Creative projects and events in Bristol to benefit from £2.5m fund

Creative projects and events in Bristol to benefit from £2.5m fund

16 December 2021

Image: SMOOSH! Knowle West, Friday 17 September 2021 Presented in partnership with Filwood Community Centre © Paul Blakemore

Arts and culture organisations in Bristol are set to benefit from £2.5m of funding from Bristol City Council over the next four years.

The Cultural Investment Programme provides grants and support to Bristol’s cultural organisations, festivals, events, artists and the citizens they work with.

From 2023, the Cultural Investment Programme will distribute £2,544,000 over four years in Bristol’s arts and culture sector through three types of grant: Openness (four year), Imagination (two year) and Originators (one year). The new round has been reviewed and improved following feedback from people working in the sector.

Councillor Craig Cheney, Deputy Mayor of Bristol, said: “Bristol’s artists and cultural organisations have a local and global reputation for creativity and imagination. Following an uncertain couple of years for the creative industries, it’s more important than ever that we continue to support arts and cultural activity in the city.

“The three different types of grant are designed to be a ladder into funding for less experienced grant seekers from across the city, with the potential for them to grow and apply for longer term and wider support as they develop. We especially want to reach smaller organisations and freelancers who have been particularly hard-hit during the pandemic.”

In an increasingly young and diverse city, the Cultural Investment Programme aims to support and invest in organisations and enterprises that are led by, or benefit, under-represented groups and help grow a green and sustainable cultural economy.

Jonathan Harper, Chief Executive of Paraorchestra, who were awarded funding through the Imagination Grant in 2020 said: “The grant funding received from Bristol City Council since 2019 has been a vital investment in Paraorchestra’s growth as a Bristol organisation and as a Bristol employer.

“It has enabled us to create artistic work showcasing exceptional musicianship that embeds disabled artists and creatives at the heart of the process. It has helped us shape events presented in a range of places across the city - not just in the city centre alongside partners such as Bristol Beacon, but out into the suburbs of Knowle West - presenting international quality work directly to audiences local to this area.

“I am immensely grateful to Bristol City Council for seeing the potential in us and investing in what I believe is a shared success for our organisation and for the city."

Jaswinder Singh, Director of Asian Arts Agency, who were awarded funding through the Openness Grant in 2018 said: “The Cultural Investment Programme is very important for Bristol’s arts and culture scene. It enables us to present an inspiring arts events for Bristol audiences and communities and work with local artists. It also enables us to generate funding from external sources to raise Bristol’s profile at an international level.”

Jess Wright from Zion Community Centre, who were awarded funding through the Originators Grant in 2021, said: “Funding from the Cultural Investment Programme is essential for the creation and programming of events such as ‘The People’s Museum’. Our Originators grant gave us the financial ability to plan the exhibition and enabled us to forge a partnership with M Shed. This exhibition showcased the collections of residents in BS13, exploring the stories behind these very personal exhibits and bringing them to attention of the city.

“Without the Cultural Investment Programme smaller venues and innovative projects would often get forgotten, which would have a disastrous impact on the city as a whole.”

The 2023 – 2027 round of the Cultural Investment Programme will open for applications to the Openness and Imagination funds in March 2022. 
In the meantime, the Originators 2022-23 fund opens for applications on Tuesday 14 December.

The Originators fund accepts applications for grants of £500 - £5,000 and supports Bristol-based individuals and organisations to deliver arts and culture events and activities in the city from May 2022 to April 2023. Grant-seekers can find out more information about the Originators fund online and through advice sessions in January 2022.

Find out more about the Cultural Investment Programme.

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