Cultural Olympiad funding – internal review finds Arts Council “innocent”

Arts Council England has found no evidence of malpractice in the way it funded “artist-led” projects in Yorkshire, following an investigation by Help Me Investigate user Carol Lee.

Following an internal review which interviewed only six people, Arts Professional’s Liz Hill suggests that the body is attempting to “reinvent history”:

“Suggesting that the title of the programme ‘Artists Taking the Lead’ was referring to the project selection process, and that the naïve artists who thought they were in with a chance of turning their artistic dreams into reality were ‘mistaken’ about the nature of the funding scheme, is insulting in the extreme.”

Arts Professional reports on the review:

“The report is based on published documents, together with six interviews by Efunshile, five of them with Yorkshire ATTL panel members and one a former member of Leeds City Council. Whilst acknowledging that the expression of interest for the programme was drafted jointly by the Artistic Director of Yorkshire Dance and the City Council’s Head of Arts and Events on behalf of the Leeds Canvas consortium group, Efunshile says: “I do not agree that this is evidence that the bid was not artist-led or that the bid was in fact Leeds City Council led.” She admits that the “guidance was clear that ‘Ideas cannot be accepted from organisations which are not led by artists such as local authorities or higher education institutions…’””

Yorkshire Times reports on Cultural Olympiad funding allegations

The ongoing investigation into conflicts of interest in the awarding of Cultural Olympiad arts funding has now led to reports in the Yorkshire Times.

As previously reported by HMI Olympics, the application process in Yorkshire saw the awarding of funds breaking rules that “artist-led and that local authorities and higher education institutions were ineligible”.

The Yorkshire Times reports:

“Since her initial allegations 70 Yorkshire artists and others have rallied round to support her and question how the Arts Council operated its procedures for awarding the contract for ATTL.

“Ms Lee’s concerns will fuel rumours in the Yorkshire arts world, that have been circulating for some time, that funding for organisations and projects tends to go to those whose “faces fit”. There is evidence that a number of individuals and small arts organisations, whose work has been recognised as high quality, will no longer submit grant applications to the Arts Council, having been turned down several times in the past without adequate explanation. Those who continue to apply are not keen to speak out because they fear they will be disadvantaged when they make future bids for funding.”