The ACE Visual Arts team will be steeling themselves for inevitable accusations of racism having heavily cut funding to Iniva, the Otolith Group, Third Text, Visiting Arts and the International Curators Forum (which seems to have disappeared entirely). And it does look like that there has been a policy decision across ACE to start to disinvest from “Cultural Diversity”- the made-up tag to cover arts organisations that are non-white-British focused. In Combined Arts, Rich Mix took a big hit as did the theatre group Talawa.
The interesting thing here will be to see whether ACE can be upfront about what seems like a significant policy shift. Cultural Diversity was big for them in the 1990s, particularly when David Lammy was in charge at DCMS. But prominent figures like Munira Mirza have long-knocked it for being simplistic, patronising and box-ticking. And artists such as Chris Ofili, Steve McQueen and Anish Kapoor have been overt about steering away from the topic and insisting that viewers simply look at their art-works as they would with any other artist (not easy, if you’re staring into a hellish, blue Kapoor void mind you).