UK's first queer camping festival launches

20 Jan 2022

The UK's first queer camping festival will take place near London this spring.

Flesh features a house and techno line-up, 90% of which are women, trans and non-binary artists of varying ethnicities: "As such, Flesh will address the long term issue of male dominated festival programming," its manifesto says.

The two-day event aims to improve artists' visibility and help them generate new bookings by leading by example. 

"Many people talk about equality in electronic music but Flesh will take real life action to make it happen."

There are no creative ‘cold spots’

Members of an orchestra play the steel drums at a church
19 Jan 2022

Co-creation is often about professionals ‘inviting people in’. But, as Barbara Eifler argues, communities do not need to be organised - they are already doing it for themselves.

The metaverse is here to stay

Eclipse as part of Serpentine's Future Art Ecosystems Art x Metaverse by Zion Konig
19 Jan 2022

For good or bad, we need to learn to live with the metaverse. But what is it, and why is it important for the cultural sector to be involved? Kay Watson shares her insights.

SWG3 to build £1.5m artist studio

17 Jan 2022

Glasgow event space SWG3 is building a £1.5m artist studio on its premises.

The new Yard Works premises will house artists, youth organisations and community groups. It marks the latest stage of a £7.1m development project, aiming to reshape the venue into a "world-class cultural destination".

The project’s first phase of public access works is due to be completed this month.

Founder and Managing Director Andrew Fleming-Brown says the new studio space will help SWG3 to grow its Yard Works programming.

“It will not just benefit the area culturally, but also have wider social and economic impact through the community.”

Disability Empowerment Programme launches in Bristol

13 Jan 2022

A new initiative aimed at increasing disabled representation in the music industry has launched in Bristol.

Founded by artist management company Harbourside, The Disability Empowerment Programme is looking to recruit a young music manager with a disability, long-term health condition or neurodiversity into a paid internship.

The programme follows research by Harbourside indicating half of disabled music workers don’t disclose their conditions.

Owner Ben Price hopes the new initiative will help change perceptions the music industry is an inaccessible place for disabled people to work.

"It won’t be a short journey, but the Disability Empowerment Programme will hopefully help to improve the number of disabled people working in the industry both on stage and behind the scenes."

Fragile livelihoods

11 Jan 2022

A collective of dance freelancers has initiated a critical response to the fragile nature of their livelihoods. Anna Alvarez and Alister O’Loughlin say they are aiming for long term change.

Brighton dance studio sets July opening

11 Jan 2022

Brighton & Hove's first purpose-built dance studio is set to open in July.

Construction of The Dance Space began nearly five years ago, following a 10-year fundraising campaign and financial support from Brighton & Hove City Council and the National Lottery.

The completed studio features two accessible ground-floor dance studios and a first-floor creation and performance space, as well as rooms and offices spaces for hire.

Artistic Director Cath James says the space will allow professional artists to work alongside dancers of all ages and abilities.

"The launch will mark a significant moment for Brighton & Hove, providing an important new cultural asset for the whole community to experience the joy and wellbeing that dance can offer every body."

Essex opens £1m arts fund

05 Jan 2022

Essex County Council has opened a £1m arts and culture fund for applications.

Artists and arts organisations can apply for between £2,500 and £30,000, with decisions expected late March.

Applicants should explain how they contribute to Everyone's Essex, the four-year plan for the area's creative sector.

The council says Essex's creative sector was the third largest in the UK pre-pandemic, contributing an estimated £2.6bn.


January challenge

Hands showing how to make the word 'together' in Makaton
05 Jan 2022

Last year, more than 50,000 people took part in a creative challenge. Now the invitation to rise to the January challenge is open again. Michaela Tranfield has the details.

One in eight arts workers get no sick pay

08 Dec 2021

73,000 arts and entertainment workers do not quality for statutory sick pay, according to trade union body TUC.

The figure amounts to one in eight sector workers, or 12% of the workforce.

TUC warns that tougher self-isolation rules introduced in light of the Omicron variant could leave these workers without income over the Christmas period.

“Our sick pay system is broken. No one should be left to choose between doing the right thing or putting food on the table," TUC General Secretary Francis O'Grady said.

The UK has the least generous statutory sick pay in Europe, the union says, worth £96.35 per week and only available to employees earning more than £120 per week.

The Government previously introduced a temporary scheme to assist people who face hardship if required to self-isolate, but TUC analysis found 64% of applications were rejected.

What are the rules for performing artists coming to the UK?

photo of band playing a concert to an audience
07 Dec 2021

One year on, artists are still struggling with the legal complexities around performance in the UK. Gary McIndoe explains the details.

First ever employment deal for video game voice actors

06 Dec 2021

A landmark deal on working conditions for voice actors working on video games has been agreed.

Voice studio OMUK will give Equity members details of the game prior to or at the time of audition and disclose whether an accent is required, among other information. 

Minimum fees will be set according to the production's budget. Games with a budget under £500,000 must pay at least £175 per hour, increasing to a minimum £300 for games with a budget of £5m or more. 

