Mentoring scheme launches to support Ukrainian students

17 Nov 2022

A new mentoring and financial aid scheme will support Ukrainian art students and universities.

The UAx Platform, launched at the Tate Modern, is a partnership between the European League of Institutes of the Arts (ELIA), the Abakanowicz Arts and Culture Foundation and an international network of 280 higher arts education institutions.

It will offer war-affected students and staff wishing to stay in Ukraine a network of mentor schemes and institutional partnerships with European universities, as well as an emergency bursary fund for students in severe need.

ELIA has put its largest ever financial grant towards the programme.

The platform will include a "Sister School" network, which in its first year will consist of partnerships between five Ukrainian universities and five institutions in Germany, Estonia, Poland, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. 

By year three, 15 Ukrainian institutions will become partnered and fully subsidised ELIA members for three years, with access to its networks, resources, programming and other opportunities.

“The need of the higher arts education sector in Ukraine was clear. They did not need an evacuation. They needed support to keep the institutions alive. Support to allow students to keep studying and support to help these young artists keep making art,” ELIA Executive Director Maria Hansen said.

Opera in need of a collective voice

Paraorchestra playing in streets of Bristol
16 Nov 2022

As the dust settles on ACE's announcement of its new portfolio, Mark Pemberton unpacks the numbers to see what the outcome is for orchestras and opera companies.

Musicians fear 'being forced to leave industry' 

14 Nov 2022

Half of UK musicians are either "extremely" or "very" concerned they'll be forced to leave the industry over the next six months due to the ongoing cost of living crisis, a study has found.

A survey by charity Help Musicians found that the cost-of-living crisis is impacting musicians more than the pandemic with 60% saying they are earning less than they were a year ago, and eight out of 10 saying they earn less than before the pandemic. 

The survey, which garnered responses from more than 500 professional musicians, revealed that the situation is having a severe impact on their mental health, with 88% saying that poor mental health is currently negatively impacting their career.

Most are also in a "cost-of-working" crisis, with 91% unable to afford music equipment, while energy and fuel costs are making travelling to gigs and heating rehearsal spaces impossible for many. 

Nearly all UK musicians (98%) are concerned about earning enough income in the next six months, with 90% worried about affording food and 84% concerned about paying their mortgage or rent. This has led to half of UK musicians "extremely" or "very" concerned they'll be forced to leave the industry.

James Ainscough, Chief Executive of Help Musicians said: “It is hard to imagine any point since the Second World War when it has been tougher to be a professional musician - put simply, the current environment is brutal. 

"The pandemic had a catastrophic impact, with most simply unable to perform. Afterwards, venues were booked up for months or years in advance due to rearranged gigs. This has been followed by Brexit, which has impacted their ability to tour, for many emerging musicians a vital step in building a sustainable career. 

“It is clear from the responses to this survey, that musicians need a broad range of support to help them navigate financial challenges of working and living over winter, make the most of touring opportunities, and improve their mental health. 

“We need to put significant time and resource into sustaining musicians over the coming, challenging months, if we are to have a thriving music ecosystem in 2023 and beyond. We cannot afford to lose any of the talent from our passionate community of UK musicians if we want to continue enjoying the music that inspires us all every day.”

Academics urge greater support for creative practitioners

09 Nov 2022

Policymakers should 'learn lessons from the pandemic' and intervene in four key areas to better support creative practitioners, researchers have said.

Visual artists receive £4.6m royalties

02 Nov 2022

The Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS) is set to distribute a share of £4.6m in royalties to 96,000 photographers, illustrators, and artists through its annual Payback scheme. 

The scheme pays visual artists and creators annual royalties when their artworks have been published in UK books, magazines, journals or on TV.

Since the scheme's inception in 1999, DACS has distributed more than £70m in payback royalties.

The organisation says to apply for payback, visual artists need to complete their annual claim form between January and April each year.

Those interested in claiming for the first time can register online to be notified when the scheme re-opens in January.

Applications open for £150,000 civic arts award

31 Oct 2022

Cultural organisations from across the UK have been invited to apply for funding for projects that help transform communities.

The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation's Award for Civic Arts Organisations was established in 2020 as a response to the impact of the pandemic and offers a total of £150,000 to organisations that are helping to transform communities.

This year’s award will be on the theme of “co-creating the future”, with the aim of funding projects that ignite joy, hope, compassion and energy, improve wellbeing, forge new connections, or develops solutions.

“In difficult times, it’s more important than ever that art and culture are available to everyone,” said Louisa Hooper, Director of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation’s UK branch. 

“By prioritising co-creation, this year we’re looking to recognise organisations that create lasting change by working with and in communities to address their needs and concerns, deepen relationships and use arts and creativity to enable positive change.”

