Place isn’t just geography – it affects how we feel

Image of bridge across Tyne with Glasshouse International Centre for Music, Gateshead
21 Mar 2024

Cara Pickering and Sarie Mairs Slee examine how place-based collaboration can support innovative, creative-led regeneration of our towns and cities.

‘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”.

‘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.

Arts projects to benefit from lottery fund expansion

21 May 2024

The National Lottery Community Fund, which has previously funded arts projects supporting wellbeing, young people and the elderly, has announced plans to extend its reach to more than 80% of the UK.

A hostile environment for artists?

Metroland studios
29 Apr 2024

Welcome to Metroland. We are in Brent, London’s fifth largest borough, an urban sprawl and home to 340,000 people. But, as Lois Stonock shares, the cultural infrastructure needs support.

The race for London’s City Hall

Image of autin dance theatre
24 Apr 2024

Voters across England go to the polls next week (2 May) to elect many thousands of new councillors and 10 metro mayors – one of them being the Mayor of London. Phoebe Gardiner outlines what mayoral hopefuls need to understand about the capital’s culture.

Harlow Council's plans for new arts quarter given green light

16 Apr 2024

Plans for a new arts and cultural quarter in Essex have been give the green light by a council planning committee.

Harlow Council secured £19.6m of government funding in 2023 to be spent regenerating the town centre's Playhouse Square and College Square.

The plans include major improvements to the Harlow Playhouse, which will be extended.

Land to the west of the theatre will be redeveloped to create a new live performance and music venue with a music school and recording studio.

A public square for events, outdoor performances, a cinema and outdoor dining will also be created.

Council officers described the planning application as "exemplary" and praised its "high-quality" design.

Harlow Council said the redevelopment will "bring people to the town".

City of Culture: Bradford nears £42m funding target

Street poster advertising Bradford 2025
04 Apr 2024

Corporate sponsorship deal sees amount raised by Bradford City of Culture 2025 reach 90% of predicted costs of year-long programme.

Sunderland gets investment for 'Music City' project

02 Apr 2024

Sunderland Music Arts and Culture Trust has received more than £300,000 for a music initiative designed to provide people from diverse backgrounds with full access to educational and cultural events.

A total of £300,000 has been provided for the Sunderland Music City project from a social investment fund for the North East of England established by Northstar Ventures and £37,500 from the County Durham Community Foundation.

MAC Trust currently organises several major events in Sunderland, including Summer Streets, in partnership with Sunderland Council and Arts Council England.

Through Music City, the trust hopes to establish and brand Sunderland as a 'music city', using music, audiences and venues to help change people's cultural experiences in the city and the region, make it a more vibrant place and somewhere musical talent want to study and live.

Paul Callaghan, Chair of MAC Trust, said: "By developing and supporting music we can help the city and the region in several important ways through job creation, economic and artistic growth, tourism development, reputation and brand building. 

"It will involve not just the music community but also the education and public sectors, voluntary bodies, and the community at large covering all musical genres, all ages and everyone who wants to play, sing, or listen."

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.

Under half of England’s local authorities have a cultural strategy

Suffolk County Council building
14 Feb 2024

Analysis from the start of last year found less than half of England’s local authorities have a publicly available cultural strategy.

Cornwall museum awarded £2.1m Levelling Up support

Exterior of Royal Cornwall Museum, River Street, Truro, Cornwall - June 2022
15 Jan 2024

Successful grant bid for the Royal Cornwall Museum comes less than two years after it faced closure following a loss of council support.

Cultural project for North Yorkshire gets ACE funding

18 Dec 2023

Three towns in North Yorkshire have been awarded £350,000 in funding from Arts Council England (ACE) to stage cultural events over two years.

The BBC reports that the Now Then! project will see arts events and activities staged in Selby, Tadcaster and Sherburn-in-Elmet between April 2024 and March 2026.

North Yorkshire Council's Executive Member for Culture and Leisure Simon Myers said it was an "exciting and ambitious" project that would focus on people's pride in where they live.

"Visitors will see our towns as places of singular cultural experiences, and local people will see where they live through fresh eyes," he said.

