UNBOXED 2022 offers innovation - and employment

21 Oct 2021

Once derided as the Festival of Brexit, the eight-month mega event will "prove the naysayers wrong".

Welcome to UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK

people looking at an art installation
21 Oct 2021

What happens when creative minds from different sectors and disciplines come together to imagine and design bold, large-scale events to reach millions of people worldwide? Martin Green reveals what’s in store for 2022.

City of Culture 2025 a 'springboard' regardless of longlist

11 Oct 2021

The challenge now for some of the latecomers will be completing years' worth of planning in weeks.

Is DCMS any longer fit for purpose?

photo of Nadine Dorries
28 Sep 2021

While the appointment of Nadine Dorries to lead DCMS has been greeted with widespread dismay by the cultural sector, Robert Hewison reflects on a deeper malaise at the heart of Government.

Covid-19 and the global cultural and creative sector

Man in a mask sitting in a low, celingless room
21 Oct 2021

Anthony Sargent says we need to identify what we've learned from Covid, then build on those foundations rather than reassemble broken pieces of the past.

An explosion of creative energy

image of Little Amal
21 Oct 2021

Universities often lack the resources for large scale art programmes, yet the University of Kent has launched an ambitious creative season. David Sefton explores the relationship between academic institutions and the arts.

Changing lives with creativity

image of a hand painting
21 Oct 2021

The arts have a huge role to play in health and wellbeing. Jane Rich shares how creative practitioners can support mental health without being mental health professionals themselves.

LGBTIQ+ development programme reopens

19 Oct 2021

Brighton's Malborough Productions has opened applications to the fourth year of its New Queers on the Block development programme.

The programme will award three LGBTIQ+ performing artists £12,500 each, funding full-time residencies from January to June next year without the expectation of delivering a show or fixed outcome at the end.

Project alumni have worked across live art, theatre, dance, cabaret, film, spoken word and visual art.

Malborough Productions Creative Director Tarik Elmoutawakil and Executive Director David Sheppeard say the programme focuses on community engagement to "sow the seeds of a cultural and community-centred revolution".

Applications are open until November 4, with more information available on the programme website.

London to repurpose Royal Docks as cultural quarter

19 Oct 2021

London’s Royal Docks is set to become ‘London’s cultural engine’ under plans to repurpose the space as a cultural quarter.

Work has begun on a range of creative spaces, including transforming the Tate & Lyle Sugar warehouses into a community workspace. Planning permission has also been granted for a rotating theatre to open in 2023.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz believe the area can transform into a place where “new ideas are formed and cultural participation is open to all”.

Khan said the quarter has the potential to deliver 35,000 jobs, 4,000 new homes and more than £5bn of inward investment within the next 20 years.

“It is the latest example of London roaring back to life with culture leading the way in our city’s economic recovery.” 

Culture Secretary's comments on class resonate with the sector

07 Oct 2021

Nadine Dorries courted controversy by saying you have to come from privilege to make it in the arts. Is she right? 

International partnerships fund 'not a replacement Creative Europe'

06 Oct 2021

The pilot responds to the UK's withdrawal from Creative Europe and prioritises European partners but is "not in the same ball park" as the EU scheme.

Dowden defends war on woke, insults DCMS boss

06 Oct 2021

Recently departed Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden says he is not "standing in the way of change" by threatening to strip funding from organisations deemed "too woke".

Speaking at the Conservative Party conference, Dowden said organisations "have to demonstrate why they justify the funding" by rejecting aggressive campaigning on issues like decolonising museums.

"When I make interventions in this area, I genuinely ask myself... am I just standing in the way of change in a reactionary way?

"I genuinely do not believe that is the case."

Dowden also appeared to take a shot at DCMS Permanent Secretary Sarah Healey, saying public servants working from home needed to "get off their Pelotons and back to their desks".

Healey was recently quoted as saying she preferred working from home because she could spend more time on her exercise bike.

