Public Art and Building Schools for the Future (BSF): Review and Guidance

A new coalition Government took office in the UK on 11th May 2010. As a result, Public Art and Building Schools for the Future (BSF): Review and Guidance analyses the previous government’s policy, which is currently being reviewed. This document will be used as a position document and a benchmark against which ixia can measure the changes which are currently being proposed and implemented by the new coalition government.

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The government states that BSF is the biggest single investment in improving school buildings for over fifty years. It intends to rebuild or refurbish every secondary school in England – transforming education through the creation of inspirational learning environments. Moreover, the government intends BSF to play a significant role in local regeneration initiatives and, in light of the current recession, the national economic recovery, by stimulating investment and supporting the construction industry. ixia’s review and guidance on public art and the BSF process has been conducted in response to the growing number of public art commissions within BSF programmes and recent changes to national BSF guidance documents. It is now a requirement that every local authority sets up a mandatory Cultural Stakeholder Group (CSG) to champion the arts, culture and cultural learning within its BSF programme. The CSG’s work includes advising on the provision of arts spaces within BSF schools and undertaking a Strategic and Facilities Audit in order to assess and develop links between BSF and existing and emerging arts and cultural organisations and initiatives. As a result, the role that public art can perform within BSF is highlighted and promoted. To download a free copy of ixia’s review please click here. This document should be read in conjunction with Partnerships for School’s (PfS) guidance document: Requirements and guidance on culture for local authorities entering the second half of the Building Schools for the Future programme.

This review is aimed at all those involved in the delivery of BSF schools and public art commissioning. It focuses on the current relationship between public art and BSF and its findings have been used to provide guidance on the engagement of artists within BSF programmes. ixia has conducted this review in discussion with artists; local authority public art, arts and BSF officers; public art consultants and arts and public art organisations; architects and other consultants and advisors to BSF programmes; Arts Council England; PfS; and private sector partners.

The review acknowledges that the BSF process is subject to continuous change and is being affected by the current economic downturn. As a result, the review will be subject to updates by ixia. Furthermore, it does not include the government’s Academies programme or the emerging Primary Capital Programme but the recommendations it contains should be applied to these and any other similar initiatives. ixia will continue to monitor the development of these programmes in light of producing future advice.