£12m ACE business innovation programme delayed

01 Mar 2022

An Arts Council England (ACE) business innovation programme has been delayed without a new start date.

The Reset and Innovation Programme, assigned £12m and originally planned for January, is part of the funder's three-year delivery plan for the Let's Create strategy.

The initiative will support organisations to apply ACE's investment principles and pursue innovations that build their long-term sustainability, including new partnerships and business models or company mergers.

An ACE spokesperson attributed the delay to "knock on" effects arising from its efforts to support the sector throughout the pandemic.

“Plans are still being finalised. We aim to share information in the coming months.”

Cultural tourism faces 'double jeopardy' in 2022

landscape image of Knebworth House
01 Mar 2022

MPs are warned that, for some attractions, "this year might be more financially challenging than the last two".

How to remain inclusive while living with Covid

22 Feb 2022

Andrew Miller says arts organisations must work with disabled artists to keep them safe amid the very real risks the Government's plan poses to their health.

Living with Covid plan could erase 'significant minority' of audiences

22 Feb 2022

The end of restrictions and free Covid testing pose challenges for workforce safety and encouraging cautious customers back.

End of restrictions for Welsh venues

21 Feb 2022

Venues in Wales no longer need to ask for Covid passes and legal requirements around the use of face coverings will expire February 28.

Deputy Arts Minister Dawn Bowden said Friday (February 18) that venues can continue to use the passes if they want: "We are confident that coronavirus rates are falling and we can look forward to brighter times ahead."

The change was welcomed by the Night Time Industries Association, which vehemently opposed the policy.

"The actions of the Welsh Government are still subject to a call by our members for evidence to substantiate the closure of nightclubs over and above other businesses," CEO Michael Kill said.

Manchester Museum reopening delayed

21 Feb 2022

Manchester Museum's reopening has been delayed due to "the challenges of the pandemic".

Initially slated for the end of 2022, delays in the construction supply chain mean the institution now plans to reopen to the public in February 2023 following an "ambitious and complex" £15m transformation project.

The building will be 25% larger once construction completes, and include four new galleries: a South Asia gallery, the Lee Kai Hung Chinese Culture Gallery, a "Belonging Gallery" and an exhibition hall hosting Egyptian mummies.

The South Asia gallery will be the first of its kind in the UK, created in partnership with the British Museum.

"Our team and partners have never lost faith in our vision for a reimagined Manchester Museum that is more caring, inclusive and imaginative," Director Esme Ward said.

Scotland gives £16m for cultural recovery

21 Feb 2022

The Scottish Government is giving £16m to Scotland’s culture and events sector.

Delivered through the Omicron business support fund, the money is earmarked for cultural organisations, events, museums and freelancers to recover from the economic impact of recent restrictions.

£12m goes to Creative Scotland to develop a hardship fund for creative freelancers, a recovery fund for cultural organisations, and support for Edinburgh Festivals in their 75th years.

The £8m fund for freelancers will be split into two £4m rounds, the first opening February 23 and the second on March 2.

Creative Scotland CEO Iain Munro asks people to fully consider their needs before applying: “Funds are finite, and we expect a high level of demand, therefore we will trust that those who request these funds are in need of emergency funding at this time.”

EventScotland and the Museums Recovery Fund will each receive £2m.

Culture Minister Neil Gray says the funding reflects the Government’s support for these industries.

"As we embark on our recovery, cultural activity has a pivotal role to play in reinvigorating our economy and communities as well as promoting individual wellbeing."


Theatre Artists Fund gives £1.67m

21 Feb 2022

1,670 emergency grants have been handed out in latest round of the Theatre Artists Fund.

Beneficiaries received £1000 each from the fund, which supported freelance theatre workers affected by Covid cases and show cancellations through the winter.

The fund has raised £9.8m across seven funding streams since  July 2020.

The release comes as the fund, established by Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre, works towards a pilot programme for providing employment pathways in at-risk professions. 

Tate’s 'backward step'

La Jornada Food Pantry at the Queens Museum
16 Feb 2022

Tate Exchange – the only dedicated community co-creation programme in a major museum – is to be discontinued. Stella Toonen thinks it’s a step backwards for a sector that had begun to let new voices in. 

Mission should inform everything

image outside building of Farnham Maltings
16 Feb 2022

Being purpose driven and mission driven through the pandemic set Farnham Maltings up for success long into the future, just when they needed it most, as Paul Fadden reports.

