DCMS launches consultation on how to spend dormant assets

21 Jul 2022

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has launched a public consultation on what social and environmental causes should benefit from more than £700m of dormant assets funding in England.

Currently, dormant assets funding in England is required to be spent on three causes - youth, financial inclusion or social investment, but the government is reviewing whether these remain the right causes for where funding from dormant assets can be allocated.

One option under consideration for views is a community wealth fund proposal that would see pots of money distributed over long periods of time in local communities in England, with decisions made by residents to make a difference where it is most needed.

DCMS is welcoming response from members of the public, community groups, and industry stakeholders.

The consultation will close on Sunday 9 October.

Wrexham to bid again for UK City of Culture 

14 Jul 2022

Wrexham will make another bid for the title of City of Culture in 2029 after recently losing out to Bradford for the 2025 title.

Members of Wrexham Council's executive board approved launching another attempt to win the title at a meeting this week. They also supported a number of other recommendations including inviting the National Eisteddfod to Wrexham in 2025.

Hugh Jones, the arts portfolio holder, said he was confident about the council’s chances of success in 2029.

He said: “If you look at the facts with Bradford and the size of their team, they had eight full time staff and a PR agency that had been working on the project for two and a half years.

“In just over six months, we came so close to winning this and that gives an indication of the achievement that we had in Wrexham.

“Clearly, we want to bid for 2029 and why wouldn’t we because 2025 is probably worth somewhere in the region of £300m."

ACE to offer 'wind down' funding for unsuccessful NPOs

Picture of The National Theatre, one of the current 828 National Portfolio organisations
07 Jul 2022

Arts Council England sets aside money to allow National Portfolio Organisations to close their operations or adopt a new business model, amid record demand for investment.

Tamworth arts programme to teach beatboxing, breakdancing

05 Jul 2022

Create Community Tamworth, a six-month arts programme, will launch on 23 July with a collaborative painting created by 30 artists riffing on the theme of heroes and villains.

The programme is run by New Urban Era (NUE), a Staffordshire-based arts group that works with urban arts, graffiti, skate, music and dance.

It is funded from a £29,300 grant from Arts Council England, as well as by the borough council and private sponsorship.

The events and workshops are due to take place in Tamworth and the surrounding villages.

As well as the painting event at North Warwickshire Recreation Centre, which will be backed by cosplay group Central Legion, the programme will include workshops for children in skills such as beatboxing and DJing.

Summer holiday workshops for children aged eight to 17, in collaboration with Staffordshire Space, are set to include lessons in breakdancing and spray can art. 

Local schools have also been invited to participate in a recyclable sculpture trail as part of NUE’s Environmental Arts Festival in September.

"Our aim is to get as many local people as possible to engage in the arts and we have worked tirelessly to make this happen," Founder of NUE Vic Brown told the BBC.

Young people curate exhibition at Ulster Museum

05 Jul 2022

Young people aged 16 to 25 have helped to curate a new exhibition at Ulster Museum in Belfast, assembling objects that represent their experiences, interests and opinions.

The exhibition was spearheaded by Reimagine Remake Replay, a creative programme that has connected over 4,000 young people with heritage through creative media and the latest digital technologies. It is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Kick the Dust programme.

A group of young people who have been active in the programme were selected to work on the exhibition Power to the Young People. 

The exhibition is based on themes including climate justice, arts and wellbeing and LGBTQIA+ rights, which developed naturally as a reflection of the priorities, interests and concerns of the young co-curators. It took a year to put together and features creative activities and digital interactives including a VR experience, a bespoke AR app and projection mapping.

“The programme recognises that this age group is under-served within heritage and within museums, so, for us being here is not just about the content, it’s also about changing the experience,” Niamh Kelly, Project Assistant and Youth Ambassador for Reimagine Remake Replay, told the Belfast Telegraph.

“It’s about making it more of a space that reflects young people, where they actually can see something that not just appeals to them, but speaks to them and is something that they want to get involved in.”

Mayor of London expands Creative Enterprise Zones

28 Jun 2022

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has allocated £800,000 to be invested in nine zones across the capital to support jobs and training and to create affordable studio space as part of his Creative Enterprise Zones programme.

Hammersmith & Fulham and Ealing will become the newest Creative Enterprise Zones and London boroughs are invited to apply for funding to become the next three zones.

The £800,000 funding will be split between all the zones to help support 5,000 young people to enter the creative sector and create more than 25,000 square metres of permanent affordable workspace by 2025.

The new Hammersmith & Fulham zone will transform a vacant high street shop into a “Made in Hammersmith and Fulham” hub, designed to support and offer training to local creative entrepreneurs, makers and businesses. It also plans to offer 90 work placements and apprenticeships in the creative sector.

The Ealing zone will help increase creative employment opportunities though working with young people and local business and offer a small grants programme to 30 local creatives to support the development of community spaces through murals and public art installations. 

“We are delighted to be located in a new Creative Enterprise Zone, this is exactly the kind of support our sector needs,” said Angelique Schmitt, CEO and founder of Kindred Studios in Hammersmith. 

“It will help provide much needed artist studios in the borough, boost our profile and improve access to residents showcasing all the brilliant work of local artists and creatives.”

British Council and Ukrainian Institute launch joint season

27 Jun 2022

The British Council and the Ukrainian Institute have launched the UK/Ukraine Season of Culture, a new programme designed to support the Ukrainian arts sector.

