£6 million in funding for cultural festival at Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games cultural festival has received £6 million in funding from Arts Council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The funding will go towards staging a six-month-long cultural festival from March to September 2022. The funds will be ringfenced for West Midlands projects to be delivered ahead of the Games to positively impact communities.

The £6 million investment joins Birmingham City Council’s £2 million support to move the festival closer to its baseline fundraising target. As a direct result of the awards, the culture team will begin to commission projects, launch open calls and support artists and heritage-makers to develop their ideas for 2022.

The festival is set to reach 2.5 million people through a range of high-profile events and participatory projects which will take place in the heart of West Midlands communities.

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games cultural festival will include:

  • 29 headline artistic commissions showcasing the region’s distinct creativity across arts and heritage. Commissioned projects will range from the intimate to the spectacular, and will also explore the rich diversity of communities from across the region
  • Six themed ‘Open Calls’ seeking ideas from local artists and organisations, leading to a further 28 commissioned projects
  • Funding 200+ cultural and creative commissions and projects
  • Investment in 450 artists and creatives with 90% of commissioned work from people based in or originally from the West Midlands

Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: "This investment will help showcase the fantastic art, history and culture of the West Midlands off to the world. 2022 will be a year of national celebration for the UK and the Commonwealth Games’ cultural programme will allow the region’s diversity and creativity to play a key role in our recovery from the pandemic – driving tourism, investment and cultural renewal."

Martin Green CBE, Chief Creative Officer, Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, said: "This timely investment and partnership underlines a significant moment of genuine confidence in the West Midlands’ arts and heritage sectors. Through the cultural festival, we will support and commission some incredible creative projects that connect communities across Birmingham and the West Midlands."

Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, said: "The Commonwealth Games promises to be a huge moment in the cultural calendar of 2022, and we’re delighted to offer this funding for what looks set to be a fantastic festival of arts and culture. Our £3 million investment from the National Lottery means that the Birmingham Commonwealth Culture team can continue their ambitious plans for a truly spectacular six-month programme."

Ros Kerslake CBE, Chief Executive, the National Lottery Heritage Fund said: "The Cultural Festival is a fantastic opportunity to showcase to the world the rich and important stories and heritage that give Birmingham and the West Midlands its unique character. This national celebration will explore a diverse range of cultural heritage including music, nature, migration, food, and industrial heritage through a wide range of activities including dance, music, theatre, film, oral histories and visual art.

"Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the Cultural Festival brings a new dimension to the Commonwealth Games. The celebrations will engage 2.5m people from Birmingham’s diverse communities, creating 400 volunteering opportunities and bringing people together in a shared moment of pride and celebration that is set to create a lasting cultural legacy."

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