Creative People and Places restructure 'contradicts its ethos'

14 Apr 2022

Changes to the programme come after a "disappointing" couple of years in which those involved say ACE lost sight of its purpose.

Royals cut the ribbon at Spanish art gallery

08 Apr 2022

Prince Charles and Queen Letizia of Spain officially opened a new gallery of Spanish art in Bishop Auckland last week.

The first UK museum dedicated exclusively to Spanish art is part of the Auckland Project, which seeks to regenerate the township around Auckland Castle. It first opened to the public in October.

It features works by Francisco de Zurbarán, which were housed in the castle for more than 250 years before going up for sale in 2011.

They were purchased by philanthropist Jonathan Ruffer, who is the gallery's benefactor.


The place of theatre in the public realm

29 Mar 2022

A new report argues that urban planners need to do more to engage with theatre or risk losing these vital assets. Alice Morby has the details.  

North East invests £5m in cultural zones

28 Mar 2022

Three cultural and creative 'zones' will be established in the North East of England.

North of Tyne Combined Authority has invested £5m to create a "supportive and attractive environment" for creative businesses in North Shields town centre, Berwick-upon-Tweed, and Clayton Street in central Newcastle.

A report from the authority says the North Shields initiative in particular will "play a pivotal role in reinvigorating the place and creating social and economic benefits for the people who live, work and visit there – building social inclusion and helping to create a sense of pride".

The Berwick-upon-Tweed project is being led by Northumberland City Council, which is awaiting a full business case before giving final approval.

Search on for potential UNESCO World Heritage sites

28 Mar 2022

DCMS is asking places to put themselves forward for UNESCO World Heritage status.

Bids are reviewed every 10 years by a panel of heritage experts and "only locations with the potential to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List will be put forward to formal nomination," the department says.

A tentative list of sites that currently includes Scottish Flow Country and Gracehill in Northern Ireland will be updated later this year and given to the World Heritage Committee in 2024. 

There are currently 33 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the UK, including Stonehenge, The Tower of London, Hadrian's Wall and, more recently, the slate landscape of north west Wales. Liverpool lost its status last year due to development on its waterfront.

Heritage Minister Nigel Huddleston encouraged applications: "As well as international acclaim, UNESCO status boosts tourism and creates employment and economic growth opportunities."

£30m expansion for Black Country Living Museum

24 Mar 2022

Black Country Living Museum has received £30m to create new attractions that "whisk people back in time".

The project, titled Forging Ahead, is the museum's largest ever, expanding its footprint by about a third. 

It stalled due to a funding gap caused by the costs of cleaning up an industrial site needed for the expansion. Funding has now been committed by the West Midlands Combined Authority, whose Mayor Andy Street called the project "incredibly exciting".

It will offer visitors the chance to experience what life was like between the 1940s and 1960s with a historic old town and industrial quarter, among other spaces.

Wolverhampton’s iconic Elephant and Castle pub will be recreated and Dudley’s Woodside Library will be  rebuilt brick-by-brick on the museum site.

Chief Executive Andrew Lovett said the development "provides added momentum to thrive once again" following the challenges of Covid-19.

UNESCO's Creative Cities

Sherlock: The Abominable Bride filmed in Bristol
23 Mar 2022

UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network includes 13 UK cities. Karen Merkel shines a spotlight on a programme which demands international collaboration.

Levelling up won't fix social mobility in the arts

22 Mar 2022

Academics say moving money away from London and replicating successful models like UK City of Culture are only half a solution.

Unsuccessful City of Culture teams 'not disappointed'

21 Mar 2022

The legacy of the competition goes beyond the title, those who missed out say.

Arts Quarter proposed for London's West End

10 Mar 2022

Major institutions would act as gateways to a "gallery without walls" under a £1bn plan to support the area's economic recovery.

Reimagining theatre

09 Mar 2022

John McGrath shares his vision for a radical, new, ultra-flexible space that he hopes will be a significant addition to the cultural landscape.

NPO relocations: what you need to know

08 Mar 2022

Is moving outside of London worthwhile, and is it going to achieve what funders want?

