Arts in health: What's changed in 25 years?

Scene from a hospital passion play
20 Feb 2024

The role of arts in healthcare settings has become part of the recognised creative landscape, but this is far from how things were when Lucinda Jarrett started out.

Community culture in Bradford gets £1m boost

14 Mar 2024

Scores of community-led arts, culture and heritage initiatives in Bradford will get combined funding of £1m, it has been announced.

As part of a programme funded by Arts Council England and Bradford Council, Creative People and Places organisation The Leap will share the money between around 140 new projects run by individuals and groups across Bradford and Keighley.

The BBC reports that each project will get between £250 and £10,000 to spend on creative schemes and events.

Shabz Musaji, from The Leap, said: "We want to inspire the next level of young people as well as all other groups to come forward to engage with The Leap," he said.

"We're looking forward to promoting arts and culture, because there are a lot of beneficiaries to this. We have projects that address mental health; we have projects that address heritage. These are really good things to talk about and to celebrate."

Residents to decide West Cumbria's cultural spend

A Made in Millom event
11 Mar 2024

A citizens' jury of 30 West Cumbrian residents will advise and create a new cultural project with a budget of £100,000.

Young people as changemakers

The Agency national gathering at Contact, Manchester
20 Nov 2023

For ten years, The Agency has supported young people to create social change projects for their communities. Andrew Westle shares its journey over the decade.

Everyday barriers to creativity

Children attaching paintings to a wall
31 Oct 2023

New guidance on Supporting Everyday Creativity has been released by Arts Council England. But, as Kirsty Lothian of Fun Palaces argues, the main barriers to exercising everyday creativity lie well outside ACE’s remit.

Post-NPO life

Party with people on stage and balloons
10 Oct 2023

Following the closure of the Bridge network earlier this year, and an unsuccessful bid for ACE funding, Nick Owen of The Mighty Creatives still thinks there’s life after funding loss.

Scottish communities to get creative funding boost 

25 Sep 2023

Communities in Scotland will receive more than £130k as part of a creative funding boost in the latest round of the National Lottery's Awards for All programme, supported by Creative Scotland.  

The scheme will see over £130k distributed to 17 community groups and creative projects across Scotland. Since the programme began in December 2022, it has made 74 awards, amounting to more than £588k.

The projects supported are rooted within local areas and include the Glasgow Herstory Workshops, community arts at Glenuig Hall in the Highlands and youth music opportunities in East Ayrshire, each of which will receive around £10k.

Executive Director of Arts, Communities and Inclusion at Creative Scotland, Dana MacLeod, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players and the brilliant work of these local initiatives, this funding will make a huge difference to people’s lives.

“The quality of Awards for All applications received speaks volumes of the care and ingenuity of people working within communities, and we’re delighted that these grants are being used to support great projects that strengthen those communities and improve lives in so many ways.” 

Women & Theatre at 40

Black and white image of Women & Theatre founders
18 Sep 2023

Women & Theatre is celebrating 40 years of pioneering work. Founder member and Artistic Director Janice Connolly reflects on how much has changed over the four decades.

Rural arts in Northern Ireland receive £400k

05 Sep 2023

A total of 63 rural arts projects will share £400,000 of funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, it has been announced.

The money, which is coming from the third round of the National Lottery's Rural Engagement Arts Programme, will go to community groups, arts organisations and local authorities in communities across Northern Ireland.

Organisations set to benefit include Dylan Quinn Dance Theatre Company in Fermanagh and Omagh, which has been awarded £9,000 to undertake a 40-day programme of dance workshops.

Meanwhile, £5,640 will go to Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann Craobh Boirche in Newry, Mourne and Down, which will use the money to provide traditional Irish music classes. 

Gilly Campbell, Director of Arts Development at Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “We know that taking part in arts activities can raise self-esteem, boost confidence and motivation, as well as alleviate isolation and loneliness. 

The Rural Engagement Arts Programme has supported a total of 135 arts projects in rural areas with fudning of £898,780 since its establishment in 2022.

'Art Doctors' to work with libraries in Kirklees

12 Jul 2023

An arts project aimed at reducing loneliness and isolation is launching in West Yorkshire after receiving £30,000 funding from Arts Council England.

The Art Doctors, a troupe of artistic medics founded in 2015, will be working with Kirklees Library staff to develop activities and research the impact creativity has on wellbeing. Their focus will be on the role libraries can play in helping people make connections and get involved in their community.

They will also be setting up a 'practice' in the old Thorntons unit at Huddersfield Piazza from Wednesday 19 July to Saturday 22 July, and again from Wednesday 26 July until Saturday 29 July, to allow members of the public to try their hand at painting, drawing and writing as well as performing arts such as dance and playing music.

Paul Davies, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services at Kirklees Council, said: “Kirklees Libraries are at the heart of our communities, delivering activities that promote art and culture. 

"We are excited to be working with Art Doctors on this flagship project that will create compassion, encourage community connections, and tackle loneliness and social isolation in Kirklees.  