Recipients of previous editions of the award include the first studio sanctuary for asylum seekers in the UK, established at The Art House in Wakefield, and a collective of neurodivergent artists and activists based in Hastings.

The award “is vitally important in encouraging and rewarding genuine engagement and co-creation with local communities”, said Baroness Bull, Chair of the award panel.

“In the years since the award was founded, we’ve seen hundreds of entries from organisations across the UK demonstrating a commitment to changing lives through art.”

Filming bootcamp set for West Midlands

27 Oct 2022

Creatives in the West Midlands are being invited to apply for a free six-week programme aiming to develop the next generation of multi-camera talent.

The Filming Performance Bootcamp, a partnership between The Space, Solihull College and University Centre and part funded by the West Midlands Combined Authority, will give participants an overview of how live performances are captured for screen and how various art forms can be filmed for TV and online audiences.

Students will undertake a two-week workshop to learn filming, vision mixing and editing skills, alongside attending masterclasses with industry professionals and gaining hands-on training in capturing live performances and working with artists.

The latest programme, which follows a pilot in Birmingham earlier this year, will run for six weeks starting 30 January 2023.

Applications are open until 8 December to any creatives over 19 that live in the West Midlands, with no prior experience in filming or live capture required.

Skills body ScreenSkills is offering bursaries of up to £2,500 per participant to cover costs incurred while taking part in the course, including a loss of earning access or childcare needs.

CEO of The Space Fiona Morris said the increasing number of opportunities for artists and cultural organisations to present their work digitally is leading to an unprecedented demand for the skills required to film, mix and edit work.

“We’re delighted, therefore, to be working with our partners to provide such brilliant opportunities for trainees to gain hands-on experience and benefit from working with high-calibre creative professionals,” she added.

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said the bootcamp will ensure participants are equipped with the sector-relevant skills that will mean they're well-placed to thrive in the months and years ahead: “I cannot wait to see lives changed for the better”.

Merger creates nationwide alliance for the arts

24 Oct 2022

A charity and campaign group have joined forces to create one organisation working to “champion, defend and expand access to arts and culture”.

The National Campaign for the Arts, which launched in 1985, and Public Campaign for the Arts (PCA), which launched in June 2020 to urge the government to deliver the Culture Recovery Fund, will now be known collectively as Campaign for the Arts.

With a combined supporter-base of more than a quarter of a million people, spanning each UK constituency, Campaign for the Arts says it will use digital tools and its UK-wide network to “inform the public, express support and engage more and new people”. 

It plans to continue with the Hearts for the Arts awards, which recognises exceptional arts initiatives in local government, and the Arts Index, which has analysed the health of the nation’s arts and culture since 2011. 

It will further develop the Arts Map, which was conceived during the pandemic for people to check the reopening status of cultural organisations near them.

Former PCA Director Jack Gamble has become the organisation’s first CEO. He says the merger has given him hope “at an extremely difficult time”.

“Creative subjects are being stripped from our state schools, inequality of opportunity is rife and the arts sector is having to contend with unprecedented challenges,” he added

“No one person can turn the tide – we need to do it together. That’s why we’re joining up to form the Campaign for the Arts, and why every supporter of our campaign really matters.”

African arts group launches in Northern Ireland

03 Oct 2022

An arts group planning to showcase African talent living in Northern Ireland and aid community cohesion has launched.

The collective, which aims to be a platform for artists, dancers and musicians, is being established by charity Africa House Northern Ireland which represents the interests of African organisations and individuals across the country.

Cuthbert Tura Arutura of Africa House said African artists felt they were unable to make an impact individually and secure work.

“We have seen that African and Irish people have a lot of shared experiences and art is a way to express that,” he said.

“This type of initiative addresses the isolation some arriving in Northern Ireland, and is also another way that people can network.

“It is all about empowerment.”

African and Northern Ireland artists will gather on Wednesday 5 October to mark the forming of the group at the Markets Community Centre in Belfast.

Edinburgh Fringe seeks feedback to drive improvements

30 Sep 2022

Organisers of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival have launched a major feedback exercise as part of attempts to address issues with the annual event.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society is seeking input from artists, audiences, venues, producers, workers, community groups, arts industry delegates, media and those with access needs in order to make improvements for 2023.

Over the next two weeks the festival will be inviting views on a range of topics, from the recent Fringe experience to accommodation costs, barriers to participation, and the work of the Fringe Society. 

Responses to the collection of surveys will provide data the festival says will help it bring together the right people and partnerships to work towards solutions. 

Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: “This year’s festival was the first step on the road to recovery and we know the biggest challenge is the next three years. 

"It’s important that we gather evidence and case studies from our Fringe participants so that we can ensure the Society is armed with the facts and best equipped to make the case for where improvements can be made in advance of Fringe 2023. 

