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Shrinking audience – Accountability rapped

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A new study says audiences for the arts in the United Kingdom are declining, BBC News reported July 25.

Audiences fell 14 percent for ballet and 8 percent for theater between 1986 and 1996, and grew by only 6 percent for movies and 1 percent for contemporary dance, says the 600-page report by the Policy Studies Institute.

It also says publicly funded arts groups fail to account for how they spend their grants.

“How can we know if we’re getting value for money if the official bodies don’t even know where all the money is going, where it comes from or how it is spent,” Sara Selwood, the report’s editor, told BBC News.

The report, which says it is the first comprehensive look at arts in the UK, says 5 billion pounds in public money, or more than $7.1 million, was invested in the arts in 1998-99.

The lack of clear data on spending and audiences have made it tough to make decisions, the report says, while inadequate data have made it impossible to assess the impact of arts policy and grants.

And fragmented data make it tough to figure out what happened to arts audiences, the report says.

For full story, go to BBC News.

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