Funding puts art and culture at the heart of communities: Many Minds Performance, Many Minds Project © Jack Offord

28 Jun 2021

Funding puts art and culture at the heart of communities

Innovative arts and cultural projects are to benefit from the Cultural Investment Programme Originators fund

Eighteen Bristol-based organisations are to receive grants of £500 - £5000 for cultural and arts activities delivered throughout the city.

Successful projects include Ad Infinitum’s “Extraordinary Wall of Silence” Legacy Programme, bringing together D/deaf and hearing artists and supporting the culture sector to improve access to theatre for the D/deaf community. The “Aan Dheelno! Let’s Play!” project will bring Somali community focused creative play workshops to families in Barton Hill. Big Team CIC will deliver youth led events and networking sessions for young people who are interested in developing a career in the creative industries.

Councillor Craig Cheney, Deputy Mayor said: “The vision for the Cultural Investment Programme is to make arts and culture accessible for all. The projects chosen will help develop Bristol’s reputation as one of the UK’s leading cultural cities, and organisers will work with communities to increase access to arts and culture.

“This time we wanted to make sure we made the process as easy and as accessible as possible. The council’s culture team reviewed the application process with the support of an external group to simplify the way people had to apply, to make sure everyone who wanted could apply, and offer online networking sessions for potential applicants. We received a very large number of applications, including many strong projects and ideas for making culture accessible for all in Bristol.”

The successful projects will receive £500 - £5000 Originators funding for up to 12 months, starting in June 2021 and completing by the end of May 2022. Bristol City Council has also released funding to the 25 projects selected last year. The 2020/21 Originators Fund was put on hold because of challenges around delivering cultural activity alongside COVID-19.

One of these projects is “Meadows to Meaders”, an intergenerational story-telling project involving Southmead residents in scriptwriting, drama, production and performance. One Southmead resident involved in the project said: “The stories are personal, this brings the community together, promotes a sense of positive identity and encourages an interest in arts and culture. You can always read about the history of a place with all the facts and figures but to have that history performed in front of you by residents truly engages people. Meadows to Meaders is a Southmead Soap Opera but it's better than EastEnders because all the stories are true!

“The benefits of the project are many. We have all become one big happy family and we have gotten to know many new people. Working with the Bristol Old Vic has been one of the highlights and they have taught us many new skills such as script writing.”

Many Minds, recipients of Originators funding in 2018, is a mental health and performance charity with the aim to empower individuals who have had experiences with mental ill health to reach their full potential through creativity and performance. Many Minds worked with several partners specialising in the arts and homelessness to deliver “Change the Seen”, using theatre to give young people aged 16-25 a voice to speak out about issues affecting them. The funding enabled the team to apply for match funding from other grants and engaged with 20 young people over 12 weeks.

A full list of the projects funded in 2020 and 2021 can be found on the Bristol City Council website Arts and culture funding - bristol.gov.uk