Legal challenge to vaccine passports in Scotland fails

01 Oct 2021

The policy has taken effect but tech issues are rife, guidance is lacking and venues say there hasn't been a "meaningful consultation".

ACE launches Digital Culture Awards

01 Oct 2021

The first ever Digital Culture Awards will celebrate and showcase digital innovation over the course of the pandemic.

Arts Council England has launched the awards, and is seeking applications for "the best in digital transformation, digital engagement and use of technology".

There are eight categories: social media, content production, content distribution, income generation, digital inclusion, use of data, organisational digital transformation, and emerging digital leader.  

Entries close at 10am November 8, with a shortlist decided thereafter.

Public voting to decide the winners will open mid-December before a virtual awards ceremony on January 20, 2022.

Digital tax switch delayed until 2024

29 Sep 2021

The Government has pushed back plans to digitalise the tax system for sole traders with annual income over £10,000.

The delay means freelancers will not need a digital tax account until April 2024, when HMRC are expected to introduce quarterly payments.

The proposed tax regime could cause freelancers to pay up to two years’ tax at once and has been met with concern from the creative sector.

Financial Secretary to the Treasury Lucy Frazer said the Government’s decision was due to “stakeholder feedback”.

Tax advisor Guy Sterling called the delay as a “general hurrah” for freelancers.

“Perhaps the lobbying worked, or HMRC hasn’t got the software quite ready [but] creative industry freelancers will be delighted with this prudent decision.”

Citizen's assembly to shape culture in Coventry

27 Sep 2021

Art for the People, believed to be the first citizen's assembly for arts and culture, will decide on projects for the City of Culture programme.

UK ranked second most artistic country in Europe

27 Sep 2021

A study comparing the cultural performance of different nations has named The Netherlands the most artistic country in Europe, beating the UK into second. 

The study, conducted by Design Bundles, scored nations on five factors: number of museums, arts institutions and arts students, government spending on culture and total cultural export.

The UK scored highly for its popular museums and total cultural exports but had the lowest score for government funding, which compared spending on culture against GDP.

Latvia, the nation with the highest concentration of arts institutions, placed third and Estonia, the nation with the highest government spending against GDP, fourth.

"Countries such as Italy and France, which have their own amazing artistic heritage, are outranked by nations such as Latvia and Estonia, which have committed more resources comparatively to art funding and education,” a Design Bundles spokesperson explained."

What’s in a name?

Creative Lives Everyday Creativity Montage
22 Sep 2021

Does your organisation’s name need too much explanation? Pauline Tambling reflects on the process of changing an established brand name and offers insight for arts organisations embarking on a similar journey.

What’s power got to do with it?

illustration of three people
22 Sep 2021

Power shapes our lives and our decision making 24 hours a day. What is it doing to you? Suzanne Alleyne investigates.

Firstsite wins Art Fund Museum of the Year

22 Sep 2021

Firstsite Colchester has won £100,000 and the title of Art Fund Museum of the Year 2021.

The art gallery, which celebrates its 10th birthday this month, has transformed since losing its National Portfolio Organisation status in 2015. The prize's judges lauded the centre for its relationships with artists and efforts in the community. 

During the pandemic, it loaned its building to neighbouring charity Community 360 to run a food bank and created activity packs that were downloaded by more than 92,000 households.

The centre has recently hosted exhibitions My name is not Refugee, curated by clients of Refugee Action Colchester, and Art For Life, comissioned by NHS key workers to aid understanding of the impact of Covid-19 on mental health.

"At their core is powerful, engaged contemporary art, housed in a gallery that gives space for everyone, from artists to NHS staff to local families and refugee groups. They exceeded all our expectations," Art Fund director Jenny Waldman said.

The four other shortlisted finalists - Centre for Contemporary Art Derry~Londonderry, Experience Barnsley, Thackray Museum of Medicine and Timespan - each received £15,000.

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