Arts Council peer panels
Sir, – You suggest that a recent complaint of bias by an artist has “opened a can of worms that goes well beyond the issue of gender equality”, and level a number of questions at the Arts Council (“Composer Siobhán Clearyopens Arts Council can of worms”, July 25th).
While the Arts Council does not discuss individual applications in public, we strive to be as transparent as possible about our assessment and decision-making processes. This means that the criteria are clear and open for all to see on our website, and that the scores and feedback are always available to individual applicants.
In peer panels, applications are judged completely independently by at least three of the artists’ peers – other practitioners with recognised expert knowledge and track record in the relevant art form or practice. Each panel reviews all of the eligible applications and associated materials for that round, then scores them and makes the final decisions. The membership of the panel changes from round to round, which allows for a diversity of expert views to inform decisions.
We acknowledge that our peer panels are constrained by the available budget, so it is likely, in a competitive context, that the Arts Council will only be able to fund a portion of the applications received. – Yours, etc,
The Arts Council,