£88m is mas­sive boost Ma­jor Arts Coun­cil grant for 13 new or­gan­i­sa­tions

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Tam­lyn Jones Busi­ness Cor­re­spon­dent

ARTS, mu­sic and the­atre or­gan­i­sa­tions in Birm­ing­ham are to re­ceive a mas­sive boost with £88 mil­lion in new fund­ing.

Arts Coun­cil Eng­land this week un­veiled a ‘less Lon­don-cen­tric’ four-year in­vest­ment pro­gramme which will see 37 groups across the Birm­ing­ham area re­ceive a fresh in­jec­tion of £88.7 mil­lion to sup­port their work.

Thir­teen of the re­cip­i­ents will be new en­trants to the Arts Coun­cil’s ‘Na­tional Port­fo­lio’ while an­other two will re­ceive in­creased in­vest­ment.

The re­main­ing port­fo­lio or­gan­i­sa­tions will con­tinue to re­ceive the same amount of fund­ing as in 2017/18.

The awards are one strand of Arts Coun­cil Eng­land’s to­tal in­vest­ment in Bri­tish cul­ture from 2018 to 2022, which also in­cludes the Na­tional Lot­tery-funded Grants for Arts and Cul­ture scheme.

The new Na­tional Port­fo­lio in­vests in a wider range of or­gan­i­sa­tions than be­fore with the aim of giv­ing more peo­ple out­side Lon­don ac­cess to art and cul­ture.

Among the 13 Birm­ing­ham or­gan­i­sa­tions join­ing the Na­tional Port­fo­lio are Beat­freeks which works with young peo­ple to use dig­i­tal, spo­ken word and so­cial com­men­tary; the renowned Flat­pack Projects, which holds the city’s an­nual Flat­pack Fes­ti­val; and the Lap­worth Mu­seum of Ge­ol­ogy at the Univer­sity of Birm­ing­ham.

Peter Knott, Mid­lands area di­rec­tor for Arts Coun­cil Eng­land, said: “We’re de­lighted to un­veil our am­bi­tious new port­fo­lio reach­ing more peo­ple in more places across the Mid­lands than ever be­fore.

“The Arts Coun­cil is in­vest­ing more money than ever be­fore out­side Lon­don, we’re in­tro­duc­ing 42 new or­gan­i­sa­tions, in­clud­ing mu­se­ums and li­braries for the first time, as well as con­tin­u­ing to fund cur­rent or­gan­i­sa­tions.

“We’ve been able to of­fer an in­crease to a small num­ber of or­gan­i­sa­tions we cur­rently fund who made an ex­cep­tional case.

“The Mid­lands al­ready boasts a vi­brant cul­tural scene with an in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion for ex­cel­lence and we look for­ward to see­ing more great art and cul­ture be­ing en­joyed by more au­di­ences in more places.”

Busi­ness lead­ers in the city have wel­comed the news of a fund­ing boost.

Greater Birm­ing­ham Cham­bers of Com­merce chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul Faulkner launched the Birm­ing­ham Cul­tural In­vest­ment En­quiry last year to ex­plore in­vest­ment chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties in the re­gion’s cul­ture sec­tor.

He said: “This an­nounce­ment from the Arts Coun­cil rep­re­sents a strong vote of con­fi­dence in the cul­tural sec­tor in Birm­ing­ham.

“It recog­nises the ex­cep­tional qual­ity of the city’s cul­tural in­sti­tu­tions and the ad­di­tion of sev­eral new or­gan­i­sa­tions to the port­fo­lio un­der­lines the grow­ing am­bi­tions for the city to be an in­ter­na­tional pow­er­house for cul­ture.

“It also acts as a pos­i­tive call­out to the busi­ness com­mu­nity to recog­nise the im­por­tance of the cul­tural sec­tor to the vi­brant eco­nomic life of the re­gion and to build the re­la­tion­ships and in­vest­ments that will make it thrive into the fu­ture.”

The Cul­tural In­vest­ment En­quiry was es­tab­lished in 2016 and saw the cham­ber work with the coun­cil, Arts Coun­cil and Cul­ture Cen­tral, a new cul­tural de­vel­op­ment agency for Birm­ing­ham cre­ated to shape the fu­ture cul­tural life of the city. to cre­ate new work and share their ex­pe­ri­ence with gallery vis­i­tors. It pro­duces in­no­va­tive, ex­per­i­men­tal arts and mu­sic, host ex­hi­bi­tions and work­shops and run the an­nual mu­sic fes­ti­val Su­per­sonic. Fund­ing will al­low them to con­tinue to de­velop mid-ca­reer and emerg­ing artists. An in­de­pen­dent the­atre pro­ducer; in­vest­ment will sup­port their de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme for mid-scale the­atre as well as their plans to sup­port emerg­ing and mid-ca­reer artists. This in­vest­ment will al­low them to have a greater im­pact when com­mis­sioned to pro­duce tour­ing work, cu­rate fes­ti­vals and other pro­grammes. The or­gan­i­sa­tion hosts the an­nual Flat­pack Fes­ti­val which is held in the­atres, cin­e­mas and other public venues in Birm­ing­ham, and pro­vides au­di­ences with ac­cess to new work within the field of film and artists mov­ing im­age. Flat­pack’s pro­gramme pro­motes emerg­ing tal­ent and in­cludes part­ner­ships with Birm­ing­ham City Univer­sity and the Bri­tish Coun­cil in East Asia for tour­ing and artis­tic ex­changes. This in­vest­ment will help them to com­mis­sion new work, sup­port young cu­ra­tors and en­gage new and more di­verse com­mu­ni­ties.

The Mid­lands al­ready boasts a vi­brant cul­tural scene and we look for­ward to see­ing more great art and cul­ture be­ing en­joyed by more au­di­ences in more places

An artist-led com­mu­nity arts or­gan­i­sa­tion with a key fo­cus on mak­ing con­tem­po­rary, par­tic­i­pa­tory art from their base in Dig­beth, Birm­ing­ham, along­side re­gional and in­ter­na­tional work. Fric­tion Arts will en­gage new au­di­ences, sup­port artists, de­velop their pro­gramme of work for chil­dren and young peo­ple and un­der­take a range of com­mis­sions. A con­tem­po­rary vis­ual arts or­gan­i­sa­tion and artist’s stu­dio space, presents ex­hi­bi­tions and events, and sup­ports cu­ra­to­rial de­vel­op­ment. They will build upon their cur­rent pro­gramme and widen au­di­ences through a se­ries of work­shops and ex­ter­nal events. The mu­seum is part of the Univer­sity of Birm­ing­ham which has re­cently opened to the public at­tract­ing a wide range of new vis­i­tors. Dig­i­tal plans, in­clud­ing 3D scan­ning to al­low frag­ile ob­jects to be repli­cated and stud­ied, and a new mo­bile phone app will of­fer vis­i­tors new and

> an ex­hi­bi­tion at The Edge in Dig­beth by Fric­tion Arts


Peter Knott, Mid­lands area di­rec­tor for Arts Coun­cil Eng­land

> Birm­ing­ham Open Me­dia HQ

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