More work for no play at England's Arts Council

More work for no play at England's Arts Council


norman lebrecht

June 15, 2011

Just when you thought things could get no more dysfunctional in the world of arts cuts. you can trust the ACE to celebrate its own absurdity.

With theatres, orchestras, arts companies and museums laying off experienced staff up and down the land, Liz Forgan’s Arts Council has announced four job vacancies for Relationship Managers in London (£31,000 p.a. ‘with excellent benefits’) and Cambridge (£29,000).

What does a Relationship Manager do? Conciliate and arbitrate? Mend ruptured alliances? Refer to a qualified counsellor? Sort out child care?

Nothing so useful. Here’s the job description. Read it, then ask why we are squandering scarce resources on civil service desk jockeys when belts are tight, artists are on the dole and some companies cannot afford to put on a new play. Read it, and despair.

We are looking for a specialist Relationship Manager with a depth of knowledge and experience of the music sector. The successful candidate will have significant experience of working with a diverse range of music organisations, performing companies and relevant partner agencies including local authorities. In particular, we are interested in candidates with specialist knowledge and experience of opera and music theatre, learning and participation.

The post-holder will be the primary ACE contact for a range of high profile music organisations and must be competent to assess all aspects of organisational performance: both artistic outputs and ambition, and management/finance.

The successful candidate will demonstrate excellent skills in collaboration, influencing and advocacy, with the ability to work both independently and as part of a team.



  • Why cut down so precious as culture? What is so wrong with it? There is none! It’s a horrendous disaster taking place. We must stop this at once and start giving lectures, concerts, manifestations with the aim to encourage and maintain our cultural heritages, artistic achievements and to see the development in the latest and past of music, arts and sciences. Building networks across for the arts importance in people’s minds.

    What do you think?

    All best, Benjamin

  • Derek Warby says:

    Just another example of the appalling arrogance of the Arts Council wallowing in its own self-perceived, misplaced self-importance. The criteria described in the job descriptions should already be fulfilled by existing staff. If present staff don’t have this most basic level of experience and expertise, what on earth are they doing deciding the futures (or lack of them) of cultural organisations in the UK? To my mind, this ad actually sees the Arts Council admitting its incompetence.

  • Barry says:

    The Department of Administrative Affairs?

  • Tim says:

    Derek – these are not new posts; they will be replacing staff who are leaving (not surprising given that everyone there will soon be under notice of redundancy). ‘Relationship Manager’ is the new (and not very good) job title for what used to be called officers – the front line staff who liaise with arts organisations to ensure public money is being well spent and advise senior management on artistic matters. This isn’t really a story…

  • dennis marks says:

    I think the problem is terminology. Sounds like they’ve just given a new jargon infected handle to the old officers.