Manchester City Council awards over £900k to arts organisations

Grants totalling £939,982 have been awarded by the council to twelve different arts organisations in Manchester.

By Sophia Crilly | 21 March 2023

Share this story

'Contacting The World' at Contact. Photo: Drew Wilby

Manchester is firmly establishing itself as a leading city in the arts both nationally and internationally with the growth of Manchester International Festival and the upcoming launch of Factory International, tipped by Time Out to be one of the best things to do in the world for 2023.

Alongside this our smaller-scale and longer-standing arts organisations that nurture home-grown talent, are also growing in stature and ambition, supported by audiences, communities, and key funders.

Manchester City Council’s Cultural Partnership Grants are integral to arts funding within the city, securing the future of many organisations. Awarded every three years to local arts ventures the Cultural Partnership Grants are designed to help with core running costs to enable them to continue and extend their work with different communities, and to support high-quality cultural and creative experiences for residents to benefit from.

This year, grants totalling £939,982 have been awarded by the council to twelve different arts organisations in Manchester. The awards made will begin in April 2023 and run until March 2026 providing stability for three years and enabling the organisations to have a firm financial footing from which to grow.

Manchester Jewish Museum on Cheetham Hill Road. Photo: Philip Vile

Four organisations will successfully receive funding for the first time through the Cultural Partnership Grants – Odd Arts, Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester Literature Festival, and Manchester Jazz Festival. The other successful organisations to receive the grants are Brighter Sound, Castlefield Gallery, Community Arts North West, Contact, Manchester Histories, Manchester Jewish Museum, Reform Radio, and Venture Arts in Hulme.

Between them they deliver an extensive range of cultural activities and opportunities both for local people and wider arts audiences. Theatre, literature, music, and visual arts are all well-represented, in addition to impactful heritage and community programmes specialising in supporting learning disabilities and mental health.

Odd Arts deliver training programmes in the community. Photo: Priti Shikotra

Recent government studies have suggested that the creative industries are one of the country’s biggest growth sectors, currently employing over 2 million people and driving tourism. It’s estimated they are worth £115.9bn to the UK economy.

In Manchester, during 2021 to 2022 the city’s cultural organisations generated an estimated economic impact of £213.2m through employment, contracts, and attracting visitors to the city – reaching an in-person audience of 3 million people through 8,865 productions and commissions, 4.3 million through digital broadcasts, and 2.2 million online.*

In recognition of this impact the latest round of Cultural Partnership Grants awarded by Manchester City Council reflects the importance of culture and the arts both to people and places. Councillor Luthfur Rahman OBE, Deputy Leader, Manchester City Council, said “Manchester has a long history of supporting culture and the arts and for good reason. The arts enrich all our lives and help make Manchester a better place to live, work, and invest in.

“The city is home to some amazing arts organisations, and we want everyone to benefit from the fantastic cultural opportunities on our doorstep, of which there are many – whether that’s as an artist, or working for one of them, or as an audience member.

“Culture and the arts are for everyone, they’re good for us, and we’re determined to continue supporting and investing in the sector and doing everything we can to further increase participation.”

‘Archives at Play’ exhibition at Castlefield Gallery, 2022. Photo: Castlefield Gallery

Applying for the Cultural Partnership Grants is a competitive process with arts organisations bidding for a share of the funding and applications judged on merit against a defined set of criteria and stringent priorities set out by the council.

Successful organisations had to demonstrate a strong offer and a track record of delivering cultural opportunities for Manchester residents alongside demonstrating the creation of high-quality work with life-enhancing impacts, a commitment to diversity and inclusion, and widening access and participation in the arts. Organisations also had to demonstrate a commitment to the development of their own climate change action plans in line with the council’s ambition to becoming zero-carbon by 2038 or sooner.

* Source: MCC Cultural Impact Survey 2021/22, based on responses from 43 cultural organisations