'Woke minority' fights back against contested heritage policy

25 Feb 2021

As Oliver Dowden establishes a working group on "retain and explain", arts workers afraid of exclusion, censorship and funding cuts are speaking up.

Cultural sector could reopen in June, PM says

22 Feb 2021

Boris Johnson's roadmap out of lockdown includes the possibility of lower capacity events by May 17 and full reopening with testing before the end of June.

£288m Centre for Music axed

19 Feb 2021

The City of London has nixed the beleaguered project in favour of a "major renewal" of the Barbican Centre instead.

Europe-wide project aims to create network of minority theatres

04 May 2017

(IN CROATIAN) Five minority theatres in Romania, Italy, Serbia, Albania and Croatia will combine to produce a play and a series of workshops in Spring 2018 using European Union funding.

New York opera security scare after powder sprinkled into orchestra pit

31 Oct 2016

The Metropolitan Opera cancelled a performance during the interval as a safety precaution after somebody sprinkled an unknown powder into the pit.

Library scoops £3,000 in the National Lottery Awards

25 Aug 2016

St Helens Libraries’ Cultural Hubs attracted over 2,000 votes to be named Best Arts Project for its work promoting health and wellbeing.

Study seeks arts on prescription expertise

25 Feb 2021

Researchers are seeking healthcare professionals with experience prescribing arts activities for a new study.

Dr Anita Jensen and Dr Hilary Bungay are undertaking a "cross national qualitative study to examine healthcare professionals' perceptions and experiences of arts on prescription," according to the London Arts in Health Forum.

The study will include interviews with healthcare workers in the UK and Sweden.

Healthcare professionals with experience in the area in the past two years are encouraged to contact Dr Bungay on hilary.bungay@aru.ac.uk.

Inclusion programme to create 60 drama provision placements

25 Feb 2021

A new initiative will create 60 paid job placements for young people to act as inclusion facilitators in school drama programmes.

National Youth Theatre is running the programme in 15 schools as part of the Government's Kickstart scheme.

It allows 18-to-24 year olds on universal credit to facilitate two academic terms of inclusive theatre activity for disabled young people.

Paul Roseby, CEO and Artistic Director of National Youth Theatre, said: "Disabled people and all young people are most at risk of reduced opportunities post-Covid."

"Rising unemployment figures emphasise the urgent need for a social and cultural recovery that prioritises creative jobs, ensures accessible and inclusive opportunities and celebrates the diversity of British youth in all its forms and that's exactly what our new Inclusive Practice Collective is designed to do.”

Cubans demand resignation of Culture Minister

25 Feb 2021

More than 9,000 people have signed a Change.org petition demanding the removal of Cuba's Minister of Culture, Alpidio Alonso, after video footage of him physically confronting protesters emerged.

Alonso was filmed confronting a peaceful demonstration at the gates of the Ministry of Culture that called for the release of the artist Tania Bruguera, who had been detained that morning. 

Cuban activist group 27N submitted a legal request for the minister's removal to the National Assembly of People’s Power a week after the incident.

The petition states: “The minister must assume responsibility for the violence carried out on January 27 at the gates of the ministry, otherwise the Cuban government led by [President] Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez and [Prime Minister] Manuel Marrero Cruz would be accomplices of an act of institutionalized violence and illegality.”

Bruguera said the petition was unprecedented in Cuba.

“Every week, we are going to present this demand at the National Assembly, with the new names printed on it.”

£6.9m emergency funding for Northern Ireland's creatives

25 Feb 2021

More than 1,500 people working in Northern Ireland's creative economy will benefit from an additional £6.9m emergency funding.

The second round of the Individuals Emergency Resilience Programme follows £4.27m awarded last April.

The funds are being distributed by Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI) on behalf of the Department for Communities and in collaboration with Future Screens NI.

Individuals were able to apply for grants of up to £5,000 each or £7,500 if they had a disability. 

Roísín McDonough, Chief Executive of ACNI, said: "We received applications from a footprint much broader than ACNI’s usual remit for individual artists. It also included all those working in the creative economy such as venue support staff, set designers, technicians, comedians, DJs, rappers, editors and proof-readers, among others." 

“Today’s announcement of support to these individuals will provide reassurance to those facing enormous personal challenges as artists and creatives at this time." 

Coventry seeks 5,000 volunteers for UK City of Culture

25 Feb 2021

5,000 volunteer 'city hosts' are needed for Coventry City of Culture.

Coventry City of Culture Trust and Coventry University Students' Union have launched a recruitment drive with the tagline "Coventry needs you!"

The first cohort of city hosts will be signed up by the end of April, with further drives throughout the City of Culture year, which begins in May.

The hosts will welcome and farewell visitors and provide information on installations and events.

Coventry City of Culture Trust Chief Executive Martin Sutherland said he looked forward "to seeing this programme blossoming over the coming weeks".

"We seek to engage residents in many ways, as audience members, participants, supporters and makers."

PRS for Music seeks views on livestreaming licences

23 Feb 2021

PRS for Music has called for views on its controversial livestreaming licences.

The society has been criticised for failing to consult many industry bodies whose members would be affected by the steep new tariffs.