"We encourage everyone to take time to complete the survey specific to them and to provide as much information as they can.”

Ireland’s Basic Income for the Arts pilot gets underway

08 Sep 2022

The Irish Government has chosen 2,000 artists and creative arts workers to participate in its Basic Income for the Arts pilot scheme.

The chosen creatives will each receive €325 per week over the three year research programme, to assess the impact of a basic-income style payment on the arts sector.

Over 9,000 applications were made to the scheme, with over 8,200 assessed as eligible and included in a randomised anonymous selection process. 

The selected group of 2,000 includes 707 visual artists, 584 musicians, 204 artists working in film, 184 writers, 173 actors and artists working in theatre, 32 dancers and choreographers, 13 circus artists and 10 architects. 

Of those selected, 84% identified as practising artists, 9% identified as Creative Arts Workers and 7% as Recently Trained Applicants, with 3% working through the Irish language.

Participants will be required to engage in an ongoing data collection programme to assess the impact of a basic income style payment on artists and their creative practice. 

From those who were not selected to receive the payment, 1,000 were selected to participate in a control group to facilitate the evaluation of the pilot.

A basic income for the arts was the top recommendation from the Irish Government's Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce report, which examined how the sector could adapt and recover from the pandemic.

Ireland’s Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and the Media Catherine Martin called the scheme the pilot scheme “a once-in-a-generation initiative”.

“It makes a strong statement about the value Ireland places on the arts and artistic practice, both for its intrinsic value and in terms of our personal and collective wellbeing, and also in terms of its importance to our identity and cultural distinctiveness on the global stage.”

Scottish bursaries for artists and craft makers

05 Sep 2022

Visual artists and craft makers in Scotland can now apply for bursaries to put towards their creative development.

The Visual Artist and Craft Maker Awards (VACMA) offers fixed bursaries of £500 and £750 to artists at all stages of their career to develop their creative practice.

Funded by Creative Scotland, the scheme is managed locally by VACMA partners, and is available in 25 of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas, with £130,000 available in total.

Head of Visual Arts at Creative Scotland Amanda Catto said the funding will enable artists and makers to test new ideas, develop their skills and generate work.

“We are delighted that we have so many partners working with us to deliver the programme which generates such important, long-lasting benefits to the creative people working in their local area.” 

Applications for a first wave of funding will close 25 October, with the deadline for a second round scheduled for 7 February 2023.

New digital fund for artists in Northern Ireland

31 Aug 2022

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI) has launched a £40,000 fund to support artists working with digital technology.

The Individual Artists Digital Evolution Awards are open to artists who are making digital art for the first time, or are working with digital or immersive technology they have not previously used. 

The scheme will fund a range of digital practices, including work that involves the creation of a virtual or augmented reality environment; the use of 3D rendering and printing technology; the translation of data into artistic works; and app development for the delivery of artistic content. Individuals can apply for grants up to £10,000. 

Karly Greene, ACNI Director of Strategic Development, said: “The programme will support artists in the creation of art using digital and immersive technologies, and will also help artists develop skills in the use of these technologies.
“This programme reflects the Arts Council’s commitment to encouraging innovative practices that cross art form boundaries and build digital capabilities within the Northern Ireland arts sector.”
The programme opened for online applications on 30 August and will close on Friday 30 September.

Dealers select contemporary artists for British Art Fair

31 Aug 2022

British Art Fair has announced the launch of a new platform, SOLO CONTEMPORARY, to show “the very best contemporary British art”. 

A dedicated space at the Saatchi Gallery for British Art Fair will exhibit ten artists, each selected by one of Britain’s leading contemporary art dealers.

The new platform was conceived by the fair’s owner Will Ramsay, in collaboration with artist-curator Zavier Ellis. 

“The dialogue between contemporary and ModBrit artists is a profound one and we will seek to illustrate that relationship,” Ellis said. 

“I am also keen to emphasise the shifting parameters of what a gallery is, particularly in the post-Covid era. SOLO CONTEMPORARY includes curatorial projects and galleries that have alternative models as well as the standard."

Gay Hutson, the fair’s Founding Director, said it was founded in 1988 “specifically to promote the most talented British artists of its time”.

“SOLO CONTEMPORARY gives us the opportunity to continue with this vital part of the fair.”

Classical music concerts scheme expands across England

30 Aug 2022

After ten sold-out events in London, classical music company through the noise has announced the expansion of their of crowdfunded concerts in unconventional venues to Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham.

The concerts, called noisenights, are part of a movement to organise performances by classical musicians outside traditional concert halls. The gigs take place in grass-roots music venues, including clubs, pubs and music halls.

