‘Make it SO’

17 May 2022

In the last in our series profiling the shortlisted candidates for City of Culture 2025, Claire Whitaker says Southampton has been connecting the UK with people across the globe for thousands of years.

‘We rise together’

Children celebrate Wrexham's City of Culture 2025 bid
04 May 2022

In the third of our series profiling the shortlisted candidates for City of Culture 2025, Ian Bancroft reveals Wrexham as “one of the last punk places in the UK”.

‘Our Time, Our Place’

Young people from Bradford send off for the district's official UK City of Culture 2025 bid
19 Apr 2022

In the second in our series profiling the shortlisted candidates for City of Culture 2025, Shanaz Gulzar shares how Bradford's young people shaped a bid that awakened a sleeping giant of a city.

‘The past we inherit, the future we build’

Durham miners' gala
06 Apr 2022

In the first in a series profiling the shortlisted candidates for UK City of Culture 2025, Alison Clark introduces the county whose bid is inspired by the Durham Miners Association.

The real Big Bang

Poet Scarlett Ward leads a poetry workshop in conjunction with About Us and UNBOXED
22 Feb 2022

About Us* is a dazzling free show combining projection mapping, animation, music and poetry. At its heart, says Maggie Aderin-Pocock, is a simple message: we are all connected. 

Commonwealth Games cultural programme 'ignores diverse communities'

Future Birmingham - SUKI 10C, Digbeth.  The painted former public house at the corner of Bordesley Street and Meriden Street has been repainted.
25 May 2022

Report claims organisers have missed opportunities to include Birmingham's diverse communities in planned events, and are not on target to meet requirements measuring race equality, community engagement and accountability.

DCMS study moots major new data platform

25 May 2022

Report recommends new cultural sector data platform to help make the case for increased funding across the arts.

Imperial War Museums commissions 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund

19 May 2022

Imperial War Museums (IWM) has released details of its IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund.

The £2.5m programme will see 22 artists create commissions, each inspired by the heritage of conflict, with internationally renowned artists Michael Rakowitz and Heather Phillipson among the first to be confirmed.

Five cultural organisations have each been appointed as major co-commissioning partners. 

Glasgow's the Hunterian, Swansea's Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, Ulster University in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, and Leicester Museums each receive £250,000 to commission an artist for the programme.

15 member organisations from IWM’s War and Conflict Subject Specialist Network will receive smaller grants of £20,000, to each commission a piece.

Commissions will go on public display across the UK between 2022 and 2024.

IWM says the reinvestment in the arts sector builds on over 100 years of art commissioning by IWM, which since the First World War has worked with artists to record the experiences of conflict for its collections. 

“After a challenging couple of years for the arts sector, we hope that the unprecedented opportunities enabled by the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund will kick-start cultural dialogue as we recover from the wide-reaching impacts of Covid-19,” said Director-General Diane Lees.

Dorries: abolition of ACE 'not on government agenda'

19 May 2022

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries tells MPs that while the system of distributing arts funding is "not perfect", there are no plans to abolish Arts Council England.

Project seeks artists of colour ‘to tackle racial injustices’

04 May 2022

Initiative inspired by Black Lives Matter movement will commission artists of African and Asian heritage to help tackle “shockingly low” representation in British public arts institutions. 

Arts project to support early onset dementia care

27 Apr 2022

Research into the impact of arts-based health workshops for people with early onset dementia and their caregivers is being supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

The two-year project, which received £113,000, is one of the first to use the arts to help care for dementia patients under the age of 65.

Drama, dance and storytelling practitioners will help university researchers in Nottingham and Derby deliver workshops based on neuro-dramatic play, an attachment-based model that builds the ability to cope using creativity. 

Participants will take part in drama, role-play, storytelling and music-making with an eye to improving their quality of life, family relationships and ability to manage a dementia diagnosis.

“Our hope is to take our findings from this initial project and continue to develop this research and toolkit to develop so it can have further national and international impact,” lead investigator Dr Clive Holmwood said.

Scotland to tie arts funding to net zero progress

27 Apr 2022

Creative Scotland says it will expect all funding recipients to demonstrate how their work contributes to making the sector carbon neutral by 2045.

Music has ‘critical role’ to play in reimaging healthcare 

18 Apr 2022

Recommendations in a new study include a Power of Music Commissioner, a cross-governmental taskforce and music education modules for healthcare workers.

LGB Alliance grant suspended after outcry

protestors hold up a pride flag and trans flag
13 Apr 2022

The gender critical organisation received one of 704 grants in Arts Council England’s £4.58m Let’s Create Jubilee Fund.

Middlesbrough eyes most creative town title

04 Apr 2022

Middlesbrough has set its sights on becoming the UK’s most creative town after investing £5m in cultural development.

The town secured £4.25m from the Government’s Cultural Development Fund, which will be topped up by match funding.

Financed projects expected to create almost 90 jobs include a fabrication laboratory within the Central Library and a £1m renovation of artists' space the Auxiliary. 

During the developments, Middlesbrough Cultural Partnership will rotate its chair to ensure equitable representation and pay every artist involved in the works.
Middlesbrough Council Head of Culture Charlotte Nicol said collaboration will be at the heart of the partnership, and key to achieving its ambition.

“This more equitable approach is what will help set us apart, providing an accessible platform for creativity, as well as additional pathways to opportunity and success for people living in and around our vibrant town.”

Commonwealth Games’ diversity commitments questioned

Birmingham 2022 mural outside Birmingham New Street Station by Gent 48
01 Apr 2022

Organisers reject claims that the Games’ cultural programme is not representative of the city’s diverse communities.

Immersive storytelling experience set for UNBOXED

15 Mar 2022

Fifty creative professionals will develop an immersive storytelling experience as one of the 10 commissioned projects for UNBOXED 2022.

Billed as the biggest project of its kind ever in the UK, StoryTrails will use augmented and virtual reality to reanimate public spaces in 15 locations across the country this summer.

The recruited creatives will co-produce, design and write the project, with support from StoryFutures Academy, the UK’s National Centre for Immersive Storytelling.

UNBOXED Chief Creative Officer Martin Green says the creatives were recruited from diverse backgrounds: “In doing so, they are playing a vital role in building a dynamic future workforce for the creative industries in the UK.”

StoryTrails will run between July 1 and September 18, culminating in a film presented in cinemas and on BBC iPlayer.

Bluecoat recognised for dementia arts project

09 Mar 2022

Liverpool arts centre Bluecoat has been recognised for a partnership that delivered arts sessions via video call during the lockdowns.

Bluecoat and Belong, a dementia care provider, won the Creative Arts Award at the Third Sector Care Awards 2022. Their lauded project enhanced participant's cognitive capacity and increased their sense of community.

Where the Arts Belong has run since 2019, but participation was widened during the pandemic. Artists worked with residents of Belong villages to explore storytelling, sculpture, dance and sound.

"It really is a win for all our customers and Bluecoat’s commissioned artists," Belong Interim Chief Executive Stacey McCann said.

Where the Arts Belong exhibition will open at Bluecoat later this month.

Cultural democracy is key to audience engagement 

Warwick Gates and Whitnash
01 Mar 2022

Creating trust, promoting equity and putting cultural democracy at the heart of the vision for Coventry 2021 has been key to its success, says Kate Danielson.

New Historic England fund focuses on ‘everyday heritage’

28 Feb 2022

The public body responsible for England's historic environment is focusing on working-class history with a new funding scheme for cultural activities. 


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