About Us

We believe that, through offering outstanding artistic experiences for all in our communities, and by operating as robust social enterprises, arts centres present a fantastic model for the cultural venues of tomorrow.

Download: Introduction to Future Arts Centres

Future Arts Centres was founded in 2013 by an affiliation of nine leading UK arts centres:

The AlbanyARC StocktonartsdepotBrewery Arts CentreCambridge JunctionLincoln Drill Hallmac BirminghamRich MixStratford Circus.

The network has grown and now includes more than 140 UK-based arts centres.

In 2023, Future Arts Centres became a registered company limited by guarantee, and an Arts Council England ‘IPSO’ to provide sector support for arts centres.

It is co-chaired and managed by Gavin Barlow (Chief Executive & Artistic Director of The Albany) and Annabel Turpin (Chief Executive of Storyhouse), with Administrative Director Christine Lee.

The Board consists of Alison Clark, Annabel Turpin, Daniel Brine, Gavin Barlow, Jane Earl and Karena Johnson. 

Our objectives

The objectives of Future Arts Centres are to:

  1. create a unifying leadership voice for arts centres and their unique artistic and social contribution to the cultural and civic life of UK towns and cities
  2. advocate for sustained and increased investment in arts centres
  3. ensure the role of arts centres is recognised in artform development and funding policies
  4. develop new, artistically driven, collaborative partnership models
  5. explore business collaborations which innovate and support sustainability

Key Principles

Future Arts Centres operates within a set of key principles that encapsulate our belief that arts centres:

  1. provide outstanding artistic experiences
    maximise social impact and community cohesion through the breadth of their activities and depth of engagement
  2. are ‘businesses’ making significant contributions to the economy
  3. drive economic growth by acting as incubators for individual artists and entrepreneurs and through cultural SME’s, supporting them with advice and training to establish their own enterprises
  4. contribute to regeneration and growth through their local economic impact and by providing cultural place-making
  5. provide ‘safe houses’ for the development of artists and companies, encouraging and supporting artistic experimentation and development
  6. drive innovation within the industry, with business models that enable artistic risk-taking
  7. provide safe and stimulating environments for the creative development of children and young people


Future Arts Centres’ activity has included:

  • Global-Vision, a three year, £500k Arts Council England Ambition for Excellence funded project, exploring how arts centres can work effectively internationally
  • Accelerating Growth, a development programme exploring growth and innovation around partnerships, supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
  • Here and Now, a national and local celebration of culture within communities to mark the 25th birthday of the National Lottery, supported by Arts Council England
  • National meetings for Future Arts Centre CEOs, attracting 50+ CEOs of UK wide arts centres, usually held three times a year
  • Development of tailored training programmes for FAC members, in collaboration with The Management Centre and Arts Marketing Association
  • Establishment of a fundraising group, exploring national sponsorship opportunities
  • Provision of an online peer support platform, connecting members across the country
  • Advocacy and lobbying for arts centres, leading to significant press coverage
  • Action research groups to share best practice and test new ideas 
  • Annual survey of key statistics for FAC members, leading to publication of annual reports
  • Other benchmarking exercises including biennial salary survey, fundraising and audience data comparison, in collaboration with Spektrix


Membership is free and open to any arts centre in the UK that embraces our principles.

Future Arts Centres members benefit from:

  • Invitations to meetings and events for Future Arts Centres leaders
  • Access to our online peer support network, enabling members to instantly reach out to other arts centres across the UK for information, advice and support
  • Inclusion in Future Arts Centres generated PR and advocacy activity
  • Access to our annual salary benchmarking information
  • Opportunities to be involved in Future Arts Centres funded projects


If you lead a UK based arts centre and would like to join, please click below: