Northern museums to work in South Asia as part of ACE Ambition for Excellence awards

Arts Council England (ACE) has announced that five arts organisations will receive almost £3million from the Ambition for Excellence programme to develop artistic and cultural talent and leadership in the regions and give an international dimension to excellent work

As part of the Ambition for Excellence Awards £730,000 has been awarded to The New North and South, which is a three-year programme between a network of three northern cities and five South Asian biennials. The Whitworth,  Manchester Art Gallery,  Manchester Museum,  Liverpool Biennial,  and the Tetley in Leeds, will work with the Lahore, Kochi, Colombo, and Karachi biennials and the Dhaka Art Summit on a series of co-commissioned exhibitions, performances, critical dialogues and professional development activities.

Dorset based Activate will receive £367,103 to work with And Now: and Landscapes for Life to explore the ancient 400 mile Icknield Way as inspiration for an artistic programme of work. Life Cycles and Landscapes will culminate in an ambitious new large-scale artistic work The Way in 2018. There will be a programme of professional development in 2016 and 2017 focused on the landscape and a national strategic agreement between outdoor arts and Areas of Outstanding National Beauty (AONB) will be made as a result of the project.

The Future Arts Centres network, a partnership of nine founding organisations which supports a wider network of 90 arts centres, has been awarded £398,000 for a number of initiatives to develop European collaboration. Led by ARC Stockton and the Albany, London, the initiatives include forging new international creative partnerships across Europe, developing international collaborative projects including six co-productions between UK and European partner venues, and opening up access to European funding opportunities for arts centres in the UK.

Hull UK City of Culture 2017 will receive Ambition for Excellence funding of £750,000 will support the delivery of outdoor spectacle and site specific work as part of Hull UK City of Culture 2017. Focusing on the creation and delivery of major world-class commissions, this work will help to increase the quality and ambition of the outdoor arts sector, particularly across the north, building local, regional and UK-wide capacity and skills.

Creative agency ArtReach will receive £655,000 to help transform its Leicester-based Journeys Festival into a national event. Over the next two years, ArtReach will produce festivals in Leicester, Manchester and Portsmouth. These will create a platform for the art, music, theatre, and culture that refugee artists bring to England. The festivals will celebrate our country’s rich artistic and cultural diversity. Local cultural partners and community groups will work with ArtReach to connect artists and audiences. A talent development programme in each city will also help to support the next generation of creative producers.

“One of the most important roles that ambition for excellence takes is to support a long-term, international-facing approach to talent development,” said Alison Clark, National Director, Combined Arts & Programme Lead, Ambition for Excellence, Arts Council England. “The successful projects we have announced today will create new opportunities for a wide range of artists, producers and arts leaders to substantially develop their work and longer-term careers. The new work and content developed through the projects will stand as some of the very best in terms of quality and wider engagement and continue to enhance the UK’s international reputation as a place of creative and democratic innovation”