Ireland unveils €6m funding for artists' studios

17 Jun 2024

The Irish government has announced a pilot scheme to increase the number of workspaces for artists and musicians, with a €6m fund for local authorities.

Announcing the government’s commitment to provide capital funding for the provision of artist workspaces, Culture Minister Catherine Martin said she was “acutely aware” of the pressures on artists and creatives, including those in the electronic music sector, to find suitable workspaces.

The scheme will be run through local authorities, who can apply for funding grants, provided they deliver 40 per cent match funding.

Each local authority can apply for up to €150,000 or €300,000  - depending on location - with funding focused on “the delivery of infrastructure to increase availability and access to artist workspaces”. 

“Much of our cultural infrastructure is initiated by our local authorities, and they have been a crucial resource in the delivery of arts and culture interventions over many decades,” said Martin

The plan follows last year's €3m Space to Create project by Dublin City Council to develop 60 artist workspaces in the city.

Last month, the Irish government revealed that a year into its pilot scheme to provide a basic income for artists, creatives receiving a weekly stipend are spending more time on their practice per week, less time working in other sectors and suffering less from depression and anxiety.

Artists’ charity launches appeal to buy historic studio building

View from an Acme Propeller Factory studio, 2024
17 Jun 2024

Acme said it hopes that by buying the Propeller Factory, it can develop the building to better meet the demand for affordable artists' studios in London.

Fail, fail again, fail better

Launch of Failspace
12 Jun 2024

Failure is part of life. We all know this, creative folk perhaps better than most, says Katie Villa. But how can we learn to fail well?

Bristol Council moots ticket levy to support artists

Muse performing in Bristol in 2019
10 Jun 2024

Local authority floats idea of adding between one and three per cent to the cost of music events in the city with the money reinvested in grassroots music.

Sheffield-based music studio saved from closure

10 Jun 2024

Make Noise Studios, a musicians’ hub in Sheffield, has been saved from closure.

Since opening in June last year, the studio space has welcomed up to 70 bands per week and now employs seven staff members and up to 15 workers on a freelance basis. The facility is also used to teach young and neurodivergent people.

Doubt was cast over its future as it faced eviction, with a developer planning to convert the studio’s current home into a car park as part of a residential development.

Over £2,500 was raised to help save the studio. The developer has now agreed to sell Make Noise Studios the building next door to its current premises.

“We are in a much better place knowing where we are going,” Chico Couto, the company’s Business Manager, told the BBC. “[The developers] are really, really good people and they have been really nice to us.”

Creative charter goes live in Hull and East Yorkshire

03 Jun 2024

Businesses in Hull and East Yorkshire are being urged to pledge commitment to arts and culture in the area by signing up to a creative charter.

Thought to be the first of its kind in the UK, The Hull and East Yorkshire Creative Charter aims to bolster the region’s creative sector.

The charter is a declaration to collaborate with the arts sector for collective good, with no cost or direct financial commitment required to join. By signing, businesses are asked to “unite” to connect with arts organisations and freelancers, “advocate” for Hull and East Yorkshire’s creative sector, “grow” by utilising creative organisations where possible and supporting them financially, and “include” by using their collective voice to create a more equitable future for all involved.

Signatories will be encouraged to work with arts and cultural groups where possible, such as displaying local artwork on their premises, celebrating culture on their social media channels, donating staff time to support events or activities, and offering training course spaces to creatives free of charge.

The charter's founding signatories include Hull City Council, East Riding of Yorkshire City Council, the University of Hull, Hull College, the Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce, and tourist attraction The Deep.

“The arts sector delivers so much for our region, but it can’t do it all on its own,” said Max May, Chief Officer of cultural partnership HEY Creative, at the launch of the charter.

“Collaborating with the creative sector can spark fresh ideas which unlock growth opportunities and change the way companies approach challenges. We’re fortunate to have a rich and varied cultural scene across the region, and the Creative Charter opens up opportunities for businesses and other organisations to tap into it.”

Positive impact of Ireland’s basic income pilot continues

A sculptor working in a studio
28 May 2024

A year into the pilot, artists receiving a weekly stipend are spending more time on their practice per week, less time working in other sectors and are suffering less from depression and anxiety.

An explosive level of jeopardy

Images of school pupils with a lousie bourgeois sculpture
21 May 2024

The challenges facing London’s cultural sector are legion, but they cannot be addressed in isolation. Southbank Centre's Artistic Director Mark Ball says we need to create an interconnected national ecology.

Music Venue Trust announces 'Artist Pledge' campaign

21 May 2024

Music Venue Trust (MVT) has launched a new campaign calling on musicians to support grassroots music venues.

'The Artist Pledge' is asking for artists to make a commitment to give back to small venues at a point in their careers when they are headlining arenas.

Toni Coe-Brooker at MVT said the campaign is “asking artists today to stand with all of us in the grassroots sector as a show of solidarity".

He added it was important for everyone working with artists – managers, agents, promoters and venues – "to find a way to send financial support back down the pipeline”.

More than 45 artists have so far pledged support, including Frank Turner, snake eyes, The Luka State, Sister, Red Rum Club and Vigilantes.

