New partners for Leeds 2023

27 Jan 2022

New partners have signed on to deliver creative projects for Leeds 2023.

The British Library, Leeds Rhinos, Leeds United, National Youth Theatre and Women of the World (WOW) are among the partnerships in development for the year-long placemaking festival.

Announcements about the programme will be made in September.

Chair of Leeds Culture Trust Gabby Logan said: “To have attracted such a breadth of partnerships from major organisations across education, arts and sports is amazing and shows that Leeds is already a city of creativity and ambition."

Summer events face 'pronounced' skills shortage

24 Jan 2022

Two thirds say they need to delay or cancel work as skilled workers are slow to return to the industry.

Kaunas begins year as European Capital of Culture

20 Jan 2022

The Lithuanian city of Kaunas marks the start of its year as European Capital of Culture this weekend with an "awe-inspiring" artistic display.

City districts will host an opening ceremony in which 'circles of light' rituals, giant video projections and musical performances form part of a festival for awakening a mythical beast.

Participants are invited to track the beast in a puzzle game, with the first 1,000 winners receiving special prizes.

More than 40 festivals are planned over the coming year, as well as 60 exhibitions and more than 250 concerts.

UK's first queer camping festival launches

20 Jan 2022

The UK's first queer camping festival will take place near London this spring.

Flesh features a house and techno line-up, 90% of which are women, trans and non-binary artists of varying ethnicities: "As such, Flesh will address the long term issue of male dominated festival programming," its manifesto says.

The two-day event aims to improve artists' visibility and help them generate new bookings by leading by example. 

"Many people talk about equality in electronic music but Flesh will take real life action to make it happen."

London Art Fair postponed by Covid

10 Jan 2022

The 2022 edition of the London Art Fair has been postponed by three months.

Originally scheduled for January 19 to 23, the event will now take place April 20 to 24.

Organisers Immediate Live cited the "continued uncertainty and disruption" caused by a surge in Omicron cases as reason for the postponement.

"Whilst we could have continued with the event as planned within government guidelines, we are keen to deliver the best possible fair for our galleries, sponsors, partners and visitors," a statement reads.

Hosted at the Business Design Centre, the fair plans to showcase work from more than 100 galleries alongside a line-up of talks and workshops.

Scientists say 'hierarchy of controls' needed for events

02 Dec 2021

As the Omicron variant reaches the UK, findings from the Government's test events scheme say masks and anti-crowding measures are necessary.

Lewisham plans diverse Borough of Culture calendar

29 Nov 2021

Lewisham London Borough of Culture will celebrate local diversity and bring positive changes to the area, according to its coordinators.

We Are Lewisham said the year will include Breathe 2022, an air pollution-focused artwork beginning in April, and see The Albany transform into a beach for climate change artwork Sun & Sea in June.

Liberty Festival, a showcase by D/deaf, disabled and neurodiverse artists, and Revolution Through Music, a celebration of Lewisham’s activist history, are both scheduled for July.

The borough won more than £1m to stage the third edition of the event, which was delayed from 2021 due to the pandemic.

The programme represents a much-needed call to action that is also joyful and celebratory, according to Creative Director Gavin Barlow.

"Lewisham has always been somewhere that stands up for what it believes in, and the year will showcase the power of the arts to inspire positive change and celebrate our borough’s contributions to music, visual art, dance and more."

£12m fundraised for Birmingham 2022 festival

25 Nov 2021

Funders have given £12m to secure the future of the Birmingham 2022 festival.

The Commonwealth Games cultural event will feature hundreds of artists and is expected to reach thousands of participants and members of the community.

A core programme of events supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Esmee Fairburn Foundation will explore local LGBT+ stories and LGBT-led commissioning.

One funded project will be a "wide-reaching intergenerational" tap-dancing scheme across the West Midlands.

"It gives us the perfect opportunity to re-connect with each other and our towns and cities and get the region dancing,” project director Stephanie Ridings said.

Council and cultural sector collaboration

image of Goldsmith's Battle of Lewisham mural
25 Nov 2021

How do local authorities and arts organisations work together to bid for a year-long festival? Liz Dart and Gavin Barlow share their experience.

