Philanthropy in the arts debated by leading lights of UK’s cultural sector

The President of the Royal Academy and the actor-turned-director of the Young Vic Theatre are among the participants of a cultural conversation in the City of London this week about philanthropy in the arts.

The City of London Corporation, the governing body for the Square Mile, and the Genesis Foundation, which champions the work of young actors, directors, playwrights and musicians, have been working on a series of free ‘Cultural Conversations’ that bring together major figures from London’s arts and cultural scene.

‘Philanthropy in the Arts’ will take place online via Zoom Webinar on 30 September from 5pm – 6.30pm and can be booked at, with further information available by emailing

Hosted virtually by Lord Mayor of the City of London, William Russell, at The Mansion House and chaired by journalist and broadcaster, Kirsty Lang, ‘Philanthropy in the Arts’ will be debated by:

  • Artistic Director of the Young Vic, Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE
  • Senior Global Director at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Dame Julia Peyton-Jones OBE
  • President of the Royal Academy of Arts, Rebecca Salter PRA
  • Chair of Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota CH
  • Founder and Chairman of the Genesis Foundation, John Studzinski CBE

Among the topics under discussion, the informal conversation is expected to examine the difference between arts funding and the role of philanthropy in the UK, the US and Europe; how COVID-19 has affected arts funding; and how we should ensure that philanthropic giving is ethical.

Lord Mayor William Russell said:

“This third and final talk in the series brings together a hugely impressive panel of guests who, between them, have a wealth of experience in their chosen fields.

“I have always been passionate about the arts and culture, so I am looking forward to a lively and thought-provoking debate, which will invariably touch upon the dreadful financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic upon our arts and cultural institutions.”

Founder and Chairman of the Genesis Foundation, John Studzinski CBE, said:

“The Genesis Foundation has been delighted to support the Lord Mayor’s series of ‘cultural conversations’ to examine critical areas of the intersection between the arts and society.

“Time and time again, our work over the last 20 years with leading arts organisations has shown us how the arts and culture have the power to transform society and people’s lives. This series of talks has presented many valuable insights and experiences, and I am sure that ‘Philanthropy in the Arts’ will be no exception.”

The online event forms part of Lord Mayor William Russell’s mayoral theme - ‘Global UK – Trade, Innovation & Culture’, which he is promoting at home and during virtual overseas visits during his mayoralty.

The City of London Corporation, which is headed by Lord Mayor William Russell, is the fourth largest funder of heritage and cultural activities in the UK and invests over £100m every year.

The City Corporation is also developing Culture Mile - a new home for contemporary culture in the ancient heart of London’s working capital. Led by the City of London Corporation, with the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra and Museum of London, together they are creating a vibrant cultural and creative area in the north-west corner of the Square Mile between Farringdon and Moorgate.

This investment in a new cultural and creative destination for London includes £197m funding to support the Museum of London’s move to West Smithfield and £6.8m to support the detailed business case for the proposed Centre for Music.


Notes for Editors:

Andrew Buckingham, Media Officer, City of London Corporation

Tel: 020 7332 1452 / Mobile: 07795 333060 /


About the City of London Corporation:

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. 

About the Genesis Foundation:

Established by John Studzinski in 2001, the Genesis Foundation supports programmes that nurture the careers of outstanding young artists. In partnership with leaders of prestigious UK arts organisations such as the Almeida Theatre, LAMDA, National Theatre, Young Vic and The Sixteen, it provides and enhances opportunities for directors, playwrights, actors and musicians at key stages in their professional lives. It also awards the bi-annual Genesis Prize, the only arts award to focus on mentors and the vital role that they play in an artist's development.

The Foundation's work is increasingly characterised by the theme of art & faith. Recent highlights include the performance in the Sistine Chapel of James MacMillan's Stabat mater which, along with several other pieces by MacMillan, numbers among the 25 sacred music works that the Genesis Foundation has commissioned. These have been performed and recorded primarily by Harry Christophers and The Sixteen.

About Culture Mile:

Culture Mile is a corner of London’s working capital, where creativity is fast becoming the most valuable currency. The City of London Corporation, together with the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra and the Museum of London, are leading the animation of the whole neighbourhood with imaginative collaborations and events. Culture Mile brings commerce and culture together in a wealth of creativity. Known meets unknown. Ancient and modern collide as the streets are activated by exhibitions, gigs, pop-ups and events. So, whether you’re with family, friends or flying solo, there’s something for everyone. And thanks to Crossrail’s new Elizabeth line connections at Farringdon and Moorgate, the area will be more connected than ever. Join us today where two thousand years of history collide with the world’s best culture.