Arts Council England announces over £414 million funding in the North
Today, the Arts Council announces the 230 organisations in the North which will be in their National Portfolio from 2018-22. They are investing an extra £21 million per year in the North. A total of £414,286,244 Grant in Aid and National Lottery will support these organisations over the next four years.
The national portfolio forms the backbone of England’s cultural infrastructure. The increased funding indicates the depth and breadth of arts and culture in the North and illustrates how the Arts Council is spending more money than ever before outside London.
They will be investing in more places across the North – in the North East, Yorkshire and the North West – from cities and towns to rural areas. There will be new investment in places such as County Durham, Northumberland and Tees Valley; Bradford, Hull and Sheffield; and Preston, South Lakeland and St Helens.
There will be 51 new entrants of all types and sizes from the North in their national portfolio. They demonstrate the ambition, innovation and quality of the area’s arts and culture and range from Unfolding Theatre in Newcastle and Middlesbrough Town Hall, to Barnsley Museums and Bradford Literature Festival, to Loud in Libraries based in Wigan and Without Walls in Manchester.
The investment better reflects the diversity of contemporary society in the North by bringing organisations such as Venture Arts, which works with learning disabled visual artists in Manchester, and carnival arts organisation Global Grooves in Tameside into the portfolio. Arts Council will continue to fund other organisations including Mind the Gap in Bradford which is the largest learning disability theatre company in the country, GemArts in Gateshead which creates and profiles South Asian arts, and leading Black-led theatre production company Eclipse Theatre in Sheffield.
Arts Council are making sure that investment benefits more people in the North – from a broad range of audiences being able to enjoy and take part in cultural activities close to home. This is illustrated in their support to organisations such as Mikron Theatre Company in Kirklees, which takes work into the heart of communities, and Pocklington Arts Centre which serves a rural audience in the East Riding of Yorkshire.
They want the North to be a place where artists can train, live and make a career in culture without having to go to the capital. This can be seen in their support to organisations such as the Newbridge Project in Newcastle, 20 Stories High in Liverpool and East Street Arts in Leeds.
Arts Council England will be supporting a wider range of cultural practice and activities, by investing in organisations working in new forms of cultural activity and in new settings, or at a larger scale, and with appeal to a broader range of audiences and participants. New to the national portfolio will be Grimm and Co in Rotherham which runs innovative storytelling and writing workshops for young people, Sheffield Doc/Fest – the UK’s leading documentary festival, The Lakes International Comic Art Festival, and Invisible Flock in Leeds which uses cutting edge technology to present performances outside of traditional venues.
Development of world class clusters of cultural organisations and activity in our major cities will continue – from the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Sage Gateshead, to Opera North and Northern Ballet in Leeds where Arts Council are supporting a special focus on dance participation and training, to Liverpool Biennial and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and to the Royal Exchange Theatre and Manchester Jazz Festival – recognising that critical mass helps to foster innovation, collaboration and talent retention as well as to support audience development.
Manchester International Festival will receive additional funding of £9 million which represents the investment specifically allocated by HM Treasury for the operator of The Factory – the groundbreaking new venue in Manchester.
Arts Coouncil are also bringing museums and libraries into their portfolio for the first time and amongst those in the North will be The Bowes Museum in County Durham, Barnsley Museums, People’s History Museum in Manchester and St Helens Libraries.
Sarah Maxfield, North Area Director, Arts Council England said: “Our new portfolio in the North will reach more people in more places. Culture has a role to play in all our communities from the major cities to the North’s most rural areas – it brings us together, provides joy and solace, and builds a sense of identity – and contributes to our economy too. I’m delighted that we have the opportunity to support such a range of excellent cultural organisations delivering to audiences and participants across the North. Our increased investment will mean that these organisations will be able to deliver great arts and cultural experiences for audiences and participants across the whole area.”
This national portfolio is just one strand of Arts Council’s total investment in arts and culture. Other strands include the National Lottery funded Grants for the Arts scheme and strategic funds, used to support targeted programmes of work that deliver the ambitions set out in Great art and culture for everyone, a 10-year strategic framework for arts and culture.
Arts Council England has also announced today the successful applicants to their capital fund. This includes eight organisations in the North who will receive awards totalling £2,640,644 from the Small Capital Grants programme and three organisations who have been invited to apply to the next stage of the Large Capital Grants programme for awards totalling £13,234,735.