WMCA joins new support unit to boost recovery of region’s cultural sector

Monday 20th of April 2020 08:46 AM

The West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) Cultural Leadership Board is joining a specially formed taskforce to support the post pandemic recovery of the region’s arts and cultural organisations.

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 to ensure the visibility, viability and recovery of the cultural sector in the West Midlands. The Unit has been created over the last 10 days in partnership with more than 100 Cultural organisations, freelancers and stakeholders.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “The WMCA’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.”

The WMCA’s Cultural Leadership Board (CLB) was founded in late 2019 to bring together local people from all backgrounds and representatives from cultural organisations to place culture at the heart of sustainable and inclusive growth in the region, enhancing quality of life for its citizens.

Martin Sutherland, chair of WMCA’s Cultural Leadership Board and Chief Executive of Coventry City of Culture Trust said: “The Cultural Leadership Board has only recently started its work to improve the health, wealth and happiness of all citizens through investing, supporting and advocating for cultural activity. It is essential that we support the West Midlands Culture Response Unit to protect the thousands jobs associated with the cultural sector, while creating new opportunities and supporting organisations across the region to welcome audiences, participants and visitors to the region’s exceptional cultural offer, as soon as lockdown is lifted”.

As well as the WMCA’s Cultural Leadership Board the initiative has support from the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 (CWG2022)  Coventry City of Culture 2021, Arts Council England, Local Enterprise Partnerships, 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. 

The unit will celebrate the role that culture is playing in the current crisis along with its role in the regions civic and economic recovery as we welcome back audiences and artists from our region and around the world.

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.”

Martin Green, chief creative officer, Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022, said: “We are proud to be actively involved in this crucial regional initiative led by Culture Central. The Birmingham 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 click here or to sign up at https://bit.ly/2VzgGkU

Organisations can also show their support by hashtag: #CultureRU

Caption: Picture courtesy of Birmingham Design Festival