£5m for Platinum Jubilee celebrations

17 Nov 2021

Grants of up to £10,000 are on offer to creative and cultural activities celebrating the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.

Arts Council England (ACE) will launch the Let's Create Jubilee Fund in January to encourage partnerships between established artists and cultural organisations.

"We’re giving people across the country the chance to come together to experience the joy of culture and creativity in celebration of this historic milestone," Chief Executive Darren Henley said.

The National Lottery Community Fund, National Lottery Heritage Fund and Sport England are also committing a cumulative £13.5m to support Jubilee-themed events.

More details about the fund will be published on the UK Community Foundations website next month.

Co-creating change

Battersea Arts Centre, Co-Creating Change
17 Nov 2021

How do we enable people to create real change through art and culture? David Price believes it's through harnessing the ‘power of us’.

Shaping a city

Art installation in Coventry cathedral
17 Nov 2021

Jon Davis explores how Coventry’s history is a map to its artistic and cultural future. 

Manchester International Festival achieves record audience numbers

10 Nov 2021

An extended programme helped Manchester International Festival (MIF) deliver record audience numbers this year despite social distancing requirements.

It's estimated more than 1.4 million people saw part of the 18-day event. A further 1.2 million across 187 countries engaged with MIF's digital programme.

The festival featured 68 events, including the first at Manchester’s new arts space The Factory, scheduled to open in 2023.

Events took place across each of Manchester’s wards and were supported by 450 volunteers.

“The enthusiasm and gratitude from audiences in Manchester [has] demonstrated the importance of creativity to our city,” said MIF Chief Executive John McGraith.

LEEDS 2023 announces two international collaborations

03 Nov 2021

Cultural festival LEEDS 2023 is bringing locally-based artists together with international collaborators in two new programmes as part of its year-long programme.

The World in Our City, the City in Our World will include work by musicians, DJs, theatre makers and writers from cities including Kuala Lumpur, Karachi and Durban.

A second programme, Tech for the Public Good, will create an online residency with participants from countries including Ghana, Iraq, Lebanon, Nepal, Mexico and the UK.

Both programmes are supported by the British Council.

LEEDS 2023 Executive Producer Emma Beverley said: “This work will see us foster new connections across borders whilst also supporting and developing local talent.”

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".

Question marks over festival insurance scheme

21 Oct 2021

Event organisers say they have been unable to obtain quotes for the Government's Live Events Reinsurance Scheme. 

Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) Chief Executive Paul Reed confirmed cover does not stretch to festivals that cancel if capacity restrictions are reintroduced.

"The scheme only covers you in the event of a civil authority shutdown at either local or national level, so it is extremely limited in scope."

The £750m scheme also doesn't cover artists or workforces scheduled for cancelled festivals.

A recent study found 58% of AIF members are not likely to pursue quotes for the scheme.

"They [the Government] want far too much money and there are too many caveats in it," Reed added.

"I think they just keep paying us lip service like they have done all the way down the line."

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.

Dance is back – live and direct

group of dancers
06 Oct 2021

Birmingham International Dance Festival is a celebration of the return to outdoor arts. For Debbie Jardine and Raidene Carter, it is both a taste and a test for next year's Cultural Programme of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Coventry 2021: spotlighting disabled artists 

a group of performers
28 Sep 2021

Jake Bartle reports on how Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 is shining a spotlight on disabled artists.

Council axes popular blues festival

27 Sep 2021

The Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival has been cancelled by Colne Town Council due to rising costs.

Council chair, Liberal Democrat Mary Thomas, said the council "no longer has the resources" to run the festival after taking over its administration in 2017.

"It has become clear over the three years that Colne Town Council has run the festival that it has become unsustainable in its current form.

"Ticket sales for the main stages have been falling year on year. In addition, the buyers... have overwhelmingly been from an older demographic and we have been unable to attract a younger audience in enough numbers."

The town council expects to stage a new summer music festival from next year.

Awarded UK Blues Festival of the Year 2019, the event is estimated to have attracted 25,000 people to the Lancashire town that year. It has been an annual event for the past 30 years.

A petition calling for the decision to be overturned has received more than 5,000 signatures online.

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