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UK Clore Duffield fdn £30m pre-election

Gareth Harris, UK foundation makes mark ahead of general election with £30m gift aimed at promoting arts education, The Art Newspaper, 6 June 2024

Vivien Duffield, founder of the Clore Duffield Foundation. Photo: Lydia Goldblatt.

One of the UK’s most high-profile philanthropic organisations, the Clore Duffield Foundation, is marking its 60th anniversary with a bumper £30m package of grants for cultural projects countrywide. The funding announcement comes ahead of the UK general election (4 July) when all political parties face scrutiny about how they plan to support arts and culture, prompting questions about the future role of philanthropy in the sector.

The new Clore Duffield Foundation funding is earmarked for a number of new Clore Learning Spaces—areas dedicated to educational and learning activities—which will open during the anniversary year at Kensington Palace and the Natural History Museum, both in London; Paisley Museum; Theatr Clwyd in Wales and Garsington Opera. New Clore Learning Spaces are also planned for the Courtauld, Trent Park, the Old Vic theatre and the V&A Storehouse in Stratford, all of which are due to open next year.

The National History Museum Gardens, Learning Studio, set to open in summer 2024 and supported by Clore Duffield Foundation. It will be located within the Natural History Museum’s new Nature Discovery Garden and designed “specifically for best practice in outdoor learning”, according to a statement. (c) The Trustees of the Natural History Museum London.

The foundation will also support the UK charity Art Fund to develop a “teacher fellowship” programme, supporting teacher placements in Clore Learning Spaces in museums and galleries.

In 2022, the foundation published a review of its learning spaces programme which said: “The cost of living crisis is acute and is affecting all organisations and their audiences in multiple ways. This includes ongoing funding cuts from public sector funders, escalating core costs, increased transport costs, food poverty and digital poverty.”

The foundation adds that Clore Learning Spaces continue to “nurture creativity and a love of art, performance and heritage”. Since 2000, the foundation has funded more than 70 such spaces in national museums, performing arts centres and heritage sites across the UK.

Paisley Community Projects, Paisley Museum Reimagined, community co-production.

Meanwhile a grant to Tate Britain in London will fund development of the new Clore Garden and green space, part of the institution’s Milbank Gardens. The new space will be designed by the landscape designer Tom Stuart-Smith in collaboration with the architects Feiden Fowles.

Other initiatives receiving funding this year include a pilot arts education project in four Hastings schools in the south of England. “Building on the foundations laid in the pilot year, the project seeks to engage every school in the Ark network [an education charity] by July 2027, ensuring that cultural learning and opportunities form a core entitlement, regardless of where they are in the country and their home circumstances,” says a project statement.

In a recent The Art Newspaper survey linked to the general election, prominent art world figures highlighted the importance of boosting arts education. Frances Morris, the former director of Tate Modern, said that “Labour should reinsert arts education into the heart of the curriculum. Arts are as essential as STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).”

The Clore Duffield foundation is led by the philanthropist Vivien Duffield, who says in a statement: “I am delighted that we have been able to support such outstanding projects created in some of the best museums, galleries, theatres, gardens and historic sites across the country, even in royal palaces. Now more than ever, I believe that culture should be at the heart of our children’s learning.” Since it was formed in 2000, the foundation has awarded more than £110m to a range of projects across different sectors.