£25m pledged for Edinburgh concert hall

08 Mar 2022

£25m has been committed to build the Dunard Centre, a long-awaited and much-debated concert hall in Edinburgh.

The Royal Bank of Scotland and Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal Joint Committee stumped up the funding as part of the £75m project budget. £15m more must still be fundraised.

City councillors green lit plans the new home for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra late last year. Initial plans were successfully challenged in court by hotel developers who worried the venue would block city views.

It will be Edinburgh's first new music venue in 100 years and the "cultural flagship" of its City Region Deal.

"I know so many people in the city are looking forward to enjoying all that this first-class cultural experience has to offer," Council Leader Adam McVey said.

Construction is due to begin soon on a site between St Andrew's Square and the St James Quarter. 



Call for second option on cultural heart plan

08 Mar 2022

Kirklees Council is being urged to put a proposed second option for its town centre cultural development out for public consultation.

Think Tank Same Skies recently argued that a temporary scheme that offered free rents of empty shops to local arts groups should be extended. The piazza is to be demolished as part of the £210m 'cultural heart' plan.

It says the council should put its idea to the public: "Why not explore both options side by side?"

Architects have just released mock-ups of the council's plans for the area, which include a 2,200 seat concert hall.


ACE instructed to address funding imbalance

women looks at art in gallery
24 Feb 2022

The funder is to redirect funding away from London-based organisations as outlined in the latest addendum to its guidance for applicants.

Higher education lends support to LEEDS 2023

22 Feb 2022

The University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University will lead a strand of the LEEDS 2023 programme with the support of other local educators.

Leeds Trinity University, Leeds Arts University, Northern School of Contemporary Dance and Luminate Education Group have also signed on to be "gold partners", offering events and opportunities to participate in the placemaking festival.

LEEDS 2023 Creative Director Kully Thirai said the partnerships aim to show that Leeds is "an exceptional city for anyone that wants a creative education".

"We will work with our education partners to create opportunities for those already studying in the city to be part of something that’s one-in-generation, and to attract more young talent to study, work and continue to create here."

Leeds University's involvement was first announced last year. It is working to establish a National Poetry Centre that will host several LEEDS 2023 activities and events.

Vice-Chancellor Simone Buitendijk said its Cultural Institute, which is leading on the project, will foster collaborations between the city's creative sectors and its students.

£210m Cultural Heart plan 'commonplace and risky'

21 Feb 2022

A shopping precinct turned arts centre due for demolition should instead be a model for other town centres, a think tank argues.

Tate’s 'backward step'

La Jornada Food Pantry at the Queens Museum
16 Feb 2022

Tate Exchange – the only dedicated community co-creation programme in a major museum – is to be discontinued. Stella Toonen thinks it’s a step backwards for a sector that had begun to let new voices in. 

Council stokes fear over museum restructure

14 Feb 2022

Stoke-on-Trent City Council's planned cut to museum funding will have an “immediate, significant and long-lasting adverse impact”, according to The Heritage Network.

The council has paused proposals to cut £560,000 funding and merge the teams at Gladstone Pottery Museum and the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery and says it will present a new business model in a month or two.

If plans go ahead, Gladstone will be closed to the public for five months each year so it can be used as a film set and events venue.

On Tuesday (February 15), the council announced it would extend Gladstone's opening hours to Tuesday through Sunday, reserving the first day of its week as a "special day for schools".

"If we do not take steps to develop Gladstone’s offer, the museum will not sustain and rare crafts could wither and die. We are not prepared for that to happen," Councillor Abi Brown said.

The Heritage Network Chair Danny Callaghan believes the plans will damage Stoke’s “distinctive reputation as a ceramic city of culture”.

“[It will] diminish our ability to build on existing strengths and hamper efforts to develop a truly world class cultural offer, putting years of hard work and planning at risk.”

Value co-creation key to levelling up

14 Feb 2022

A 'simple but radical' approach to co-creating arts offers a way to move from project to programme to true partnership, academics say.


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