Eight cultural projects to launch as Mansfield Council plans to accept £1.7m Arts Council funds

Mansfield's Palace Theatre
By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter

More than £1.7m is to officially be handed to Mansfield District Council to drive forward arts and cultural projects across the town.

The authority will formally accept the cash this week as the national Arts Council offers three years’ worth of support to projects across England.

The Labour-led council confirmed earlier this month it is due to receive £1,737,912 over three years to fund eight schemes in the district.

Projects include creative activities in ‘priority communities’ and a ‘learning together’ scheme offering targeted education in schools and for older people.

There are also plans for a ‘new talent’ project to support emerging artists through residencies and programmes to help them develop.

A ‘diverse careers’ scheme would support under-represented people into cultural careers through apprenticeships, working with Derby Theatre.

The cash will also digitise Mansfield Museum’s collection and help to establish a scheme for young people aspiring to be curators.

There will also be a ‘natural futures’ scheme focusing on climate-themed events and environmental projects.

A ‘Mansfield and the World’ project will “increase the scale, quality and ambition” of artistic programmes in the town.

And an ‘Inclusive Audiences’ scheme aims to increase the reach of cultural projects and encourage people from outside Mansfield to visit the town.

The eight projects will receive a share of £579,304 each year for three years, council documents say.

The authority was awarded the figure after its bid for the full £1.73m showed plans which met a series of Arts Council objectives.

The wider, 10-year vision of the national body is to allow everyone to experience high-quality cultural projects across England.

And the authority was told at the start of November its bid met the organisation’s objectives in full.

The £1.73m is due to be formally accepted by Councillor Craig Whitby (Lab), portfolio holder for corporate and finance, on Friday (December 2).

Speaking earlier this month, Cllr Stuart Richardson (Lab), portfolio holder for regeneration and growth, said he was thrilled by the funding.

“With this significant investment, we will be employing more staff to run engaging new activities and also work with our harder-to-reach communities, ensuring they have access to the arts,” he added.

He also revealed some of the cultural events will focus on addressing the “legacy of British colonialism within communities” at Mansfield Museum.

Once the projects begin to form, the authority adds live performances will move away from the theatre and museum and into neighbourhoods.

Temporary exhibitions will also be moved into areas with the least access to publicly-funded cultural events.

Sian Booth is the council’s cultural services manager and submitted the bid for the funds.

“It will truly guide and shape the direction of the theatre and museum for years to come,” she said.

She adds pop-up exhibitions will be placed around the district to share the museum’s collection more widely.

This, she says, will “represent diverse voices and stories”.

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