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