City advisors 'the only way' to save night time economy

06 Dec 2021

A Night Time Advisor in every major city will help kickstart the industry's recovery.

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) hopes to establish 12 new advisors to match those in Bristol, London and Greater Manchester.

Covid-19 closures and restrictions have caused an estimated 90,000 job losses, with a third of the UK’s nightclubs no longer trading.

The advisors will act as representatives for local nightlife, reporting to their local or combined authority executive to spotlight regional issues.

NTIA CEO Michael Kill says this is the only way the sector can recover its pre-pandemic vibrance.

“We would call on all relevant local and combined authorities to engage with us on this to benefit the many millions who want to see thriving night time economies all over the UK.”

£8.1m to redevelop Trowbridge Town Hall

29 Nov 2021

Witshire's Trowbridge Town Hall is set to undergo a £8.1m redevelopment next year.

Half of the £16.3m given to Trowbridge from the Future High Streets Fund will go towards restoring the Grade-II listed building's ballroom and creating three smaller performances spaces.

The venue hosts film, music, visual arts and theatre events, welcoming 50,000 visitors annually.

Director David Lockwood hopes the project will reimagine a town centre with community ownership and culture at its heart.

"The Town Hall opened over 100 years ago and pledged ‘for the benefit of the inhabitants of the town for ever.’ A century on, we’re inspired by that history to create a pioneering cultural venue which is deeply rooted in its community."

Culture hit twice as hard as rest of UK economy

25 Nov 2021

Merseyside, South Yorkshire, and the West Midlands are among the regions that lost the most economic value due to Covid-19. 

Going public

a group of people take part in a light installation
25 Nov 2021

Jonothan Neelands puts the case for a needs-based public culture, akin to Public Health or Public Education, to tackle inequality.

£6.5m works to restore sculptors' society home

23 Nov 2021

The Royal Society of Sculptors has begun a £6.5m project to turn its historic home into "a leading centre of sculpture and 3D art".

It will reopen next summer following the first phase of works to "conserve and transform" Grade II listed Dora House.

Fundraising is under way, with a further £165,000 needed to make the building watertight and restore the facade.

President Claire Burnett called the need for repairs "critical".

"One staff member has to sit under an umbrella when it rains, the basement is out of bounds due to damp and the front and chimney are in need of a complete overhaul."

Most of the society's income comes from renting out half the building, which also provides gallery spaces that are visited by about 12,000 people each year.

The society says it will continue delivering exhibitions, residencies and education initiatives during the closure.

Crafts charity rebrands for inclusive future

22 Nov 2021

Crafts charity Devon Guild of Craftsmen has rebranded to MAKE Southwest ahead of redevelopment plans.

A spokesperson said the new name reflects the many women involved in the gallery and its focus beyond Devon.

The charity plans to restore its Grade II-listed mill building to improve accessibility, restore its waterwheel and create new maker spaces for craftspeople. 

MAKE Southwest Chair Louis Victory said the works will turn the building into a “creative place in its own right”

“Although the early months of the pandemic were difficult, we are now operating successfully, having taken the opportunity to modernise and plan for an ambitious and exciting future.”

£107m Culture Recovery Fund round to sustain sector over winter

18 Nov 2021

925 organisations will share the latest round of grants from the £2bn fund - 873 of them for a second or third time.

Huddersfield moots £210m cultural centre revamp

18 Nov 2021

Huddersfield will get a new art gallery, library, event venue and museum under proposals to create a new "cultural heart" in the town centre.

Councillors' preferred plan involves turning the central library into a museum and using service tunnels beneath the city as an exhibition space.

An event venue could have capacity for up to 2,500 people.

The council will need to borrow to finance £210m in works, slated to begin in 2026.

Cabinet Member for Regeneration Peter McBride called it "a thoughtful risk".

"It's also a huge risk to ignore the issue and to leave things behind and not to invest in our future.

"If we don't, this town will be doomed."

£16m to redevelop gallery into heritage site

18 Nov 2021

Plans to redevelop Oldham's library and art gallery into a £16m heritage site have been approved.

The new attraction will contribute to long-held ambitions for a cultural quarter in the town after a £27m redevelopment plan for the Coliseum theatre was axed.

This is the second attempt to create a heritage centre in Oldham: a plan was approved in 2018 but more stabilising works were needed.