"Our programme of activity will adapt to the needs of local residents helping them to be more involved and active in their communities."

High streets: The future is now

Street Fest in Gloucester on 1 July 2023. Giant puppet Farrah the Fox parades the streets with Sabrina, a puppet representing the Spirit of the River Severn, created in partnership with Emergency Exit Arts. 
12 Jul 2023

More than half of England’s high streets were built over a century ago, with buildings now falling into disrepair. Ellen Harrison shares how culture-led regeneration is changing them for the better. 

Dancing for wellbeing

Kedese and Ben-King from London take a break from their filming of Future Movement’s short film, Brave.
03 Jul 2023

When arts organisations embed participation into their core purpose, they can connect with exciting and radical ideas and ensure programmes thrive. Daniel Fulvio shares Rambert’s approach.

Worcester Mela receives funding for 'melting pot' project

20 Jun 2023

South Asian Arts Organisation Worcester Mela has shared details of a project set to reveal the "hidden stories" of the city's South Asian migrant communities.

The Melting Pot project, which has been awarded £48,000 of National Lottery funding by Arts Council England, will highlight and explore the role of South Asian migrants in 'the great industrial factories of Worcester'.

It will focus on real life stories from workers at companies including Lea & Perrins, Metal Box, Metal Castings and Royal Worcester.

The project, which will include a series of workshops with factory workers and their family, will span 18 months, before a final multi-disciplinary performance will take place at Worcester Mela’s first annual festival in September 2024.

Worcester Mela vice-chair Anjali Fowler, who led on the funding bid, said: "It's very exciting to be able to tell the hidden stories of South Asian migrant communities in Worcester, and work with them to create a performance that I am certain will inspire and delight audiences".

Spotlight on new NPOs: Trigger

Image of The Hatchling project
12 Jun 2023

Based in North Somerset, Trigger is a group of shapeshifting creatives who dream-up, create and produce bold and brave, live and digital events, to disrupt, reimagine and revive public spaces. Angie Bual is their Creative Director.

Spotlight on new NPOs: Hospital Rooms

A hospital room with work tables and soft furnishings
01 Jun 2023

In the first of this series on new entrants to ACE's National Portfolio, Tim A Shaw and Niamh White share how this is enabling them to contribute more fully to the national conversation around arts and mental health.

Everyday creativity - for everyone?

Graphic showing magic, gaming, cookery, drawing, a microphone
24 May 2023

Our recent research into everyday creativity reveals new ways cultural organisations could serve wider communities. But making the most of them, says Anne Torreggiani in this preview of a forthcoming resource, might need a radical rethink.

Scotland launches fund for participatory arts and mental health

24 May 2023

A new fund has been launched in Scotland to nurture specialist practice in participatory arts and mental health.

Creative Scotland’s Participatory Arts and Mental Health Fund is backed with £145,000 from The National Lottery.

Created in partnership with the Baring Foundation and the Mental Health Foundation, the initiative is in response to increased interest in the connections between art, health and well-being.

Kim Simpson, Creative Scotland’s Head of Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion, hopes the fund will help promote a deeper understanding of the role the arts can play in this area.

She said: “The funding will allow for time and space for new ideas and approaches to be explored and developed, and for innovative ways of working to emerge that will benefit mental health prevention and recovery within participatory settings.”

She added that work in this area “couldn’t be more crucial or timely as we in Scotland, like other nations in the UK and around the world, grapple with the worsening mental health crisis”.

Community arts should not be segregated from 'real' art

A group of four people under a gazebo in an outdoor Fun Palace
23 May 2023

This week Fun Palaces celebrates its tenth anniversary. During that decade, as Kirsty Lothian and Amie Taylor write, they have become a major force in the campaign for cultural democracy.

An epic collective digital artwork celebrating UK wildlife

Mobile phone showing The Wild Escape app photographing wildlife
09 May 2023

At a time when museums are facing increasing external pressures, Mike Keating shares how a major new project has inspired children to respond to the UK’s natural environment.

Performing arts centre secures government youth funding

03 Apr 2023

A performing arts centre in Norwich will receive £460,000 from a government fund.

The Garage in Norwich, a charity established in 2002 to support young people, particularly those that are disadvantaged, vulnerable or with limited opportunities, will get the money to improve its dance, drama and music facilities.

The money comes from the second round of the government's Youth Investment Fund will distribute a total of £90m to 43 youth centres.

The BBC reports that the Garage's Chief Executive, Adam Taylor, said the centre has been "working furiously" for 12 months to secure the investment.

"It's an amazing sum of money and we're incredibly fortunate to be in this position," Taylor said.

"It means we can repair our boiler which broke last year, and refurbish our cafe and bar and dance studios, which will help us earn money to support our charitable work with those facing challenging circumstances.

"The rest of the money will enable us to continue opening our doors to thousands of youngsters every day so they can take part in activities that give them the chance to change their lives."


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