OMUK Managing Director Mark Estdale says the deal brings the industry in line with existing TV, stage and film agreements.

"Without taking this step, the games industry would remain the wild west of media even though it's now probably the biggest employer of talent."

£2.7m recovery funding for Northern Irish artists

06 Dec 2021

1,433 artists working in Northern Ireland will share £2.7m in emergency funding.

The final wave of the £5m Creative Individual Recovery Programme (CIRP) has been delivered by Arts Council Northern Ireland (ACNI) on behalf of the Department of Communities.

Successful applicants were awarded up to £2,000 to undertake activity linked to their practice or art form.

The annoucement follows recent calls for further support to the sector, after Covid-19 erased a quarter of the country's creative workforce

ACNI Chief Executive Roisin McDonough said the money means artists won't be forced to find alternative work.

“That would take Northern Ireland years to recover from.”

MPs vote down streaming bill

06 Dec 2021

A bill to reform musicians' rights to payment from streaming failed to progress in the House of Commons on Friday (3 December).

59 MPs voted against a second reading, with 28 voting in favour.

All 59 dissenting MPs were Conservatives despite 44 Tory MPs signing an open letter in October that asked Boris Johnson to “start paying musicians properly”.

Minister for Science, Research and Innovation George Freeman said the Government supports the DCMS Select Committee's recommendations and will work to ensure a "fair and vibrant digital creative inudstries and music sector".

Music Managers Forum Chief Executive Annabella Coldrick and Featured Artists Coalition CEO David Martin said even though the bill fell at the first hurdle, the trajectory towards eradicating "outdated industry practices" feels "unstoppable".

"The Government has delivered a very clear message to major labels, publishers and collecting societies: if you don't deliver change, then legislation cannot be ruled out."

BPI CEO Geoff Taylor said that although well-intentioned, the bill was not the right way forward for british music.

“We have listened to the arguments made across the debate and will engage positively and proactively with the process government has put in place to look for joint solutions to ensure the streaming market continues to grow and sustain the careers of many more artists.”

£261k grant to increase access to 'radical' theatremaking

01 Dec 2021

Camden People’s Theatre in London has been awarded £261,000 to help artists make "radical theatre from scratch".

Awarded by The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the fund aims to increase the diversity of people with access to artistic work and help them develop their creative practice over the next three years.

Upcoming programmes include 10-week long development scheme Starting Blocks and Camden People's Theatre’s seed commissions 2022, currently open for applications.

The 2022 edition will support artists from marginalised backgrounds, with nine £1,000 grants available alongside one week of rehearsals, a performance slot at the theatre, and ongoing development support.

Executive Director Nicola Clements says the funding offers “real certainty” for the coming years.

"We can now commit to a regular calendar of commissions over the next three years, expressly supporting early career artists from marginalised backgrounds, making radical theatre from scratch."

Breaking down class barriers

four actors performing on stage
01 Dec 2021

Performing arts students from working class backgrounds face considerable barriers to entering the theatre profession. Andrew Muir has set up a programme to address this.

My Gurus: Practice pays off

portrait of Hugh Cutting
01 Dec 2021

Countertenor Hugh Cutting, winner of this year’s Kathleen Ferrier award, reflects on the people who have inspired and guided his career … and made him practise.

NI schools funded to work with professional artists

30 Nov 2021

Eleven schools in Northern Ireland will each receive funding to hire professional artists.

£15,000 has been awarded by the Creative Schools Partnership, a combination of National Lottery, Education Authority and NI Executive funding, across the schools' proposals.

Projects include screenwriting, dance, photography, filmmaking and music composition. Grants will cover two years' work.

First Minister Paul Givan said: “This successful partnership has already seen hundreds of children engage with the programme within post-primary schools in urban villages areas.

“The young people have benefited from this innovative arts-based approach, which has supported curriculum learning and improved their educational outcomes.”


£1m to support South Yorkshire’s cultural recovery

28 Nov 2021

Creative and cultural start-ups and small businesses in South Yorkshire can now apply for grants supporting post-Covid recovery. 

The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) will offer between £5,000 and £40,000 per applicant. A total of £1m is available, with £450,000 earmarked for Doncaster. 

Proposals must show consideration towards the borough’s Great 8 Priorities, which include tackling climate change, promoting cultural opportunities and six wellbeing goals.

South Yorkshire is among the regions that lost the most economic value due to Covid-19, according to new research.

Mayor Dan Jarvis acknowledged local arts, culture and heritage have been hit hard by the pandemic, making investment an essential part of recovery.

“If supported and nurtured, the creative industries can help drive growth in our region and realise untapped potential.”

Missing voices in culture, health and wellbeing research 

neon sign reading 'and breathe'
25 Nov 2021

In recent years, cultural practitioners have been working in ever more challenging health and social care spaces. Robyn Dowlen looks at how their experiences are represented in the research literature.


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