The building will house Oldham's museum and archives, emphasising the town's historic role in the cotton industry.

Courtauld Gallery reopens after £57m revamp

15 Nov 2021

London's Courtauld Gallery has reopened to the public following a three year, £57m refurbishment.

Closed in 2018 for renovations, the Somerset House site has retained its original 18th Century staircases and added improved exhibition spaces for its impressionist and post-impressionist collections.

"We feel we’ve earned a bit of good luck in three years of closure that had its challenges, including Covid," head of the gallery Ernst Vegelin van Claerbergen said.

"We hope London and England and the UK will feel that this is a place they absolutely want to come to see and it’s the right time and in the right spirit of the moment."

Museums await answers over urgent building repairs

10 Nov 2021

A delayed and oversubscribed fund is about £100m smaller than first pledged - and maintenance issues are growing.

Reading opens cultural hub after fundraising £1m

08 Nov 2021

Reading’s first ever producing theatre has opened following a two-year campaign that raised over £1m.

Reading Rep Theatre is sited in an old Salvation Army building and features a 163-seat auditorium alongside rehearsal and studio spaces.

More than 20 trusts and foundations contributed to the refurbishment, as well as Arts Council England, The National Lottery Community Fund and Reading Borough Council.

Artistic Director Paul Stacey called the theatre “a cultural hub for a town emerging out of isolation”.

“It's a really special moment... we've finally got the resources to realise our ambitions and put Reading on the national cultural map.”

£1.9m to transform 500 primary school libraries

pupil sat in a primary school library
03 Nov 2021

New investment into the World of Stories programme will target seven areas highlighted as Arts Council England priority places.

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".

Essex to launch local arts recovery fund

19 Oct 2021

Essex County Council will launch a local Arts and Cultural Recovery Fund next month.

The fund is geared towards recovery and development post-pandemic, benefitting organisations that support artistic and cultural work.

Graham Butland, the council’s cabinet minister for devolution, the arts, heritage and culture, has not revealed the size of the fund but said it is “significant”.

He confirmed a key focus will be supporting small grassroots organisations.

“The arts is something the county council left the stage a few years ago and we want to back in there.”

London to repurpose Royal Docks as cultural quarter

19 Oct 2021

London’s Royal Docks is set to become ‘London’s cultural engine’ under plans to repurpose the space as a cultural quarter.

Work has begun on a range of creative spaces, including transforming the Tate & Lyle Sugar warehouses into a community workspace. Planning permission has also been granted for a rotating theatre to open in 2023.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz believe the area can transform into a place where “new ideas are formed and cultural participation is open to all”.

Khan said the quarter has the potential to deliver 35,000 jobs, 4,000 new homes and more than £5bn of inward investment within the next 20 years.

“It is the latest example of London roaring back to life with culture leading the way in our city’s economic recovery.” 

Strategy will make Peterborough a ‘cultural hotspot’

05 Oct 2021

The city must address a “cultural deficit” among its youth, consultation finds, as it eyes a bid for UK City of Culture 2029.

Canning Dock redevelopment to investigate historic slave trade

29 Sep 2021

National Museums Liverpool (NML) has announced the winners of a competition to redevelop Liverpool’s Canning Dock.

Architects Asif Khan, Mariam Kamara and Sir David Adjaye will work alongside artist Theaster Gates to transform the area between the Royal Albert Dock and Mann Island.

Competition judges were unanimous in picking the winning team, whose plans start with redeveloping spaces in the Dr Martin Luther King Jr Building “to explore and investigate the transatlantic slave trade and legacies”.

Gates hopes the redevelopment will “give emotional heft to the truth of slavery in the UK”.

“Canning Dock represents one of the most important racialised sites in the UK and it gives me tremendous honour to work with this team to realise the complexity of the site.”

Council criticised over mixed messages on theatre sale

29 Sep 2021

A £191,000 Culture Recovery Fund grant was meant to help the theatre reopen and reach new audiences. Now, locals can't get a clear answer on whether it will be sold.

A curatorial career driving culture-led regeneration

image of Victoria Pomery
28 Sep 2021

Ten years after Turner Contemporary opened its doors to the public, its Director Victoria Pomery OBE is stepping down. Here she reflects on her career.


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