and amateur arts has taken on renewed vigour in a world where the boundaries between consumers and producers are blurred. Artists, arts organisations and audiences have been quick to respond to these changes and this has been reflected in the proposals that we have encountered in the past year to all of our grant programmes.

One fascinating example of new interactions between performers and audience was seen in the Philharmonia Orchestra’s Re-Rite project. By allowing members of the public to conduct, play and step inside the orchestra, through audio and video projections of musicians performing Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, the project added a new dimension to our thinking about digital engagement.

Re-Rite first opened to the public at the Bargehouse on London’s South Bank on 3 November 2009. The project shows every section of the Orchestra performing The Rite of Spring simultaneously ‘as live’. The public are able to sit amongst sections of the orchestra, perform in the percussion section, or take up the baton and control sections of the orchestra as they play, providing both an educational and a fun experience. The artwork is currently on tour with the orchestra.

As a new economic picture emerges – but at a time when the future of public arts funding is uncertain – we believe that the arts have an important role to play in education and social cohesion, and are as essential as ever to quality of life. Indeed, despite the recession, theatres are reporting higher box office figures and museums and galleries have seen increased attendance. We see our investment in innovation, change, participation and engagement as a vital contribution to a confident arts sector that is able to push creative boundaries, respond quickly to the changing world and ensure that our artists and arts organisations are valued. The arts can offer optimism in troubled times and our aim is to enable people to experience and enjoy them so that we can help nurture a new creative future for all.

Special Initiatives

Breakthrough Fund

Support for exceptional cultural entrepreneurs

£1,315,731 in 2009/10

A successful arts economy requires not only great artists but also talented and visionary people who can enable great things to happen. Paul Hamlyn Foundation set up the Breakthrough Fund, over an initial period of three years, to support exceptional cultural entrepreneurs with a compelling vision and a strong track record of making things happen. This was the third and final round of the Fund as it was originally devised.

Funders are rarely willing to commit at a stage where a vision exists but is not yet fully clear in terms of deliverable activities, resourcing and risk. Through the Breakthrough Fund, PHF commits funding earlier in the cycle, trusting grantees to develop and realise their plans and achieve significant outcomes through the Fund’s support.

PHF has worked hard to adapt its levels of support and involvement to suit each individual and their evolving needs for support, mentoring or advice. The decision-making and the grant relationship are centered on individuals, but made to the organisation with which they work. We have tried to nurture the most supportive of environments for our grantees.

In this final year of selection, a new grouping of 15 nominators (all different from the previous two years) was appointed to help us spot suitable nominees. This led to PHF receiving 43 proposals, from which five grants were made:

  • Maria Balshaw/Whitworth Art Gallery – £260,000
  • Stewart Laing/Untitled Projects – £273,300
  • Matt Peacock/Streetwise Opera – £83,157
  • Simon Pearce/The Invisible Dot Ltd – £220,000
  • Gavin Wade/Eastside Projects – £360,000

Over the last three years, 15 grants have been made to 19 people. Each of the grants runs for three or four financial years. Whilst there were no criteria of geography, art form, age or gender, we welcome the strong mix that has emerged. Some of the first cycle of grants will complete in spring 2011 and it is likely that some of the third cycle of grants will continue well into 2014. PHF will evaluate both the impact of the grants and the outcomes they have achieved as they complete. We are also interested in measuring the impact of the particular grant-giving approach that the Fund has taken. We will share our findings as they emerge.

Awards for Artists

Support for individual artists

£409,264 in 2009/10

This year we again made three awards to composers and five to visual artists:

2009 Composers

Chris Batchelor, Tansy Davies, Philip Jeck

2009 Visual Arts

Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Mark Dean, Melanie Gilligan, Seamus Harahan, Mary Redmond

“The Award will be an enabler, helping me to continue to explore and advance my work. This is a chance to make music without any prescribed path or foreseen ending. In other words – artistic freedom.”

-Philip Jeck, 2009 recipient

“These awards are really about the activities of artists rather than their status and I am most grateful for this opportunity to develop new work in new situations.”

– Mark Dean, 2009 recipient

Jane Attenborough Dance in Education (JADE) Fellowships

Career development for dancers

£55,494 in 2009/10

Set up in 2005 for five years, the JADE Fellowship is awarded to a professional dancer coming to the end of his/her career and wishing to transfer their skills to dance education and community work. The Fellowships commemorate PHF’s former arts manager, Jane Attenborough, who died in the 2004 Asian tsunami. The scheme is based on the belief that professional dancers have valuable qualities and skills to bring to dance in education.

