This was my request sent via email to the Arts Council asking for data to use in the visualization project. In all honesty,  I was slightly skeptical – my experience with bureaucracies in other European countries was such that I had very little hope of receiving anything. I was expecting a polite rejection and for that reason I had been dragging my feet, avoiding sending the request. The email was sent on Friday – December 7, 2012 at 11:07 AM. Below is the text.

Senior Officer, Freedom of Information and Data Protection
Arts Council England
14 Great Peter Street

Dear Sir or Madam,

My name is Lanfranco Aceti and I am a Visiting Professor at Goldsmiths College and work as an academic, artist and curator.

I am developing a visualization research project on the impact of the current economic crisis on the arts in Britain – and internationally – in order to analyze and visualize trends and cultural impact. I would like to request the national funding data from the period 2007 to 2012 of the Arts Council.

Since you have provided The Guardian with similar data and they did a visualization of data over one year, I am wondering if it would not be too much trouble to analyze a larger period of time. My research project wishes to follow people and organizations more in detail and over a longer period of time.

In particular I am interested in the following parameters:

  1. total funding amount for each year (2007-2012) – across board and divided by sector,
  2. amounts earmarked for 2012 Olympic projects (I am assuming that 2012 Olympic projects and related projects have been earmarked as such),
  3. national detailed list of funded organizations for each year (2007-2012) and amount of budget funding received,
  4. national detailed list of funds requested from the organizations and the amounts of funding actually allocated for each year (2007-2012),
  5. national detailed list of de-funded organizations for each year (2007-2012),
  6. national detailed list of budget reductions for each organization in each year (2007-2012),
  7. national list of applicants for each year (2007-2012) who have not received funding,
  8. the amount of funding requested by the national list of applicants for each year (2007-2012) who have not received funding resources.

Please note that each organization should be identifiable by their post code.

This would allow us to develop a visualization of the trends across different regions, local areas, and therefore compare them. Also, if would be extremely helpful if the data could be provided as an Excel spreadsheet in order for us to be able to process and visualize the data.

I wish to thank you in advance for your kind support and assistance with this matter. Should you need further explanations or information, feel free to contact me.

Yours faithfully,

Lanfranco Aceti