Final year students examine how Brexit will affect the arts and culture in Manchester

  • Final year Music, Culture and Arts students have been looking at how Brexit will affect arts and culture in Manchester 

Business and high-rise corporations will not be the only thing affected by Brexit – the arts are also facing a time of major uncertainty.

The UK is full of art, culture and academic institutions that revolve around connecting with various creative organisations.

And the future of a tradition of rich culture and arts in Greater Manchester could all hinge on whether the MPs approve the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, currently going through Parliament, or whether the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal on 31 October.

Dog Ears, Spider Eye and Moving Cinema are all UK media and arts companies which cater for young people and students, and all could be at risk.

The European Art-Science-Technology Network which is partnered with The University of Manchester receives £1.3m in grants alone.

According to the entertainment newspaper The Stage, arts in England could lose £40m in funding every year after Brexit.

In the case of a ‘No deal’ outcome, payments to UK beneficiaries are expected to cease after the leave date, based on a clause which has been inserted into all Creative Europe guidelines since 2017. 

Abandoning the EU could potentially result in a loss of €1.46bn of funding granted to the creative industries, impacting profoundly on the cultural climate of creative Britain.

In September, the EU Commission stated  that in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal, the EU would continue payments until the end of 2020 to projects run by Creative Europe.

But this is only if the UK accepts and fulfils the conditions already set out in the 2019 contingency regulation, pays its budget contributions for 2020 and allows the required audits and controls to take place. Either way, this outcome is subject to the offer being accepted by the UK government, and will be decided in the course of the EU leave negotiations. 

In a deal scenario, the UK will leave the EU on terms agreed by both parties. This agreement will set out the nature of UK/EU collaboration immediately after Brexit, as well as setting the terms for negotiations about their longer-term relationship. Creative Europe and other EU funding programmes are expected to be a part of any such agreement.

“The report into the EU’s financial contributions, authored by Euclid, found that between 2007 and 2016, an average of £40m was invested in England’s arts, museums and creative industries each year, totalling £345m,” said The Stage.

Between the period of 2007 and 2013, The National Football Museum, which has 750,000 visitors each year, received £3.8m from the EU. Media City received £6.8, as well as The People’s History Museum that just had recent re-development funded with a £12.5m grant from the European Regional Development Fund.

There are other redevelopments that serve the people of Manchester, including Victoria Station, funded with a £10.8m grant from the ERDF. The construction of the new Graphene Institute was 30 per cent funded by the ERDF: the EU contributed £23m of the £61m cost.

Salford-based Walk the Plank theatre is funded by Arts Council England which receives EU funding. Their online statement reads: “As an outdoor arts organisation that has always had a wanderlust for working in different countries and collaborating with artists from a broad spectrum of different cultures, our natural instinct towards the Referendum was that we should remain in the European Union.”

They add: “Walk The Plank believes that art should not be restricted by political or geographical parameters.”

Arts Council figures show that total spending by local government in England on arts and culture development and support between 2010 and 2015 had been reduced by almost one-fifth, tending to hit regions outside London the hardest. If this trend continues after EU funding ceases arts and cultural spending is likely to be reduced even further.

Creative Europe, which is regulated by the EU and provides arts funding, said: “If the United Kingdom withdraws from the EU during the grant period without concluding an agreement with the EU ensuring in particular that British applicants continue to be eligible, you will cease to receive EU funding or be required to leave the project.”

  • Listen to an NQ podcast on the subject of Brexit and the arts
  • Additional reporting by Tia Armstrong