What you have to tell the Arts Council before you see the money

What you have to tell the Arts Council before you see the money


norman lebrecht

July 29, 2020

From a standard form to all grant requesters:

1. What category of staff are you in?

Specialist Staff – refers to directors, producers, artistic directors, educational, marketing and audience development staff


Other staff – administrative and technical staff

2. Please select your gender identity:

Female (including trans women)

Male (including trans men)

Non-binary (e.g. androgyne)

Prefer not to say

3. Is your gender identity different to the sex you were assigned at birth?



Prefer not to say

4. Please select your sexual orientation:


Gay Man

Gay Woman/Lesbian



Prefer not to say

5. Please select your age category:






Prefer not to say

6. Please select your ethnicity:

White British

White Irish

Gypsy or Irish Traveller

Any other White background

White and Black Caribbean

White and Black African

White and Asian

Any other Mixed background





Any other Asian background

Black African

Black Caribbean

Any other Black background


Any other ethnic group

Prefer not to say

7. Do you have a disability/impairment?



Prefer not to say



  • Tom Varley says:

    What do I think of this? I prefer not to say.

  • operacentric says:

    And if you answer “Prefer not to say” to all these questions, is it allowed to discriminate on other grounds?

  • Experienced Arts administrator says:

    Indeed, this sums up a significant part of the process of how the Arts are government-funded in the UK. It’s not really about how excellent are your performances – it’s about ticking the right boxes.

    Interesting to see that technicians are not considered by ACE to be “specialists” – but marketing and audience development people are. That puts a lot of immensely skilled people in their place.

    But so long as the Arts Council has a near-monopoly in dishing out goverment Arts money in England, people dare not challenge them.

  • jay says:

    It seems the lunatics are now in command.

  • Dave says:

    How long until these Art Council members are sued by asking these questions? I can see plenty of people refusing to answer these inappropriate questions, money or no money.

  • Judith Cohen says:

    Thanks Norman!

    This drivel which now passes for modern intellectualism will mark the speedy death of classical music, opera and arts of all types.

    My hope is that the creators of this enlightened Marxism enter the nearest Psychiatric Hospital for their education-induced psychosis and find the right blend of meds during their long-term, in-patient experience.

    Getting off of street drugs would also help these narcissistic boobs.

    The November re-election of Trump in the states should induce quite an avalanche of their enmity and customary violence sending them directly to Psych Wards where they can get care. Hope NHS sets up accordingly too!

    • MDR says:

      Can’t wait to hear what you have to say when he isn’t re-elected.

    • Alan says:

      Sadly this type of question has been around for many years.
      At least a decade I’d say. Problem is, most people completing these forms are happy to jump through these hoops because they see nothing wrong with these questions. Now Marxism, post modernism is rife within the Art sector and most University music depts/ Conservatoires.

    • Vaquero357 says:

      Um…. do you know something that we here in the U.S. don’t? Because Trump’s chances for re-election are looking poorer with every passing week.

  • Minutewaltz says:

    If an applicant ticks ‘prefer not to say’ on all the boxes does that decrease thei chances of getting funding?

  • Dave T says:

    Parody, right?

  • Paul Brownsey says:

    Yes. I remember an art exhibition in Edinburgh some years ago when one of the staff, somewhat embarrassedly, asked us if as visitors we would fill in a form that asked such questions. Apparently, the Scottish funding authorities required visitors to be quizzed thus. Lying is something I almost never do, but on that occasion, a white gay male without disability, I ticked the boxes indicating I was a black disabled lesbian single mother.

  • Eric says:

    You don’t have to tell them very much by the looks of it. Just keep ticking ‘prefer not to say.’

  • Minutewaltz says:

    Does tucking ‘prefer not to say’ decrease chances of funding?

    • Allen says:

      The following words spring to mind, for some obscure reason:

      Snowball Chance Hell Pigs Fly Don’t Hold Breath Once Blue Moon Hell Freeze Over

  • Nick says:

    Truly DISGUSTING from the first to the last word! Racist, sexist, violently biased!!

  • Bostin'Symph says:

    What an extraordinary number of form-filling hurdles to jump, and I guess that’s just page 1. I suspect it’s to assist their own box-ticking.

    Also, as a white man of Mid-European origin, I’m always slightly cross when I have to tick ‘White other.’ I usually feel very at home in Britain, so having my ‘otherness’ emphasize doesn’t feel too welcoming!

  • Anonymous says:

    There were a lot more questions than those illustrated above!

  • Andrew says:

    Biological realists need not apply. Groupthink uber alles.

  • Simon says:

    Come on everyone. These are standard equality/diversity questions which are commonly asked in almost any job advert/application. They are usually detached from the application but allow ACE, to answer questions often asked of them by government. Get a grip.

    • SVM says:

      But does the relevant ACE form include something to the effect of: “this section is used for statistical purposes only, and will be anonymised and detached from the rest of your application; completion is completely voluntary, and will have no bearing whatsoever on the outcome of your application”? If not, then we have a serious problem.

      And even if it were, I must say I have a problem with the common practice of these “standard equality/diversity questions” being hosted on the same online application system as the application itself. I would prefer to see employers and others send an automated invitation/link to complete an equality/diversity survey **hosted by a third party approved by the Market Research Society** only after the application has been actually submitted.

    • Alan says:

      Yes Simon that might be correct but does that make it right?

    • V. Lind says:

      Here in Canada this sort of question was outlawed years ago. I remember being shocked on a visit back to the UK to see job applications that were age-specific, or sex-specific. At the time such things would have had the putative employers up before the Human Rights Commission, or sued, and certainly pilloried in the public presses.

      I am sure we are no more exempt from wokeness than any other place, but for years the papers were not even allowed to identify people accused of crimes as, say, French-Canadian. (Names tended to be the tip-off, though clearly not infallible — a major Quebec separatist back in the bad old days was called Robert Burns).

      How can this be going on in Britain, where there is such delicacy about race relations that a paedophile ring, whose identities are well-known, were never identified by their national origin in much of the press? I sometimes wonder if APBs can even identify fleeing perps accurately, so anxious is the establishment to avoid charges of racial profiling.

      But what else is this?

      The focus has changed, I guess. Not for the better. Here the threat is to professional excellence in the name of “inclusion.” In law and order it is the danger of looking the other way rather than owning up to the fact that so many crimes — disproportionate to community sizes — are sourced from specific minority communities. The effects on education have been ludicrous. The effects on women-only spaces are potentially very alarming. The effect on using your noggin, and on telling it like it is, are disastrous.

      Cry, the Beloved Country…once the eloquent title of an eloquent book about somewhere else. Now it is a lament for a nation, as a Canadian writer once wrote in another context.

      I wish British people would wake up to the woke — and stand up to them.

  • I was so sure it was April 1 that I had to check my calendar…

  • MDR says:

    You people have clearly never applied for a job within the past 10+ years if you’ve never seen an ‘equality & diversity‘ form.

  • Rural arts campaigner says:

    All I’ll say is that, when trying to bring a range of arts to rural settings, the level of discrimination brought against many such communities has been much too high for years.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen fools try and seek funding from ACE to prop-up organisations that obviously have a poor business plan, believing that they should be sustained out of an arrogant view of their own self-importance.

    However, there are many groups that just want to bring a modest something-or-other to their community – a theatrical event, a classical concert, a poetry day – and can’t because the expectations on a gathering of rural hamlets are often set at the same level as those of a thrusting community centre in an ethnically diverse, urban setting.

    Horses for courses.