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Aston and Newtown Arts Commissioning 2016-18

Subscribe to RSS RSSWednesday, 14th September, 2016

A&N Funding: Arts groups have received £500,000 of funding in the Aston and Newtown area of the City

On 14 September 2016, Arts groups and community organisations wishing to engage with residents in Aston and Newtown were asked to apply for grants from a £500,000 Cultural Development Service funding pot.

The Cultural Development Service received 27 applications, totalling £1,631,443.50, oversubscribed by £1,131,443.50. Thirteen local arts and community organisations received arts grants totalling £500,000 to deliver projects in the area during 2017-18.

Beneficiaries from these projects will include a wide range of young residents (including early years), budding creative entrepreneurs and producers, and community elders not usually engaged in arts activities.

Among the organisations awarded grants were ACE Dance & Music, which will receive £71,197 for a three-strand, 18-month programme developing dance, music and costume skills (including for Birmingham Carnival); Black Arts Forum (awarded £49,040) which will be involved in developing an oral history programme for community elders, to improve wellbeing and bring people together through sharing stories; and 7E Youth Academy which will receive £33,550 to support 30 young emerging artists through access to recording and media facilities.

 The grants were split into two streams: the first, to develop participation and engagement in the arts through activities for young people and for older people, co-designed with the community. Newly formed groups could apply for ‘germinator’ grants of £2,000 to £4,000 while established organisations bid for funding between £20,000 and £100,000. 

The second strand, to develop opportunities for black and minority ethnic creative entrepreneurs and producers, included an award of £125,000 to Birmingham Hippodrome’s comprehensive training programme (ASTONish), which will support emerging cultural leaders in developing their skills and networks, and a further £25,000 award to Black Arts Forum’s CREATE scheme to help artists, community groups and trustees to develop their skills and networks.  It is intended these programmes will strengthen the local cultural infrastructure for the future.

 Following the closure of The Drum, in Aston in 2016, Birmingham City Council worked with Arts Council England and local stakeholders, to identify priorities for cultural development in both areas and agreed match funding.

The Drum closed on 30 June 2016, following the liquidation of Newtown Cultural Projects Ltd, and Birmingham City Council is in the process of seeking a new tenant for the premises in Aston.  

Cllr Ian Ward, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “I am delighted that following discussions with local stakeholders about how best to support arts activity in the Newtown and Aston community, Birmingham City Council and Arts Council England are joining together to offer funding for projects in the local area.

“This scheme has the potential to support artists and audiences and to grow organisations for the future, which will diversify the city’s cultural offer and ensure it continues to be relevant to residents. 

“I hope this will help build a strong foundation for future arts activity in Aston and Newtown, as well as providing partnership opportunities with other cultural companies, community groups, artists and audiences in the city. I am particularly pleased this will support black and minority ethnic artists, creators and entrepreneurs to develop as cultural leaders in Birmingham.”

Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England, said: “The Arts Council’s ambition is to create more opportunities for people to access art and culture in the places they live, which is why we’re working closely with Birmingham City Council on plans to support cultural development in the Aston and Newtown areas of the city.

“This joint funding presents a great opportunity for residents, communities and businesses to come together to be ambitious and creative, shaping the future of art and culture locally.  It will open up new opportunities that we hope will become a firm foundation for future success, supporting emerging leaders to become established, and giving artists – particularly from black and minority ethnic backgrounds – the investment they need to produce work that can be enjoyed by people in Birmingham and beyond.”

Further information can be found on the Birmingham Culture website: