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Arts Council boss to face city’s cultural leaders

Arts Council boss to face city’s cultural leaders

🕔12.Mar 2015

Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair of Arts Council England (ACE), is visiting the city today to meet with leaders of Birmingham’s biggest arts organisations as they pursue plans to create a new model of arts leadership that will develop the cultural offer of Greater Birmingham, writes Kevin Johnson

Members of Birmingham Arts Partnership (BAP) will meet with Sir Peter at Birmingham Hippodrome. BAP is made up of the city’s fourteen largest city centre based arts companies and venues which have strategic relationships with Birmingham City Council and Arts Council England.

Sir Peter and BAP are likely to discuss:

• continuing support by ACE for the development of a new partnership body;
• the need for new and innovative approaches to collaboration, including across the wider creative industries;
• the special role that Birmingham (and other core cities) play in the nation’s cultural sector and the growing significance of city regions, combined authorities and LEPs;
• working together to bring forward new forms of income;
• the importance of making arts and culture more accessible and giving new impetus to arts education;
• progress in re-balancing cultural investment outside of the M25.

Peter Bazalgette, Chair, Arts Council England, said:

I’m looking forward to a productive meeting with the Birmingham Arts Partnership later this week. It is important we do not lose sight of the vital role art and culture plays in the life of a city and its people, and this meeting will be a significant opportunity to discuss the pressing issues affecting the cultural infrastructure in Birmingham.

BAP made a detailed submission to the recent inquiry into the work of Arts Council England by the Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport. It welcomed the report and the commitment of the chair of ACE to achieving a better funding balance and to brokering new partnerships involving local authorities and LEPs.

Chairs of BAP organisations met with Council leader Sir Albert Bore and senior colleagues at the end of February to discuss proposals it made in response to Birmingham City Council’s budget consultations.

BAP has outlined a new approach for the City’s arts leadership and the management of its cultural investments. It proposes to build a new model between the City Council, Arts Council England and the leading cultural players along with other public, business and academic partners. It would take responsibility for the city’s artistic vision and cultural plan, drive efficiencies in the distribution and management of public funds and develop new income streams for the sector.

The cultural sector is facing a £2.6M cut in council funding in 2016/17, with further significant reductions clearly signalled for the following years. According to the local authority, the annual budget for funding major arts organisations has reduced in total by £3m (33%) since 2010.

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