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Arts Council England announces successful applicants in final round of Ambition for Excellence awards

Yesterday, seven organisations received a total of £3,249,087 from Arts Council England’s final round of Ambition for Excellence, funded by the National Lottery.

Ambition for Excellence projects supports and stimulates ambition, talent and excellence in arts and culture across England. The fund helps to develop talent, leadership and cultural places across the country, and can also help organisations develop an international dimension to their work.

Please see examples of successful applicants below:

Culture Central has been awarded £660,000 for Transforming Narratives, a project managed by Culture Central in association with the British Council, and will involve a series of cultural exchanges between Birmingham and cities in Bangladesh and Pakistan. These will allow residents and visitors of the different cities to experience a wide variety of contemporary art, – including theatre, music, or visual art – through performance, exhibition and collaboration.

Sunderland Culture have been awarded £745,000 for Believe in Me: Cathedrals to Creative Cities, a world-class visual arts project which will celebrate the North-East district of Wearside and will unite the two cities of Sunderland and Durham, which share the River Wear. Five internationally-outstanding commissioned contemporary works will be produced in glass – in recognition of Sunderland’s relationship with glass which goes back to the 7th century – and will honour the area’s historic connection to the Anglo-Saxon scholar, St Bede. The five works will be presented in buildings along the River Wear, from the National Glass Centre in Sunderland to Durham Cathedral. The project will create opportunities for contemporary artists, will invest in the talent development of those working in hot glass and will invest in the region’s capacity to lead major visual arts projects.

On Time + Place is a three-year project that will bring large-scale, outdoor, free artworks from around the globe to the people of Ipswich and beyond, as well as creating new international co-commissions. These works will occur at SPILL Festivals in 2018 and 2020, and as part of ongoing work at the Pacitti Company Think Tank in 2019.

Across its lifetime, Ambition for Excellence invested £35.9m into projects across the country, with 82% of award recipients based outside of the capital. Due to this being the final Ambition for Excellence round, funding for similar programmes can now be accessed through Project Grants. Project Grants will be open to applications from March 2018 for museums, libraries, artists and arts organisations for individual projects.

Alison Clark, Director, Combined Arts, Arts Council England, said: “Ambition for Excellence has provided us with brilliant and ambitious arts projects, that will continue to have a significant impact on artists, places and audiences across the country. In particular, the fund has given us exceptional opportunities for diverse, emerging and established artists to make work in new places or in new formats. We look forward to seeing similar brilliant projects through our new Project Grants funding stream this year.”

For more information contact:

Abigail Knell, Communications Officer, Arts Council England
Tel: 020 7268 0537/ Email:

Notes to editors

Find out more about the Ambition for Excellence fund here. Images available upon request.

This is our final Ambition for Excellence round. Ambition for Excellence funding can now be accessed through Project Grants. Project Grants will be open to applications from March 2018 for museums, libraries, artists and arts organisations for individual projects. £14m per year of this will be reserved to support nationally significant projects of £100k and above, including some of the activity previously supported by the Ambition for Excellence and Strategic Touring funds. National Portfolio Organisations will be able to apply to this reserved strand of funding.

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2015 and 2018, we will invest £1.1 billion of public money from government and an estimated £700 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

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