Aesop is an arts charity and social enterprise.

Aesop defines arts inclusively to embrace popular, folk, classical and contemporary forms across combined arts, crafts, dance, digital arts, design, environmental arts, film, games and interactive media, literature, music, photography, puppetry, theatre and visual arts.

Aesop’s proposition is:

  1. The UK is blessed with world-class arts.
  2. Arts programmes are on the periphery of programmes working to achieve positive social change.
  3. The work is almost always ‘arts push’ – arts organisations taking the initiative with limited evidence of impact, sustainability and growth.
  4. The arts have the potential now to add ‘society pull’ – start with challenges/unmet needs in society, scan all artistic options and create something suitable, effective, cost-effective, sustainable, evidence-based, of consistent quality and capable of growing.

Why the name ‘Aesop?’ For three reasons. First, storytelling and narrative are vital aspects of the arts. Second, Aesop’s fables are not just great stories; they are a source of wisdom and practical advice. Third, Aesop stands for ‘arts enterprise with the social purpose’.

Our approach:

Aesop has two main programmes:

  • MARKET DEVELOPMENT – This is Aesop’s core programme. It is a pipeline of ‘aesops’, arts enterprises with a social purpose, created to deliver artistic and social impact, grow and be taken to scale.
  • KNOWLEDGE DEVELOPMENT – conferences, training, tools and policy to help the arts and other sectors work effectively together, including the Aesop Toolbox.

We are currently focused on the promising area of health and social care.