Oral update – the Managing Director to be heard.
The Board received an oral update of the Managing Director concerning the Barbican Centre’s preparations for a possible no-deal Brexit.
Members were informed that key risks of concern included movement of people which in the short term was being mitigated by creatives being allowed to attend the country for 90 days without a visa. However, in the long term, this could become a more significant issue and hinder the UK’s creativity. Officers also noted inclusivity concerns and a worrying reported rise in racism and hostility throughout Europe.
Officers identified movement of product as the highest concern which was difficult to resolve as the rules for the new customs system were changing on a daily basis. Extra bureaucracy and measures coming in would lead to freight delays at ports and increased admin. The Centre was also focussed on protecting its global British role within the culture and arts sector and saw its continued representation within Europe a key to this. Data transfer, catering and intellectual property were other concerns.
Members were alarmed by racism and diversity concerns and agreed a holistic approach was needed to ensure a varied portfolio and artwork, artists and audiences. The Chair felt it was particularly critical to support emerging artists despite changes brought in by Brexit. Officers confirmed they were continuing to plan for the Brexit deadline based on all eventualities and burdens including the worst case no-deal scenario.