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Philanthropy in the arts debated by leading lights of UK’s cultural sector


The President of the Royal Academy and the actor-turned-director of the Young Vic Theatre are among the participants of a cultural conversation in the City of London this week about philanthropy in the arts.

The City of London Corporation, the governing body for the Square Mile, and the Genesis Foundation, which champions the work of young actors, directors, playwrights and musicians, have been working on a series of free ‘Cultural Conversations’ that bring together major figures from London’s arts and cultural scene.

‘Philanthropy in the Arts’will take place online via Zoom Webinar on30 September from 5pm – 6.30pm and can be booked, with further information available by emailing[email protected]

Hosted virtually by Lord Mayor of the City of London, William Russell, at The Mansion House and chaired by journalist and broadcaster, Kirsty Lang, ‘Philanthropy in the Arts’ will be debated by:

  • Artistic Director of the Young Vic, Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE
  • Senior Global Director at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Dame Julia Peyton-Jones OBE
  • President of the Royal Academy of Arts, Rebecca Salter PRA
  • Chair of Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota CH
  • Founder and Chairman of the Genesis Foundation, John Studzinski CBE

Among the topics under discussion, the informal conversation is expected to examine the difference between arts funding and the role of philanthropy in the UK, the US and Europe; how COVID-19 has affected arts funding; and how we should ensure that philanthropic giving is ethical.

Lord Mayor William Russell said:

“This third and final talk in the series brings together a hugely impressive panel of guests who, between them, have a wealth of experience in their chosen fields.

“I have always been passionate about the arts and culture, so I am looking forward to a lively and thought-provoking debate, which will invariably touch upon the dreadful financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic upon our arts and cultural institutions.”

Founder and Chairman of the Genesis Foundation, John Studzinski CBE, said:

“The Genesis Foundation has been delighted to support the Lord Mayor’s series of ‘cultural conversations’ to examine critical areas of the intersection between the arts and society.

“Time and time again, our work over the last 20 years with leading arts organisations has shown us how the arts and culture have the power to transform society and people’s lives. This series of talks has presented many valuable insights and experiences, and I am sure that ‘Philanthropy in the Arts’ will be no exception.”

The online event forms part of Lord Mayor William Russell’s mayoral theme –‘Global UK – Trade, Innovation & Culture’, which he is promoting at home and during virtual overseas visits during his mayoralty.

The City of London Corporation, which is headed by Lord Mayor William Russell, is the fourth largest funder of heritage and cultural activities in the UK and invests over £100m everyyear.

The City Corporation is also developing Culture Mile – a new home for contemporary culture in the ancient heart of London’s working capital. Led by the City of London Corporation, with the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra and Museum of London, together they are creating a vibrant cultural and creative area in the north-west corner of the Square Mile between Farringdon and Moorgate.

This investment in a new cultural and creative destination for London includes £197m funding to support the Museum of London’s move to West Smithfield and £6.8m to support the detailed business case for the proposed Centre for Music.


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