Arts Council England (ACE) EU Exit Guide


The United Kingdom is due to withdraw from the European Union. It is important for cultural organisations to assess the risks and opportunities that Brexit poses, so that they can prepare as well as possible. ACE has published a guide that shares relevant government information to help arts and cultural organisations prepare in the event that the UK exits from the European Union without a withdrawal agreement. Ian Duckworth (Associate Director of Research, Barker Langham Recruitment) summarises the Brexit information and comments on its major impacts.


The EU Exit Guide from ACE provides information on Brexit for the arts, museums and libraries. The guide considers the effects of one scenario - a “No Deal” exit from the EU – and is also concerned with England and not the UK. It acts as a guide only and makes reference to a number of external sources, so should be read with the understanding that matters contained therein may be subject to change.

Three main issues of leaving the EU that are covered which will be impactful for our clients and candidates are:


The reports have difficulty putting a figure on the amount of money from the EU coming to the Arts and Cultural sector in England between 2007 and 2016. But funding from Creative Europe, European Regional Development Fund, Horizon 2020, European Social Fund and Erasmus has been received and will disappear on the UK leaving the EU. Cornwall will be particularly affected, as it is a structural fund region of the European Regional Development Fund. For example, Creative Kernow in Redruth – a centre for creativity in Cornwall and funded mainly by EU money - would most probably disappear.

Ease of Movement

When it comes to ease of movement for the cultural sector people, 70.8% of arts organization actively involved in European touring or other European activity say “no deal” will have a negative impact on them, though a much smaller 6.4% act as lead partner in a European Event. The importance of ease of movement is emphasised by the statement from Askonas Holt – a management company specializing in classical music and dance - that ‘every artist and performing group benefits from the free movement of people and labour throughout the EU to make their performance as seamless as possible.’

Legal and Regulatory Framework

Potentially the present agreements on Intellectual Property (IP) and copyright are at risk, as are Artist re-sale and employment rights. However it looks like the inextricable nature of fifty years of law would mean wholesale adoption of much of the existing EU law by the UK even in a no deal exit scenario. The restrictions on any artistic activity would really come with the amount of ‘friction’ replacing the present unrestricted single market for working and touring within the EU.

Note: The guide was last updated March 27, 2019, although ACE say that they will continue to update the guide as further information becomes available. In such uncertain times, we certainly hope that this is the case. As Harold Wilson (1916-95) who served twice as Great Britain’s Prime Minister during one of the greatest periods of social and industrial change in the twentieth century said – “a week is a long time in politics”.

What do you think? Please do post your comments below.

Read the full guide here


Ian Duckworth
Associate Director of Research, Barker Langham Recruitment

Ian is experienced in Human Resources and Recruitment, where he has planned and delivered his recruiting services for clients such as the British Museum, Tate, Science Museum, Natural History Museum, Imperial War Museum, National Museums Liverpool (all UK), the Cradle of Humankind and De Beers ‘Big Hole’ (South Africa).

Ian has 15 years of public and private sector experience in global (including USA and Russia) Museums and Galleries across Nationals, Internationals, Local Authorities and Independent Trusts. His most recent projects at Barker Langham Recruitment has been providing human resources consultancy services and staff recruitment for the Strelka Institute in Moscow, Russia; recruiting a senior staff member for a new national museum in Oman; providing organisational, training, and human resources consultancy work for Shindagha Museum in Dubai, UAE; and also delivering human resources, organisational planning and human resources consulting services to Japan House in London, UK. 

Ian has published global research and development work including Museums and Heritage training, competency frameworks, skills transfer and recruitment trends analysis. He holds a Diploma in European Cultural Studies from Warwick University, a Diploma in Art Gallery and Museum Studies from the University of Manchester and a BA History (Hons) from King’s College London. Ian is fluent in English and Catalan.

Flora KissComment