    "As we move forward in this fast-evolving market, and one which is likely to become an increasingly important revenue stream for members, we want to better understand members' and key stakeholders' experience of the online concert market and how it is changing the way music is being used," PRS says.

    The call for views is open until March 12.


    Surrey venues draw sightseers, spending and social benefits, study finds

    23 Feb 2021

    New research shows 70% of visitors to Surrey arts venues would not have come into town - and spent an extra £40 on average - if it weren't for those institutions.

    European network calls for 'sustainable plan' to reopen museums

    23 Feb 2021

    An independent network of national museum organisations is calling for "a comprehensive and sustainable plan" to reopen all museums across Europe.

    The Network of European Museum Organisations (NEMO) said in a statement: "Museums in Europe are ready to reopen, to reactivate urban life and to accompany people in the new normal." 

    The call is accompanied by a country-specific overview of museum operations during the pandemic that features 31 European countries, including the UK. It outlines reopenings, national guidelines and "advocacy measures" in each country.

    NEMO said museums have an important role during the pandemic, encouraging social cohesion as places of "democratic debate and social understanding" while also providing educational and emotional support.

    The statement continued: "NEMO asks policy makers at all levels to acknowledge that museums are a resource, instead of an additional cost, in crises times. Museums now need comprehensive and sustainable frameworks and processes to open their doors to the public and stay open during the fluctuating pandemic situation."

    Creative industries outside London most hard hit by pandemic, survey reveals

    23 Feb 2021

    A Creative Industries Federation (CIF) survey has revealed that creative freelancers, micro businesses and those dependent on audiences have been particularly hard hit financially by the pandemic.

    The survey of more than 800 creative practitioners and organisations found that those outside London have been worst affected, with respondents beyond the capital 8% more likely to see decreases in turnover of more than 75%.

    Freelancers were 20% more likely than organisations to have seen a drop in income of 75% or more.

    Across all respondents, those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were more than twice as likely to say it would take over 12 months to return to normal income levels, should the pandemic end tomorrow.

    CIF CEO Caroline Norbury said: "These statistics reveal is that there are still many parts of our sector that are facing real, significant hardship, particularly small businesses, freelancers and those reliant on audiences.

    "It is particularly worrying that the impact is being felt hardest outside of London, where we know the creative sector is likely to take longer to bounce back."


    Covid transmission study to redefine 'outdoor' theatre

    23 Feb 2021

    Imperial College researchers will estimate the probability of infection at two theatres and consider whether a covered venue can "behave" as an outdoor space.

    Brexit creating "huge barriers" for artists, Scotland's Culture Secretary says

    23 Feb 2021

    Scotland's Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop has requested an urgent meeting with her UK Government counterpart to discuss how the end of EU free movement is impacting the arts and cultural sector.

    She has called on the Government to negotiate reciprocal visa-free access for artists and performers touring between the UK and EU.

    In a letter to the UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, Hyslop argued that "extensive mobility arrangements between the UK and EU are crucial" yet "creative professionals now face significant barriers to these activities, including potential visa and work permit requirements, customs rules, and new rules for haulage, with increased costs and administration".

    The letter follows a call with Home Office Minister Kevin Foster in which Hyslop raised similar concerns about the new immigration system and the impact of Brexit on creative professionals wishing to work in the UK.

    Hyslop said: “Scotland didn’t vote for Brexit, but Scottish artists and musicians are facing huge barriers to touring and other short-term international work compared to their EU counterparts and will have to understand and comply with 27 different visa regimes. 

    “It remains a fact that Europe is the most important international market for many who rely on touring, and action is needed now to support musicians and other creative professionals to tour again, when it is safe to do so."

    Abu Dhabi offers 'golden visas' to UK creatives

    22 Feb 2021

    Feeling the Brexit blues? Abu Dhabi is courting British creatives with a 10 year work permit, routes to citizenship and heavy investment in arts and culture.

    Heritage and cinema to benefit from final round of Culture Recovery funding

    19 Feb 2021

    22 more heritage organisations will benefit from £13.5m in targeted grants to restart regeneration and maintenance projects that were planned before the pandemic and now face delays or increased costs.

    The highest award of £3.7m goes to the Black Country Living Museum, which is currently operating as a vaccination centre but prior to the pandemic was planning the single biggest development in its history. A further £1m goes to Brighton Museum’s Royal Estate.

    A further £5m will go to 33 independent cinemas, including two major independent companies operating cinemas across England. Reel Cinemas has been awarded £1.5m to support 13 multiplexes and Light Cinemas will benefit from £2.9m to support 10 cinemas where broad film programming and community engagement can restart when cinemas reopen.

    The grants are part of a final round of awards from the Government's £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund.

    Brexit touring costs make National Theatre plans unviable

    19 Feb 2021

    The National Theatre’s plans to tour its production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time to venues across Europe have been put on ice due to uncertainty and concerns over post-Brexit costs.

    Visas, work permits and social security payments would all add to the costs of the tour, which would mean it is “currently not financially viable”, according to a National Theatre spokesperson.

    A government spokesperson dismissed the concerns saying: “Touring in Europe is currently not possible due to Covid-19 and EU member states have not set out plans for when it will be.”


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