Employment in culture outstrips pre-pandemic levels

14 Feb 2022

Employment in the cultural industries has continued to grow despite the pandemic, official figures suggest

New data from DCMS covering the period October 2020 to September 2021 records an estimated 696,000 people working in culture - 8,000 people more than the same period across 2019 and 2020, and 20,000 more than before the pandemic.

The figures appear to illustrate the success of furlough and the failure of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme in supporting the sector: what was a 50-50 split in employed and self-employed cultural workers is now 54% in favour of the employed.

There are also about 10,000 more culture professionals in working in London than in 2019/20.

Despite the advent of Brexit at the end of 2020, there are still as many EU nationals working in the sector.

Wales to withdraw Covid pass from venues

14 Feb 2022

The Welsh Government is set to reduce its Covid restrictions further.

From Friday (February 18), a Covid pass will no longer be required to enter nightclubs, cinemas and theatres. Mandatory face mask wearing will be dropped 10 days later on February 28.

Night Time Industries Associations (NTIA) CEO Michael Kill welcomed the announcement, saying many businesses think restrictions have gone on for too long.

“The further relaxation of restrictions will see businesses finally able to plan for the future with some level of certainty."

Calls to stop vaccinations at Bedworth venue

10 Feb 2022

A campaign is under way to bring live shows back to Bedworth's Civic Hall.

Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council recently decided to extend the venue's status as a vaccination centre until March 2023.

Civic Hall hasn't hosted any shows since it became a test centre towards the start of the pandemic. It is now the borough’s biggest vaccination hub.

An online petition, with more than 500 signatures, says its continued closure as an arts venue is “culturally and socially damaging”.

“The Civic Hall is the heart of the borough and this extension is nonsensical since the current vaccine capacity could easily be covered in a building a quarter of the size,” it adds.

Building on the positives

Grand Union’s The Growing project documentary
09 Feb 2022

Audiences have had almost 24 months of remote engagement with culture. It’s now time to share evidence, learning, success and failure for the post-pandemic landscape, argues Fiona Morris.

A flexible marketing model

actors perform in a production of Wuthering Heights
09 Feb 2022

The nature of arts marketing has shifted over recent years with knock-on effects on relationships with producers. Howard Buckley assesses the opportunities of this new way of working. 

Nightlife business costs grow by a quarter

08 Feb 2022

Nightlife businesses have experienced a 26% rise in their operating costs in the past year.

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) survey reveals the ongoing effects of the pandemic, with businesses on average operating at 68.9% of their pre-pandemic trading levels.

Further cost increases are expected in April, with national living wage, national insurance, VAT and business rates all scheduled to rise.

NTIA CEO Michael Kill said many businesses will be forced to pass cost increases on to customers or risk going bust.

“These statistics show just how bleak things remain for our sector.

“I would now, even at this late stage, urge the Chancellor to postpone all the tax increases to give some perfectly viable night time economy businesses a fighting chance of survival.”

10 million creative jobs lost worldwide

08 Feb 2022

"What was already a precarious situation for many artists has become unsustainable," UNESCO boss says, mooting labour law changes to protect the sector.

Edinburgh commits to £4.7m culture funding

07 Feb 2022

Edinburgh has committed to £4.7m of culture funding for 2022/23, £2m of it for Edinburgh International Festival.

Recognising the difficulties posed by Covid-19, the City of Edinburgh Council has extended its three-year funding agreement to four years. 

The Edinburgh Multicultural Festival, launched three years ago, has been added to the council's list of strategic partners, putting it on a more stable footing. It will receive £43,000. 

The agreement also includes support for the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival (£100,000), Imaginate children's festival (£100,000), Edinburgh International Book Festival (£50,000), and Edinburgh Art Festival (£20,000).

Councillor Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener, said cultural organisations responded to the pandemic "with determination and innovation" and reaffirmed the council's commitment to supporting the sector.


Local authority theatres 'at risk' amid Covid cost pressures

03 Feb 2022

A record number of venues have been added to the Theatres at Risk register, half of them council owned. 

Creative teachers offer the most industry experience

Children and Teachers look at an Abstract Painting
02 Feb 2022

A new report recommends long term funding to allow more schools to embed opportunities to work with industry partners.


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