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Arts Council England announces commitment to Rotherham as one of 54 priority places nationally


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Arts Council England has announced that Rotherham will be one of 15 priority places in the North where they want to develop new opportunities for investment.

Arts Council England’s three-year Delivery Plan sets out a detailed roadmap to implement the vision of their strategy Let’s Create: by 2030 England will be a country in which the creativity of each individual is valued and given the chance to flourish, and where everyone has access to a remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences. 

The Delivery Plan highlights where there are opportunities for investment, collaboration, and progress. 

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To help make this vision a reality the Delivery Plan names 54 priority places across England. Arts Council will work closely with these locations to develop new opportunities for investment, both from the Arts Council and other partners. 

Rotherham offers a striking opportunity for cultural development, especially for young people, with its move to become the world’s first Children’s Capital of Culture. 

This aim is supported by the imaginative children’s literature charity, Grimm & Co, a new £2 million Creative People and Places programme, Flux, plans to create a new Central Library at the heart of its Future High Street programme and a strong local authority team. The recently-formed Cultural Partnership Board, with members including Rotherham United, the Grade 1 Wentworth Woodhouse stately home, Rotherham Open Arts Renaissance (ROAR) Magna Science Museum and growing sector of freelance practitioners including international sound artist and music producer Mark Fell, visual artist Leigh de Vries, and community and visual artist Vicky Hilton will drive this ambition with local people. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic Rotherham has received £868,713 investment from the Arts Council through the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. 

Each of the priority places are ambitious to drive positive change through culture. In the last decade, the Arts Council has significantly shifted its investment outside of London. The aim in Let’s Create is to increase focus on specific places underserved in the past. 

Pete Massey, Director, North, Arts Council England said: “I am pleased to see Rotherham announced as one of our 15 priority places across the North. The launch of our Delivery Plan, which sets out how we’ll implement our new 10- year strategy Let’s Create, and the announcement of our priority places will see us working closely with partners across Rotherham to ensure that creativity and culture can play a key role in levelling up across the North. 

“The Government’s Culture Recovery Fund has provided a lifeline to arts and cultural organisations during the pandemic. It is important that we now continue to invest in the cultural sector to ensure everyone across the country can access art and culture no matter where they live. The launch of our Delivery Plan and announcement of a set of priority places shows our commitment to this. 

“Over the last few years, we have seen Rotherham start to be transformed into a cultural hub, with the work of Grimm and Co and the Creative People and Places project Flux Capacitor championing the town’s cultural offer. I look forward to working closely with partners in the sector and in the local authority to continue to support the growth of Rotherham’s cultural presence.” 

Cllr Dave Sheppard, Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion, Rotherham Council said: “We’re delighted to be among the 15 towns and cities in the North selected as one of Arts Council England’s priority places. Culture has played an enormous role in helping our communities to stay connected, recover and heal together following the pandemic, demonstrating its importance in our everyday life. 

“Rotherham continues to make a strong commitment to its culture, arts and heritage offer from investing in the recent refurbishment at Rotherham Civic Theatre, to the delivery of our fantastic annual Rotherham Show and the recent investments across our library portfolio. We’re looking forward to working with colleagues in Arts Council England to deliver a cultural offer in Rotherham that everyone can create and enjoy.”

Images: Wentworth Woodhouse

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Tom Austen
Tom grew up in Aston, Rotherham and studied Human Geography at Nottingham Trent University before developing a passion for promoting Rotherham and a nose for a good story.


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