Barrow named as priority area by Arts Council England

Arts Council England has announced that Barrow-in-Furness will be one of 15 priority places in the North where they want to develop new opportunities for investment, as part of the publication of…

Arts Council England has announced that Barrow-in-Furness will be one of 15 priority places in the North where they want to develop new opportunities for investment, as part of the publication of its three-year Delivery Plan for 2021 - 2024.

Arts Council England’s three-year Delivery Plan sets out a detailed roadmap to implement the vision of their strategy Let's Create: by 2030 England will be a country in which the creativity of each individual is valued and given the chance to flourish, and where everyone has access to a remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences. The Delivery Plan highlights where there are opportunities for investment, collaboration, and progress.

The publication of the delivery plan follows the Government’s £1.96 billion Culture Recovery Fund, administered by the Arts Council and other bodies.

To help make this vision a reality the Delivery Plan names 54 priority places across England. Arts Council will work closely with these locations to develop new opportunities for investment, both from the Arts Council and other partners. Across the North, from Barnsley to Blackpool, South Tyneside to Kirklees, County Durham to Wigan, and Barrow-in-Furness to the Tees Valley, priority places recognises the need for cultural investment, and it will give more people the opportunity to enjoy high-quality cultural experiences in their communities and neighbourhoods.

Barrow has a strong sense of identity which offers great potential to build on its distinctive cultural heritage and to address lower levels of cultural engagement. The opportunities afforded by a committed group of artists and creatives, recent government investment, and ambitious local plans to build its profile and its partnerships, have the potential to enthuse and engage local communities. Existing cultural organisations, such as Art Gene, the Ashton Group, Octopus, Signal Films and the recently-formed Creative People and Places project Barraculture, provide a positive foundation to expand cultural opportunities in the borough. Since the beginning of the pandemic Barrow has received £212,500 investment from the Arts Council through the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.

These places have been chosen through a set of criteria based on a review of current public investment and opportunities to engage with creative and cultural activity. Each of the priority places are ambitious to drive positive change through culture.

Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, says “Artists, arts organisations, museums and libraries have found creative new ways to serve their audiences and communities since the start of the pandemic. Our new Delivery Plan shows how we’ll work with them to build on that spirit of imagination and innovation as our society reopens. It’s particularly exciting to be focusing on our 54 priority places over the coming years, as part of the Arts Council’s commitment to play its part in delivering on the government’s programme of levelling up. We’re looking forward to nurturing dynamic new partnerships with local people and organisations in each of these locations.”

Jennifer Cleary, Director, North, Arts Council England, said: “I am excited today to announce that Barrow-in-Furness is one of our 15 priority places across the North. The launch of our Delivery Plan, which sets out how we’ll implement our new 10-year strategy Let’s Create, and the announcement of our priority places will see us working closely with partners across Barrow-in-Furness to ensure that creativity and culture can play a key role in levelling up across the North.

“Communities are at the heart of the work of Barrow’s arts and cultural organisations, from Art Gene to the recent Creative People and Places project Barraculture. I look forward to working with the local authority and the town’s creative organisations and individuals to support the growth of Barrow’s cultural sector.”

Councillor Ann Thomson, the leader of Barrow Borough Council, said: "We're delighted that Barrow is among the 54 priority locations announced by Arts Council England today.

"Barrow has a rich industrial story, creative people and an array of incredible natural resources that have helped forge our unique cultural heritage - something Let's Create will help to build upon and nurture through partnerships with local people and some of the fantastic organisations we have in our borough. We look forward to the exciting opportunities this will realise over the next three years."


Find out more about Arts Council England's priority places here