The final JADE Fellowship was awarded to Independent Ballet Wales for dancer Amy Doughty. Mentored by Darius James, the Founder and Artistic Director of IBW and Rubicon Dance (Cardiff Community Dance), the Fellowship will allow Amy to develop her teaching skills, gain experience of management and administration and develop links with other companies and specialist groups. It is anticipated that she will work with Rambert Dance Company and Birmingham Royal Ballet to diversify her experience of dance in community and education settings.

During 2009/10, the third Fellowship, to Tees Valley Dance, came to an end and René Pieters is currently continuing his involvement with the company, both as a lead teacher and occasional performer. He is considering further training, possibly through an MA in Professional Practice.

The Fourth Fellow, Tammy Arjona at Siobhan Davies Dance, has continued to broaden her skills and develop her own creative practice by planning and delivering workshops and courses, teaching for other organisations, and attending events and intensive courses.

In addition to an evaluation that will continue until the end of the last Fellowship in 2011, we have been looking for ways to disseminate learning from the scheme for the benefit of dancers and dance companies across the country. In this spirit, we worked closely with the Clore Leardership Programme and Dancers’ Career Development to organise a joint symposium in May 2010 at London’s Southbank Centre, to discuss career progression for dancers. The five JADE Fellowships, the five Clore Dance Fellowships (funded jointly by DCD and the Linbury Trust) and DCD’s decades of experience provided the springboard for a lively debate with dancers who are considering their future directions and companies who are supporting dancers as they move out of the studio. Material drawn from the symposium, collated by our evaluator Susanne Burns, and a short film from the day, will contribute to the legacy of the JADE Fellowships.

We are extremely grateful to the JADE Steering Group – Michael Holland, Sue Hoyle, Veronica Jobbins and Prue Skene – and most particularly to its Chair, Derek Purnell, for the time, effort, humour and support they have given to PHF over the duration of this important scheme. We would not have been able to achieve so much without them and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude.

Artists Working in Participatory Settings

To support the development of the participatory arts sector

£32,332 in 2009/10 – £1,470,000 approved for the next five years

This brand new initiative, approved by trustees in March 2010, is aimed at developing models to enable artists who work in participatory settings to access support and training opportunities at all stages of their careers, across art forms and geographical areas. Our belief is that, by empowering artists to feel more confident in their participatory work, we will ensure high-quality experiences for participants of all ages and backgrounds.

The past ten years have seen a significant rise in the funding of artist-led participatory work as it has been increasingly placed at the centre of various public service agendas, from revitalising communities to meeting health targets and reducing crime. Despite this growth of opportunities, our research – an extensive consultation process led by consultant Susanne Burns over the last two years – has found little in the way of a strategic overview being taken across the sector to offer support to artists, or even coordination of provision. We also did not find a consistent voice to influence policy and practice.

Our proposed intervention is a five-year action-research programme through three or four pathfinders that will group regional clusters of organisations (likely to include initial training and continuous professional development providers, artists’ bodies and employers) to develop models of good practice that can be shared across disciplines and settings (such as schools, prisons and community groups). We expect partnership working and sharing of learning to be a key feature of the pathfinder projects and we will recruit both a Project Director and a Steering Group to manage this new and exciting programme.

Open Grants scheme

Grants Awarded in 2009/10

Contact Theatre

£200,000 over three years

Contact Theatre is at the forefront of developing practice around engagement with young people. Following a successful pilot phase, PHF’s funding is enabling Contact to scale up Future Fires, a creative leadership programme.

Over a period of three years, our funding will invest in 20 young artists from Manchester’s diverse communities and support them on their journey towards leadership roles. The programme will provide training, mentoring and support to enable these individuals to develop a peer-led creative project in their chosen community and share Contact’s process and practice of working with the sector at large.

Developing new approaches: This work reflects the organisation’s innovative thinking, which offers young people the opportunity to be genuine decision-makers, thereby allowing them to graduate into independent artists and creative leaders.

Ongoing Grants

London Centre for International Storytelling

£39,760 over two years

The Crick Crack Club (CCC), which operates under the umbrella of the London Centre for International Storytelling, is the UK’s longest established performance storytelling promoter. Although performance storytelling across the UK is very active, the sector lacks an infrastructure to support growth and development of storytelling artists.

