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New West Midlands Cultural Sector-led unit launches to ensure recovery of the arts and cultural industries in the region

  • New West Midlands Culture Response Unit to develop sector led response as Covid-19 pandemic continues
  • Culture response unit is asking organisations and freelancers within the region to sign up

Led by Culture Central, The West Midlands Culture Response Unit will develop and deliver an action-orientated, sector led response to the Covid-19 outbreak over the next six months to ensure the visibility, viability and recovery of the cultural sector in the West Midlands.

The initiative has support from the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games (B2022)  Coventry City of Culture 2021, Arts Council England (ACE), West Midlands Combined Authority, (WMCA) and their Cultural Leadership Board, Local Enterprise Partnerships, including Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP),  Birmingham City Council, Regional Local Authorities and many of the leading cultural organisations and independents in the region.

The unit will focus on strategy, planning, communication and campaigns as well as offer support and development to help deliver a region wide coordinated response from the sector as the Covid-19 pandemic continues. It will also celebrate the role that culture is playing in the current crisis along with its place in the region’s civic and economic recovery when audiences and artists from the West Midlands and around the world are to be welcomed back.

Erica Love, Director of Culture Central, said:

As a cultural sector support organisation, we felt it was important to bring the sector together and lead a collective response, pool resources in a time of extreme challenge and work to ensure our cultural sector is heard, recognised and supported.”

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said:

The West Midlands Combined Authority’s Cultural Leadership Board is made up of people from all backgrounds and representatives from cultural organisations to help drive forward the West Midlands’ vibrant cultural and creative economy.

“Right now, the board is needed more than ever and will work with the West Midlands Cultural Response Unit to help the sector prepare for its short, medium, and long-term future when the ongoing pandemic begins to subside.”

Councillor Jayne Francis, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Culture said:

The cultural sector in Birmingham is vital to our city economy and identity and of course to the wellbeing of our residents. As such, we are proud to support this Cultural Response Unit where we can to help protect our cultural economy and enable its recovery as we work together to come through this difficult situation”

Martin Green, Chief Creative Officer, Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, said:

We are proud to be actively involved in this crucial regional initiative led by Culture Central.  The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and its Cultural Festival offer a hopeful destination point for the recovery of the sector as well as much needed jobs and commissions for artists and organisations’.

For more information on the unit, which has been created over the last 10 days in partnership with over 100 Cultural organisations, freelancers and stakeholders, click here or to sign up click here. Organisations can also show their support by using hashtag #CultureRU

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Notes to editors:

Press release issued: Friday, 17 April

For further information please contact Erica Love, Director of Culture Central at ericalove@culturecentral.co.uk  or 07811 151792

Culture Central is sector support organisation and collective voice for Arts and Culture in the region. We drive strategy with an ambitious, inclusive and relevant vision for the role of the arts and artists in society. Culture Central advocates for the sector, acting as a catalyst to generate radical new approaches to investment and sustainability and brokering cross-sector collaborations and partnerships.  We work with the sector to develop audiences, provide and promote opportunities for learning, build networks and nurture employment opportunities and share expertise from the talented, diverse communities in the region.

 WMCA Cultural Leadership Board

The WMCA Cultural Leadership Board (CLB) was established in 2019 as a cultural sector specific advisory board providing recommendations to the WMCA in relation to policy development and programmes concerning the cultural sector.

The vision of the CLB is to place culture at the heart of sustainable growth in the region, enhancing quality of life for its diverse communities.

The CLB mission is therefore to look for strategic opportunities to test the transformative role of culture across WMCA’s policy areas, including transport and housing, skills, digital, the environment, wellbeing and inclusive communities. It is committed to building an innovative and entrepreneurial cultural sector, with leadership that reflects the diversity of our region, and supporting a world-class cultural offer that is accessible to all.

The Board currently has 21 members from all backgrounds, as well as different types of cultural organisations across the WMCA region. Martin Sutherland from the Coventry City of Culture Trust has been appointed to be the inaugural Chair of the Board and the board has selected Catherine Mallyon from the RSC as the Vice-Chair. The activities of the CLB are governed by their Terms of Reference and the board is engaging with a wide range of stakeholders across the region.

For more information and for a list of the board members, please visit: https://www.wmca.org.uk/what-we-do/culture-and-creative-economy/cultural-leadership-board/

About the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, which will be held from 27 July until 7 August 2022, will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to put the city, the region and its people on the global stage.

The Games is already proving to be a catalyst for transformation across the West Midlands, attracting new investment and funding, creating jobs and apprenticeships for local people and new opportunities for local businesses, as well as accelerating projects that will ensure the region is ready to host a fantastic sports and cultural celebration.

Planned housing and transport schemes have been brought forward and will happen sooner as a result of the Games, with 1,400 new homes being built in Perry Barr, on the site that will initially be occupied by the Athletes’ Village, as part of a wider regeneration plan for the whole area.

The Alexander Stadium will also be overhauled, whilst a new Aquatics Centre in Sandwell will be built for the Games.

Birmingham 2022 will be the Games for everyone, bringing people together from across Birmingham and the region, to provide a warm welcome to millions of visitors during the summer of 2022.  Find out more at www.birmingham2022.com