This Strategy Statement is an extension of our previous strategy, “Creating opportunities for children to discover and love the arts”. It is also a discrete response to the challenges and opportunities of living with Covid-19.
In presenting our strategic intent for 2021-23, we first reassert our vision, mission and values. These are our North Star. They have guided the work of The Ark – what we do and why we do it – through the developments of 2017-2019 and the upheaval and uncertainty of 2020. Children’s right to art and culture is at the heart of all that we do, because we believe in the intrinsic value of the arts at any age and the proven benefit it has for children’s personal, social and academic development. Repeated lockdowns and school closures have widened the gap in attainment and aggravated social inequity. Our work to ensure this right is now more vital and urgent than ever before.
Our values of ‘always learning’, ‘being brave’, and ‘doing our best’ took on a new meaning in 2020. We found new ways to ‘be friendly and welcoming’ and to enable others, and ourselves, to ‘have fun’ too. We will continue to hold fast to our vision, mission and values in the years ahead.
The focus of our activity is set out under the headings of our strategic priorities: excellence, engagement, sustainability and advocacy. Alongside these ambitions, three themes will inform our work: digital capability; equality, diversity and inclusion; and environmental sustainability. Some of this emphasis may be credited to Covid-19. Certainly, the pandemic has expedited a need to enhance our digital capabilities. While we had already committed to putting our equality, diversity and inclusion policy fully into practice in 2021, and to an audit of our sustainability, the upheaval of 2020 makes this all the more urgent and relevant.
The Strategy Statement 2021-23 empowers us to look forward. It is inspired by what we have seen over the last year: the steadfast support of our funding and programme partners; the resilience and ingenuity of teachers, parents, artists and children; and The Ark’s expertise and dedication.
Despite the uncertain times ahead, we will continue to create opportunities for children to discover and love the arts. It is their right.