In Selby, new commissions will be based in the town's abbey and its surroundings, including music, dance, writing and performance.

In Tadcaster, members of the community arts company ARCADE will work with children and young people to create a programme of new work, while in Sherburn-in-Elmet, the community will select creative practitioners they would like to work with to co-devise and deliver activities there.

The programme has been given a Place Partnership award from ACE through the National Lottery.

Pete Massey, ACE's Director for Northern Economy and Partnerships, said they were delighted to fund the project.

"It's great to see so many partners working collaboratively on a project that will tell the stories of places and people as well as offer children and young people in Selby, Tadcaster and Sherburn the opportunity to get involved and develop their artistic skills," he said.

Creative corridors 'a growth engine’ for creative industries

View of Cardiff Bay
06 Dec 2023

Following plans for a Northern creative corridor, research identifies six more areas of the UK that could adopt the model to stimulate growth of the creative industries.

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.

Study reveals added economic value of cinemas

14 Nov 2023

A new study has quantified the additional social value provided by cinemas to its local communities for the first time.

Commissioned by the BFI and Creative Policy and Evidence Centre (Creative PEC), the study used valuation techniques derived from DCMS’s Culture and Heritage Capital Framework to calculate additional social value and found previously unmeasured benefits equivalent to £600,000 a year for each of the six cinemas analysed.

This social value, amounting to £5.18m per cinema over 10 years, is in addition to the value generated by cinemas through ticket and other sales and memberships, which equates to £1.18m annually for the average UK cinema.

Analysis found the six chosen cinema venues – Broadway in Nottingham, Cameo in Edinburgh, Everyman in Cardiff, Light in New Brighton, Ritzy Cinema and Café in Brixton and Vue Cinema in Glasgow Fort – each provide a focal point around which people engage within an area, driving footfall and spending in other areas.

Less than 2% of cinema-goers surveyed said they do not engage in other activities as part of their cinema trip

“Our new research shows that the public derives significant value from cinemas over and above what is reflected in the prices they pay for tickets, such as in the contribution that cinema venues make to pride in place,” Creative PEC Director Hasan Bakhshi said.

“There are obvious challenges in placing monetary value on complex assets like cinemas and theatres, however when done with due care, it strengthens the economic case for investing in culture.”

The survey also found almost two-thirds (63%) of survey respondents agreed their cinema contributed to “their sense of pride in the area where they live”.

When faced with a hypothetical scenario of their cinema in question being forced to close permanently, cinema-goes said they would be willing to each pay £18 on average per year to a voluntary fund to keep the cinema operating – over twice the cost of an average cinema ticket.

Coalition forms to deliver ‘Northern Creative Corridor’

An evening view of Media City in Salford
14 Nov 2023

BBC, ITV and Channel 4 are among those to sign a charter committing them to support at least one cross-regional initiative in the North of England next year.

£2.3m arts centre opens in Northern Ireland

07 Nov 2023

A £2.3m arts and culture centre has opened in Derry/Londonderry as part of an initiative funding projects in five urban areas of Northern Ireland (NI).

Funding for the New Gate Arts & Culture Centre comes from the Urban Villages Initiative, which is overseen by NI’s Executive Office.

The scheme offers funding for projects that develop thriving places where there has been a history of deprivation and community tension.

The new arts centre, located in the Fountain area of Derry/Londonderry, features a performance space, art and tuition rooms and a dance studio.

A spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council, which managed the development, said the centre will “assist in fostering positive community identities, building community capacity and improving the local physical environment”.

Joan O’Hara, Director of the Executive Office’s Urban Villages programme, added: “This is a fantastic regeneration project for the Fountain area of the city and across the region to provide a shared cultural space right in the heart of the local community”.

“The centre will invigorate the area and encourage the community to come together to celebrate their culture and backgrounds in a space that will use the arts to create new experiences and friendships.”

Plans for £25m heritage railway project revealed

CGI image of Barnsley Council's plans for a new heritage railway destination
06 Nov 2023

Plans to transform a former Yorkshire ironworks have been unveiled by Barnsley Council as it explores funding for the £25m project.


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