Risks, Rights and Reputations - challenging a risk averse culture

30th November, 2017

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


This vital half day training for CEOs and Chairs of Trustees supports arts and cultural organisations 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.

“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.

The training, which will be lead by a freedom of expression specialist from Index on Censorship, a creative producer from Maslaha, a leading fundraising consultant from Cause4 and a public order and public safety officer from the College of Policing will support participants to:

  • Deepen understanding of the legal and rights framework supporting artistic freedom in the UK
  • Explore the impact on freedom of expression of BME artists of recent controversies in the arts
  • Explore the dilemmas thrown up by ethical fundraising
  • Support organisations to understand when and how to build a relationship with the police in relation to controversial work

Training Schedule

Date ACE Region Venue Hosts
24 Jan 2018 South East Brighton Festival / Dome Andrew Comben (CEO) and Polly Toynbee (Chair)
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 Miriam Randall (CEO) and James Touzel (chair)
20 Jun 2018 Midlands New Arts Exchange, Nottingham Skinder Hundal (CEO) and Sukhy Johal, MBE (chair)

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

“Cause4 has had a transformational effect on the Festival, at the level of innovation in organisational development, as well as in fundraising.”

Chris Martin, Trustee of Salisbury International Festival