Inspired by London’s underground club scene and its successful jazz venues, the concerts offer either an early-evening rush hour-set or a late show in which the classical performance is followed by live jazz, funk and afrobeat acts.

The crowdfunding model used to finance the concerts allows backers to pledge money in return for tickets to their chosen concert and priority booking for future events. Only concerts that prove popular among funders go ahead.

“Following a tough few years, it’s encouraging to see how excited audiences are to support live music,” said through the noise Co-founder and Artistic Director Jack Bazalgette.

“After crowdfunding ten London noisenights in the past year, we’re grateful to our growing base of backers for enabling us to take our model for classical shows to audiences around the country.”

The new series of noisenights will feature Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Abel Selaocoe, Her Ensemble, Alexandra Whittingham, Esther Abrami, Plínio Fernandes, Roberts Balanas and Harry Baker.

BBC Young Musician winning cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason said his upcoming noisenight appearance with spoken word artist Harry Baker “will be a special opportunity to share music we love in a host of new settings around the country”. 

“As performers we respond so much to the space we are in, not just acoustically, but the energy of the room and the people in it,” he said.

DCMS to promote UK artists abroad

30 Aug 2022

The Government Art Collection (GAC) is launching a five-year project to acquire works by contemporary British visual artists for display at UK government outposts around the world.

The DCMS project, called X-UK, will result in works being on show in more than 125 countries in embassies and other government buildings. It aims to showcase “the best of British creativity” and promote interest in the creative sector.

GAC will collaborate with the Contemporary Visual Arts Network in England, the Scottish Contemporary Art Network and networks in Wales and Northern Ireland to select emerging artists.

During a pilot scheme during 2020-2021, GAC made an initial selection of over 90 pieces by 45 artists, which are currently on display in government buildings in the UK and overseas.

Artists whose work was acquired during the pilot have since achieved new career highlights. Glasgow-based artist Alberta Whittle went on to represent Scotland at the 59th Biennale di Venezia in 2022 and currently has pieces on display in the National Galleries of Scotland.  

Arts Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said that X-UK “aims to be a true reflection of every part of the United Kingdom”. 

Shailesh Vara, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said the project “will undoubtedly serve as a fantastic springboard for new and emerging artists from Northern Ireland to display their talent on the world stage”. 

Public support payment initiatives for artists

24 Aug 2022

Poll suggests the majority of the public want government and technology companies to support initiatives to remunerate artists whose work is downloaded digitally.

Initiative to support early-career film composers launches

19 Aug 2022

Film composers in the early stages of their career will receive support and advice as part of a joint initiative launched by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) and the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF). 

The professional development scheme, called Film Composers Lab, will offer five UK-based composers the opportunity to expand their skills in film composition with Scottish film and TV composer John Lunn acting as Mentor alongside Danai Kokogia as Associate Co-Mentor.

RSNO Chief Executive Alistair Mackie said: “The RSNO is really happy to be working with the EIFF on a brand-new scheme for early-career composers.

"Combining the history, expertise and facilities of both organisations will provide a great platform for the group to explore new ways of working and I’m already looking forward to hearing what they produce."

EIFF Festival Producer Holly Daniel said: “Supporting emerging talent is an essential part of our creative ambition at EIFF. It’s wonderful to be partnering with the RSNO on this activity and to be able to bring our experiences and networks together to support emerging composers with this unique programme connecting the makers of music and film."

Applications for the scheme are open now, with a closing date of 5pm on Tuesday 11 October.

Recovery funds key to arts survival in Scotland and Wales

an artist working in her studio
17 Aug 2022

Reports suggest devolved governments’ funding was key to sector recovery and resilience but warn the pandemic exposed the need for further financial support.

Record label support for artists rises to £495m

15 Aug 2022

UK record labels invested £495m supporting artists’ careers and development in 2021 through A&R, marketing and promotion – more than double their investment in 2016.

Figures published by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the representative voice for independent and major record labels across the UK shows labels’ investment last year included a record £358m spend on A&R and another £137m. The investment represents 39.2% of total UK label revenue.

The A&R spend, which includes artist advances, creating new recordings, video costs and tour support, was 107% more in 2021 than the amount invested in 2016 of £173.3m. 

Over the same five-year period to 2021, UK labels’ total revenue income increased by 42.9%, driven largely by a 51.3% surge in streaming revenue. 

Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI, BRIT Awards & Mercury Prize, said: “The UK has been one of the world’s music superpowers since the advent of pop culture, thanks to the combination of our many incredible artists drawn from all regions and nations, and the passion, financial backing and expertise of our record labels. 

"During a time when music has returned to growth after years of decline, labels have continued to prioritise investment in artists. 

"It is fuelling success for a new generation of UK artists who are embracing the opportunities of this truly connected world, underpinning our leading position on the global music stage.”


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