The White Review, a beloved British arts magazine that regularly featured interviews with and essays about artists, will temporarily cease day-to-day operations after failing to receive government funding that it had gotten in years past.
In a newsletter, the White Review’s board said that the hiatus would last “for an indefinite period.” The magazine has not published a print magazine since June of last year.
While the White Review printed fiction, essays on literature, and poetry, it was also well-known in the art world for featuring artists and curators regularly. The June 2022 issue featured artwork by Monira Al-Qadiri and an interview with Bani Abidi by art critic Skye Arundhati Thomas, who runs the White Review with Rosanna Mclaughlin and Izabella Scott.
Other artists to have been featured since the publication’s founding in 2011 include Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Ed Atkins, Jill Magid, Adam Pendleton, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. Their artworks and words often rubbed shoulders with pieces by acclaimed authors like Sally Rooney, Fernanda Melchor, and Olga Tokarczuk.
The decision to go on an indefinite hiatus came amid several failed attempts to gain funding from the Arts Council England, which had supported the White Review during its first decade.
“The White Review is a registered charity and relied on Arts Council England funding for a substantial portion of its annual budget between 2011-2021,” the newsletter said. “The organization has not been granted funding in three successive applications in the years since. Despite our best efforts, the associated effects of the cost of living crisis and the increase in production costs, in tandem with reduced funding, has meant that The White Review has not been able to publish a print issue since No. 33 in June 2022.”
Last year, many in the UK reacted with shock as the budget for the Arts Council England was slashed. The move resulted in many organizations losing out on sizable amounts of funding during the 2023–26 period.
Nadine Dorries, a Conservative MP who was appointed Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport by Boris Johnson in 2021, only to resign the year after once Liz Truss took the helm, said the Arts Council England’s budget was cut in an attempt to move more funding beyond London. But many artists, actors, and creatives responded that the move merely aided in propping up right-wing political agendas and hurting the arts sector. This July, the Art Newspaper reported that the budget cuts had initiated a “crisis” in England, with journalists Anny Shaw and Hanna McGivern writing, “The visual arts sector in England is struggling to survive.”
As a result of the budget cuts, museums like the Serpentine Galleries, the Institute of Contemporary Arts London, and the Camden Art Centre lost hundreds of thousands of pounds in funding.
It was not clear what would happen to the White Review after the hiatus. “The board of trustees is now embarking on a period of consultation on the magazine’s future, with a further announcement to follow,” the newsletter said.