West Midlands culture sector-led unit launches

Initiative aims to help recovery of arts and cultural industries in the region.

Led by Culture Central, The West Midlands Culture Response Unit will develop and deliver an action-orientated, sector led response to the Covid-19 outbreak over the next six months to ensure the visibility, viability and recovery of the cultural sector in the West Midlands.

The initiative has support from the Royal Shakespeare Company, Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, Coventry City of Culture 2021, Arts Council England, West Midlands Combined Authority, and their Cultural Leadership Board, Local Enterprise Partnerships, including Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP, Birmingham City Council, Regional Local Authorities and many of the leading cultural organisations and independents in the region.

The unit will focus on strategy, planning, communication and campaigns as well as offer support and development to help deliver a region wide coordinated response from the sector as the Covid-19 pandemic continues. It will also celebrate the role that culture is playing in the current crisis along with its place in the region’s civic and economic recovery when audiences and artists from the West Midlands and around the world are to be welcomed back.

Erica Love, Director of Culture Central, said: “As a cultural sector support organisation, we felt it was important to bring the sector together and lead a collective response, pool resources in a time of extreme challenge and work to ensure our cultural sector is heard, recognised and supported.”

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “The West Midlands Combined Authority’s Cultural Leadership Board is made up of people from all backgrounds and representatives from cultural organisations to help drive forward the West Midlands’ vibrant cultural and creative economy.

“Right now, the board is needed more than ever and will work with the West Midlands Cultural Response Unit to help the sector prepare for its short, medium, and long-term future when the ongoing pandemic begins to subside.”

Councillor Jayne Francis, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Culture added: “The cultural sector in Birmingham is vital to our city economy and identity and of course to the wellbeing of our residents. As such, we are proud to support this Cultural Response Unit where we can to help protect our cultural economy and enable its recovery as we work together to come through this difficult situation.”

Martin Green, Chief Creative Officer, Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, said: “We are proud to be actively involved in this crucial regional initiative led by Culture Central. The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and its Cultural Festival offer a hopeful destination point for the recovery of the sector as well as much needed jobs and commissions for artists and organisations’.

For more information on the unit, which has been created over the last 10 days in partnership with over 100 Cultural organisations, freelancers and stakeholders, click here or to sign up click here. Organisations can also show their support by using hashtag #CultureRU