Risks, Rights and Reputations – challenging a risk averse culture

Risks, Rights and Reputations is led by Index on Censorship in partnership with What Next? and Cause4.

Risks, Rights and Reputations takes on our increasingly risk averse culture. This vital training for CEOs and chairs of trustee boards is aimed at ensuring arts and cultural organisations across the country have the tools to handle difficult subjects and sensitive stories to deliver the best work possible. 

Navigating the rights and responsibilities of art that explores socially sensitive work can appear daunting, risky and time-consuming; the prospect of controversy, protest, police intervention and possible closure or cancellation because the work is provocative, or the funder is controversial, can be powerful disincentives.

And yet great art has always fuelled controversy, and experimentation and risk taking are integral to achieving excellent, relevant art.

The aim of this practical, informative and thought-provoking workshop is to support arts organisations to reinforce the arts as a space that asks the most difficult questions of our time. Specialists in freedom of expression, fundraising and diversitywill offer tools for senior managers and trustees to open up discussion and develop understanding within their organisations about:

  • the impact on freedom of expression of arts organisations involved in recent controversies in the arts
  • the value of creating an ethical fundraising policy
  • the legal and rights framework supporting artistic freedom in the UK
  • expectations relating to the role of the police in managing controversies triggered by artwork

“In recent years there have been an increasing number of high-profile cases raising ethical and censorship issues around plays, exhibitions and other artworks. Censorship – and self-censorship – can stand in the way of great art. That’s why Arts Council England is committed to supporting those organisations who are taking creative risks. It’s important such organisations are aware of relevant legislation and the excellent guidance that exists as well as, crucially, being supported by colleagues across the sector in similar situations. This programme is an important step in ensuring that our sector can continue to create vital, challenging, and risk-taking work.” Sir Nick Serota – Chair of Arts Council England.

Training Schedule

Date ACE Region Venue Hosts
26 Feb 2018 North Home, Manchester Dave Moutrey (CEO) and Jonty Claypole (Chair)
25 Apr 2018 London Southbank, London Jude Kelly (CEO) and Elaine Bedell (Chair – tbc)
23 May 2018 South West Watershed, Bristol
11 October 2018 Yorkshire Hull Central Library, Hull  Michelle Alford
15 November 2018 London Young Vic, London Kwame Kwei-Armah
21 November 2018 Midlands New Arts Exchange, Nottingham Skinder Hundal (CEO) and Sukhy Johal, MBE (chair)

A further session in London will be confirmed shortly. 

For further information about Risks, Rights and Reputations, please contact Julia Farrington, associate producer at julia@indexoncensorship.org