Arts Council England
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Creative people and places fund opens for applications

The Arts Council has today (30 January 2012) launched a new £37 million fund to ensure more people living in places where levels of involvement are currently low, experience and are inspired by the arts.

Over three years the Creative people and places fund will invest in around 15 programmes of activity that use radical new approaches to developing excellent, inspiring and sustainable arts experiences for communities not currently engaging with the arts.

The Arts Council has used the Active People survey to identify 71 areas of the country which fall into the lowest 20 per cent of arts engagement. Typically, grants of between £500,000 and £3 million will be invested in a number of these areas with the aim of increasing participation.

Open for applications

The Creative people and places programme is open to applications from any consortia that meet the eligibility criteria. All applications must be proposing work in one or more of the areas with the lowest 20 per cent of arts engagement as identified by the Arts Council.

There will be two funding rounds for applicants, with the first opening today. Interested consortia need to register their intention to apply with their regional office by 23 March 2012 with the closing date for the first round of applications 13 April 2012.

Download Creative people and places: guidance for applicants.

Excellence, both artistic and in engaging communities, will be at the heart of successful applications, with the Arts Council investing in programmes that encourage long term collaborations between local communities and arts organisations, museums, libraries and local authorities.

As well as increasing artistic participation in these areas, the Creative people and places investment will help the Arts Council learn about the impact of different approaches to increasing engagement. The knowledge gained from the programme will be made available to arts organisations, museums and libraries, local authorities and the wider cultural sector.

Strategic funding

The Creative people and places programme is one way the Arts Council is investing its strategic funding between 2012 and 2015. Strategic funding, which comes largely from the Arts Council's Lottery income, will be used to complement our £1.04 billion investment in National portfolio organisations. The strategic funding will be used to target key areas and seize opportunities - including investment in capital, encouraging private giving and the audience focus programme.

The Arts Council Plan for 2011-15 sets out in more detail how strategic funding will be used to realise the priorities set out in Achieving great art for everyone - the Arts Council's 10-year strategic framework for the arts.

Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England said:

'We hope this programme will inspire new partnerships. We'd like to hear from consortia that include organisations we know are doing great work in developing audiences and, perhaps, others who may not have worked with the Arts Council before, but who could be part of innovative programmes that have a real impact in attracting new people to the arts.

'Though at this stage we can only offer funding for three years, we'd like to see applicants articulating a 10 year ambition for the communities they're working with that will transform how local people experience and access the arts.'