Paul Faulkner

Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce chief executive Paul Faulkner

Business leaders welcome £88.7m culture sector boost

The announcement of an £88.7m investment in Birmingham’s cultural sector has been welcomed by business leaders in the region.

The investment by Arts Council England means 37 organisations will receive funding over a four-year period.

This includes 13 new additions to the Arts Council’s national portfolio, while two existing organisations will receive increased investment.

Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce chief executive Paul Faulkner, who launched the Birmingham Cultural Investment Enquiry last year to explore investment challenges and opportunities in the region’s culture sector.

He said: “This announcement from the Arts Council represents a strong vote of confidence in the cultural sector in Birmingham.

“It recognises the exceptional quality of the city’s cultural institutions and the addition of several new organisations to the portfolio underlines the growing ambitions for the city to be an international powerhouse for culture.

“It also acts as a positive call out to the business community to recognise the importance of the cultural sector to the vibrant economic life of the region and to build the relationships and investments that will make it thrive into the future.”

Established in July 2016, the Cultural Investment Enquiry saw GBCC work closely with the City Council, the Arts Council and Culture Central, a new cultural development agency for Birmingham which was created to lead and shape the future cultural life of the city and the wider region.

The enquiry was set up to promote investment opportunities and to protect and develop a sector that employs around 55,000 people in Birmingham.

Cllr Ian Ward, deputy leader at Birmingham City Council, added: “I am delighted to support the announcement from the Arts Council of significant further investments into the city’s cultural organisations over the next four years.

“Whilst there is a full recognition of the ongoing financial challenges at the City Council we have been determined to maintain a significant investment in culture and fully support the ambitions for new ways of working outlined in the Investment Enquiry.

“This is the right time to support a strong partnership approach to the cultural sector and to understand that a collective approach will secure the best outcomes. We remain committed to supporting new approaches to investment and building on the investment from the Arts Council.”

Dorothy Wilson, chair of Culture Central, said: “Over the past year we have been building a new approach to cultural sector working and investment in Birmingham through Culture Central.

“As key lead partners in the Cultural Investment Enquiry one of our main objectives was to help secure and build upon the major investments of the Arts Council and create a platform for future working.

“As a sector we see first-hand not only the positive impact of the cultural sector on the city and its communities but also the determination and innovation that is now part of the everyday operating models of the organisations we represent.

“The Arts Council investment will further support this work and Culture Central will work on behalf of the sector to take this work forward.”