What Arts Council England are paying a researcher

What Arts Council England are paying a researcher


norman lebrecht

September 19, 2011

The job has just been tweeted.

It’s £51,000 for a 35-hour week.

Admittedly, the job is described as Director, Research & Knowledge, but from what I can tell it’s no more than a glorified researcher, calling in papers and pushing them around for the satisfaction of a complacent bureaucracy.

You may rest assured that no such sinecure was devised by Maynard Keynes for the Arts Council, nor did it exist before the bloated Blair years –  since when the council’s primary aim has been to protect its own jobs.

The very job title is redundant. It is the duty of every Arts Council official to familiarise him or herself with conditions in their art form and report the conclusions back to base so that subsidy can be fairly and efficiently assessed.

A director of research and knowledge, working seven hours a day (and you can bet they will clock-watch) is exactly what the arts do not need in these cost-cutting times – the more so when most people I know in the arts are working 12-14 hour days, minimum, and for less pay.

It’s everything that’s wrong with ACE in a tweet.



  • Russell Jones says:

    Norman I think you are being a bit unfair, particularly the assumption that people clock watch just because they work at the Arts Council. My thirty years experence of working with ACE staff is that they care passionately about the arts and work very hard in suppt of their clients. Like all if us they do a day at the office and then often attend an evening event, etc. On the need for the post I think more data is essential and that we lack so much of it in our field. Think how much the for-profit sector invests in research. I do agree absolutely that a tight, clear job spec is essential to ensure 100% relevance of the post to ACE clients.

  • Nick Burns says:

    I wonder how many performers in the UK can match that salary

  • Tony says:

    You are not in the least unfair, Norman. What this department must spend in total would be much better spent to fund music education, in several boroughs most probably.

    The job description is titled “NAF1”. That sums it up for me. Another big waste of public money, with a larger iceberg of overpaid wasters below the surface. While music education gets crushed and orchestras get pinched for cash ACE keeps spending public money like water. £51k is a large scale amount of money in comparison with what many music professionals currently earn in the real world further from public funding and outside the BBC.

    These are the equivalents of the armies of superior looking BMW driving managers with clipboards and yellow plastic hats who turn up to watch one poor underpaid guy digging a hole in the road for the Gas Board.

    Empire building at the taxpayer’s expense. Nothing more, nothing less.

  • Gary Carpenter says:

    It almost seems ridiculous to say it – but there was a time when the principle was generally accepted – but arts admin costs should never really exceed more than 10% of the total budget. Anything else is indulgence, inefficiency or greed; and certainly no example of the efficiency models demanded by those organisations who do not themselves stay within those limits.

  • Orchestra Manager No.10, Op.70 says:

    I’d love to see an advertisement for a job in arts management that designates official working hours as 12-14 hours a day. They all have a salary based on 35 hours a week. That doesn’t mean you will actually work 35 hours a week. Those are just the hours that you get paid for. The reality is, for any of these jobs, no-one runs out the door at 5pm. It is simply expected that you continue to work until the job gets done, and then go from the office to whatever evening performance or networking event requires your attention.