Our grant has enabled the CCC to produce a series of storytelling performances at the Soho Theatre’s Studio. Together with mentoring from the CCC, this supportive environment provides emerging artists with the opportunity to refine their technical ability and to gain hard-to-come-by experience, thereby equipping the next generation of storytellers with the required skills to hold the stages of larger, more demanding venues. More experienced storytellers benefit from the opportunity to develop their repertoire by trying out new and/or experimental work. Several pieces of work premiered at Soho have already been presented at other venues, thereby providing audiences with a wider, more diverse range of storytelling.

Sector impact: By providing infrastructure to nurture new and existing talent in storytelling, we believe our grant benefits the sector as a whole.

Modern Art Oxford

£150,000 over three years

In June 2008, following the success of a pilot phase, PHF allocated further funding to Modern Art Oxford (MAO) for the development of Art in Rose Hill, a community-based programme of events and artists’ commissions. The funding underpins Art in Rose Hill for a three-year period and has enabled the appointment of a Project Manager.

MAO is now in the third year of the grant and has so far undertaken three artists’ commissions in collaboration with local residents. In addition, ongoing activity includes the development of an artists’ residency within the estate’s Allotment Association, a collaboration with the Rose Hill & Littlemore Children’s Centre on a day-long event celebrating inspirational local women, and Saturdads, a weekly drop-in session for Rose Hill-based male carers.

Organisational development and change: MAO evaluation cites Art in Rose Hill as being a key reason for the formation of closer working relationships between staff, and for joined-up thinking across the organisation. The programme is now a well-established strand within MAO’s overall programme and staff from across internal departments are involved in the steering group, planning sessions and implementation of the work.

Royal Shakespeare Company

£180,000 over three years

Established in 2006, the Learning & Performance Network (LPN) is an action-research programme rooted in the RSC’s Stand up for Shakespeare manifesto. It aims to support long-term change in teaching approaches to Shakespeare in primary and secondary schools.

Our work underpins the whole programme and contributes to work that cascades across England through ‘hub’ schools and clusters of other partner schools in their regions. Accredited through the University of Warwick, 119 teachers and RSC ensemble actors have completed the training to date. The RSC also commissioned CEDAR (Centre for Educational Development Appraisal & Research) at the University of Warwick to evaluate the first three years of the LPN.

Developing practice: The Foundation hosted a round-table discussion in November 2009 to test some of the CEDAR report’s assumptions in terms of the methods and models developed. Attended by over 20 other arts organisations, funders and institutions, the discussions will inform the next phase of the network.

Completed Grants

Pallant House Gallery

£48,766 over 18 months

Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, holds one of the best collections of 20th century British art in the country. Its support of outsider artists began with a pilot of the Outside In project in 2006, and this grant enabled the expansion of the programme to encompass a series of regular workshops and strong relationships with over 20 organisations working with artists who are marginalised due to health, disability or other circumstances.

Outside In culminated in a regional open competition through which 500 artists submitted 830 works. The resulting exhibition, installed across all Gallery spaces from August to November 2009, attracted over 8,000 visitors and toured to Hastings and Salisbury.

Making participation and engagement more visible across the Gallery: Through this programme, the Head of Learning has galvanised support throughout the Gallery, written various articles in journals, addressed delegates at the Museum Association’s conference and generated extensive press coverage around the exhibition itself. Over the next 36 months, a further grant from the Foundation will help to embed this work in Pallant House Gallery, the region and further afield.

“At Contact, young people are a driving force in all that we do: they sit on interview panels, on the board, perform on our main stage, and help to programme the venue. Future Fires helps them become independent and sustainable members of the arts community, as well as responsible citizens.”

– Baba Israel, Artistic Director, Contact Theatre


  • 1 Sharing learning: Other programme evaluations carried out this year include the Reading and Libraries Challenge Fund and Refugee and Asylum Seeker Fund reports (Social Justice) and the evaluation of the Truancy and Exclusion theme in the Education and Learning programme
  • 2 Sector impact: The JADE initiative sought to make a significant contribution to the participatory arts sector by developing dancers’ skills in educational settings. The new initiative on artists working in participatory settings will seek to continue this contribution for artists across a wider range of art forms
  • 3 Participation: An ethos of empowerment for participants runs through several other areas of our work. See in particular Musical Futures and Learning Futures in the Education programme, which both focus on informal learning and the use of technology in shaping pedagogic practice