The season, which has been planned since 2019, marks 30 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Amid the ongoing war in Ukraine, its theme is “Future Re-Imagined”. 

It will focus on the changing needs and priorities of the Ukrainian arts sector and aim to provide new opportunities for Ukrainian artists. A programme of activities, events, grant-funded projects, residences, talks, films and lectures will take place in the UK, online and in satellite locations.

The season will also support future Ukrainian artistic collaboration through a series of grants worth up to £30,000, based on the results of an open call launched last October.

They will include the development of residencies for Ukrainian musicians and dancers; theatre pieces that examine Ukrainian political and cultural history; professional development opportunities for Ukrainian journalists and collaborations with Ukrainian designers, photographers and digital artists for London Fashion Week.

The season launched last week at Sheffield DocFest with a display of artworks and screenings of Ukrainian documentaries. 

Upcoming highlights include Cheltenham Book Festival and the Kyiv Book Arsenal partnering for a special Ukraine Day event celebrating emerging voices in Ukrainian literature; a Ukrainian to English Literary Translation Summer School at the University of East Anglia, bringing together translators and authors; and a programme at the 2022 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival focusing on contemporary Ukrainian opera and chamber music.

“While the whole of Ukrainian society is affected by the Russian aggression, artists and creatives are among the most vulnerable groups,” said Volodymyr Sheiko, Director General of the Ukrainian Institute. 

“Ukrainian culture is a major target in this war, so it is particularly important to continue building networks and supporting the creative sector.”

Edinburgh’s first Deaf Festival set for August

20 Jun 2022

The first Edinburgh Deaf Festival will take place from 12 -19 August.

Organised by Deaf Action, with the support of Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, the festival is the first of its kind to be held in Scotland. Its organisation, production, shows and events are all deaf-led and it is scheduled to feature drama, magic, comedy, cabaret, tours, exhibitions, workshops, book clubs and a deaf rave.

Performances will include a mix of deaf and hearing artists and will be interpreted and captioned to be inclusive for hearing people as well as the deaf and hard of hearing.

“The festival will be a real celebration of our language, culture, heritage and the variety of people that make up our community,” said Deaf Action CEO Philip Gerrard.

Fringe CEO Shona McCarthy said “the Edinburgh Fringe is really proud to be associated with the first deaf festival in Scotland”.

“I think this is something that’s going to continue into the future and I hope it becomes an annual addition to the festivals landscape,” she said.

BFI invests £1.1m in short animation projects

20 Jun 2022

The BFI Short Form Animation Fund is investing £1.1 million in 15 new “bold and ambitious” animation projects in its second round of funding.

Ten of the selected projects received up to £120,000 in funding for production and five others were awarded up to £10,000 to support development. 

The charity partnered with StoryFutures Academy, the UK’s National Centre for Immersive Storytelling, to support two immersive virtual or augmented reality projects, using funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

“StoryFutures Academy are thrilled to be working with the BFI to support these two fantastic immersive projects,” said Becky Gregory-Clarke, Head of Immersive at StoryFutures Academy.

“Both pieces will use real-time animation techniques, which is an incredibly important growth area, requiring content-making skills that are highly in demand. We know they both have big ambitions and great teams behind them, so we’re really excited to support and follow them on their journey.”

The BFI uses National Lottery funding to back narrative short form films of up to 15 minutes each. The Short Form Animation Fund, launched in 2019, “was designed to enable our talented UK animators to develop their practice, so it is exciting we are starting to see those films showcased and celebrated at international festivals,” said Natascha Wharton, Head of Editorial at BFI Film Fund.

“With round two, we saw a real breadth of styles and ideas come through in the applications, and we’re delighted to be unveiling such a diverse slate of projects today.”

Each of the ten selected projects, intended for the cinema, digital platforms and VR, will be overseen by a BFI Film Fund executive and supported by an animation consultant.

Government schedules ACE review for 2023

Arts Council England Chief Executive Darren Henley
15 Jun 2022

Arts Council England chief pledges to make strong case to government when organisation is reviewed next year.

Coventry City of Culture attracts more than a million

06 Jun 2022

More than one million people attended events in Coventry during the city’s stint as UK City of Culture, according to analysis from organisers.

Coventry’s year-long programme came to an end last Tuesday (31 May), after 709 events took place across the city, including Radio 1’s Big Weekend and the 2021 International Booker Prize.

More than 389,000 tickets were issued for live events, with a further 137,000 attending unticketed live events. The programme’s online audience, which pulled focus for events affected by lockdown, is estimated to have reached over 516,000.

The initial results do not include visitors to the public art programme, participation and workshop activity figures, or the creative programme funded by Coventry City of Culture Trust but delivered by partner organisations, which will be reported in the final evaluation.

Coventry secured more than £172m of direct investment to support its programme of events. City Council leader George Duggins says the calendar succeeded in bringing people together to help build a lasting legacy.

“The people, firms and organisations of Coventry will be feeling the benefits of our year as UK City of Culture for a long time to come – through improved prosperity, greater access to the arts, and a better quality of life.”

Bradford wins UK City of Culture 2025

Bradford celebrates winning UK City of Culture 2025
01 Jun 2022

The West Yorkshire city becomes the competition's fourth winner, after a successful bid that championed diversity and young people

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.


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