MVT said that in 2023, 16% of the UK’s grassroots music venues closed or ceased to programme new music due to financial issues such as energy costs, rent and rates.

The charity wants every concert ticket sold at arena and stadium level to contain a levy to provide financial support to the grassroots sector.

Artists can sign the pledge at

French artistic residency programme opens

21 May 2024

The third edition of a UK-France programme that provides opportunities for visual artists from both countries has opened for applications.

Through the Magnetic 3 programme, administered by Arts Council England, five arts organisations in the UK will be paired with organisations in France.  

UK artists will be able to apply for a residency with the French organisation paired with the region where they are based, and vice versa.

Organisations taking part are Wysing Arts Centre in Cambridge, Gasworks in London, Aberystwith Arts Centre, Flax Art Studios in Belfast, and Cove Park in Scotland.

Artists selected for the programme will receive a monthly fee of £2,100 during their two-month residencies, along with accommodation, studio space and mentoring and development opportunities.

Simon Mellor, Deputy Chief Executive at Arts Council England, said: “International exchange is vital for helping our cultural sector to thrive and provides artists and organisations with the chance to develop their skills and expand their networks. 

"It also ensures that audiences in this country get the opportunity to experience the best of global culture.  

"Magnetic has already been successful in strengthening the relationship between the UK and French cultural sectors by supporting several brilliant artists, and we are delighted to build on that foundation by investing in the third year of the programme.”

The application process is open until 15 July.


A louder Tees Valley voice

A woman in a dressing gown standing on a table by a river bed
20 May 2024

Tees Valley Combined Authority has launched a radical new programme for artists which could provide a groundbreaking model for other authorities, writes Charlie Kemp

Campaigners call on council to save art centre

14 May 2024

Campaigners have called on Shropshire Council to protect a charity-run art centre amid concerns that the local authority plans to sell the building.

English Bridge Workshop at Abbey Foregate has provided studio spaces for local artists and community groups since 1985. The building is council-owned but run by the charity Makespace CIC.

The charity says its trustees have been working with the council for several years to investigate the possibility of a community asset transfer, which would hand over ownership of the building to the charity.

However, the council, which is facing a £60m funding gap, has announced that "all plans for community use of the building are on hold".

Councillor Kate Halliday told Shropshire Star: "The English Bridge Workshop has been an invaluable asset for the community for decades. So many residents from Shrewsbury and beyond have attended gigs, meetings, events and classes in the building over the years. Many of the regular classes provide a lifeline for people."

Campaigners are hosting a public meeting on 20 May to "unite community members, artists, and historians to brainstorm ways to protect and celebrate" the centre.

Camden youth arts scheme creates £3.7m in social value 

A young person operates a clapper board for filming
30 Apr 2024

Research from Social Change UK estimates that for every £1 invested by Roundhouse in its youth film and digital projects, £42.25 is generated in social value.

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.

Let's get smart about paying artists

Image of 'stoned fox'
26 Apr 2024

To mark World Intellectual Property Day, Adele Morse thinks it’s time the UK caught up with other countries in paying its artists fairly. 

Patience 'wearing thin' over fair pay deal for music creators

24 Apr 2024

First meeting of group tasked with achieving cross-industry consensus on how much musicians make from streaming begins with call for action to 'ensure the UK remains a competitive marketplace for music-making'.

MP raises issue of lack of artist studio space

23 Apr 2024

An MP has spoken in Parliament about concerns over a shortage of "essential" studio and exhibition spaces for artists in Leighton Buzzard and Dunstable.

Andrew Selous, South West Bedfordshire MP, told Ministers: “Leighton Buzzard, Dunstable and many other parts of my constituency are blessed with an abundance of artists, painters, sculptors and others, but they have very few places where they can create their work and even fewer places in which to exhibit. They need more studio space and more workspaces.

"Providing such spaces should be essential – it aids economic activity, increases footfall and increases wellbeing.”

Julia Lopez, Minister for Media, Tourism and Creative Industries, replied: "The Government are committed to encouraging local authorities and property owners to make spaces available for cultural activities.

"Arts Council England is already supporting artists’ spaces through funding and brokering partnerships. 

“As I say, we support creative industries primarily through Arts Council England, which has initiatives that look at workspaces. I encourage organisations in his constituency and community to make applications for grants, because there are specific funds available.

Selling artists the dream

Graphic of a face with 'Dreams Here' written above
16 Apr 2024

Being an artist, at all career stages, is a minefield waiting to be triggered without informed guidance. Simon Poulter has been canvassing artists about being sold a dream.

Artistic freedom: Threats and challenges

Image of Toomaj Salehi
10 Apr 2024

Artistic freedom is an increasingly contested area of public discourse. But as Ruth Anderson of Index on Censorship argues, while she might not agree with what is expressed, she defends the right to do so.

MPs back proposed £300m Smart Fund for creator remuneration

10 Apr 2024

Select Committee says government must ‘plug the gaps' in outdated copyright and intellectual property regulations’ to help future-proof creators rights.


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