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Big investment for culture in County Durham

Published November 04, 2022 1.35pm

Organisations across County Durham will be supported in delivering key cultural events and attractions after being successful in bids for funding.

BRASS 2022

Durham BRASS

The Arts Council selected County Durham as one of 54 Priority Places in the UK where it has announced it will be focusing its investment.

We have been awarded £1,597,908 from Arts Council England and have been chosen as a National Portfolio Organisation 2023-2026 and a core supporter of the body's Lets Create strategy to develop creativity for all.

Key festivals

The grant supports our key festivals Durham Book Festival, Durham BRASS, and Lumiere Durham - the UK's Light Art Biennial, which together attract thousands of visitors to the county and bring a significant boost to its visitor economy.

These festivals are just some of the many cultural events taking place in the county, cementing Durham's position as the 'culture county' and demonstrating our ongoing commitment to culture-led regeneration. This includes delivering key projects within the county's shortlisted UK City of Culture bid; progressing major capital projects such as the major extension to the former DLI museum and art gallery to create a regional exhibition and cultural venue, and raising the county's profile as a place to live, work, visit and invest.

Funding for the county 

This year's Arts Council grant is an increase of £117,636 per year in funding from our previous allocation, which we will use to create further cultural opportunities in our communities.

Across the county, there has been an increase of £1,686,600 in funding awarded to organisations to support culture for the next three years.

The county will also benefit from separate funding, as today the government announced the North East has been chosen as one of six regions to receive £1.25 million through its Create Growth Programme to support the growth and expansion of creative businesses.

Culture profile

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, our Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: "We are delighted to have been successful in our bid and would like to express our thanks to Arts Council England for its continued support for the county, in particular this year as a Priority Place for investment.

"We will use this funding to achieve our ambitions of building our profile as the culture county, continue growing our festivals to make them even more relevant and accessible to our communities, and to support talent and skills to grow jobs in the cultural economy.

"We would also like to express our congratulations to our partner organisations and attractions which have also been successful in their bids, and we are looking forward to working together to boost the profile of the county and ensure creative opportunities for our communities."

Communities and culture

Alison Paterson, from Blackhall Community Centre, a key supporter of the county's recent UK City of Culture bid, said: "It is great to see County Durham selected as a Priority Place for cultural investment and that so many organisations and attractions have been successful in this funding.

"We know how important culture is to people's wellbeing, in particular within grassroots communities. This funding will help create more opportunities for culture to be celebrated as a community by supporting key events and attractions which bring people together."

Successful applicants

Cultural attractions and organisations across the county to have been successful in their Arts Council funding bids include Beamish Museum, The Bowes Museum, Redhills Durham Miners Hall, TIN Arts, The Forge, Northern Heartlands, National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, and the Association for Cultural Enterprises.

These organisations are continued partners with us, working closely to help boost the county's visitor offer and solidify its presence as the culture county, on the back of its bid for UK City of Culture that inspired communities across the region.