Call to create Cultural Action Zones

Call to create Cultural Action Zones

27 May 2021

Invigorating our cities, towns and local centres will be a key driver to economic recovery, according to Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP).

Now projects centred around heritage and culture are being invited to apply for a share of a new £250,000 Cultural Action Zone fund. It is aimed at creating thriving and dynamic places for people to live, work and visit. Applications are being encouraged from city centres to local high streets and can be based on a variety of activities. From creating cultural events in retail spaces, putting on festivals, installing street art to rebranding for tourism - all ideas are welcome. This is the second round of Culture Action Zone Funding and it is open to any projects in the GBSLEP region.

Previous recipients have included Southside BID and the Jewellery Quarter Development Trust in Birmingham city centre.

Luke Crane, Executive Director of the Jewellery Quarter Development Trust said:

"We were delighted to receive funding from GBSLEP to support us in developing the Jewellery Quarter's Cultural Action Zone. The funding will support us in a range of initiatives that put culture and creativity at the heart of placemaking and economic development, which will be a crucial part of our work in supporting the future of the area post-Covid.
We are particularly excited to be developing our proposal for a Jewellery Biennial. Our aim is to establish a bi-annual festival of jewellery with national and international significance."

GBSLEP has committed funds to create better places through its Towns and Local Centres Framework and most recently commissioned, ‘A Toolkit for Delivering Economic Value Through Heritage Investments’.

Anita Bhalla, GBSLEP Board director for Creative Industries and Culture said:

"Our relationship with the High Street has shifted over the last 15 months with more of us shopping online. The resulting decline in footfall means that we need to think differently about how we use our local centres. The £250,000 Cultural Action Zone Fund is an opportunity to bring people back into enhanced towns and local centres as we look to post-pandemic recovery.
We are also encouraging heritage-based organisations to consider applying as they can often be a focal point for visitors and businesses and a catalyst for commerce and job creation. At GBSLEP our mission is to drive forwards inclusive economic growth in partnership with local government, businesses and education in a targeted way. We view placemaking, creative and culture as priority areas that can help revitalise the economy and this round of funding reflects our commitment to creating better places for all of us.”

A Cultural Action Zone is also being developed by Southside BID in Birmingham city centre.

Karen Newman, Director of Southside BID said:

"At Southside BID, we’re busy re-imagining the district as a Cultural Action Zone. We are re-thinking what a transport plan looks like, collaborating with air quality researchers, residents and businesses to create a bold new vision that prioritises the needs of disabled people and improves the environment for better health and wellbeing of all who live, work and visit Southside.
"We are also setting out an ambitious plan for digital commissions, festivals and events that will bring to life Southside's diverse and vibrant cultural scene post-Covid. Becoming a Cultural Action Zone has helped to sharpen our focus and ignited our determination to exploit the massive opportunities presented by the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and our new, public performance square.?These plans will situate Southside?as a leader of?world-class cultural events and visitor experiences, with diverse communities and engagement at our heart."?

The deadline for applications is noon on Monday 21 June 2021.

To find out more about how to apply for the Cultural Action Zone Fund please follow this link or go to

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