Artcore in Derby was one of the organisations to win funding

ACE invests £5.3m to boost diversity across the sector

Geraldine Kendall Adams, 10.08.2016
Grants awarded to 40 arts and culture organisations
Arts and culture organisations in England with a track record in enhancing diversity have been allocated £5.3m from Arts Council England’s (ACE)  Elevate fund to boost their resilience.

Forty black and minority ethnic (BAME) or disability-led organisations have been awarded funding to help them increase staff capacity, generate new sources of revenue and make stronger applications to other arts council investment streams.
The Elevate fund initially stood at £2.1m but was topped up with lottery money due to the strength of applications received by ACE.

Successful applicants include the International Curators Forum, which has been granted £150,000 for a two-year project to work in partnership with the University of the Arts London addressing the under-representation of curators from BAME backgrounds at senior level in the visual arts sector.

Artcore in Derby, which works with people of all ages, abilities and ethnic backgrounds using visual art to promote wellbeing and community cohesion, has received just under £150,000 to hire a new member of staff to enhance its programming.

Works by Leah Gordon on display in the KANAVAL exhibition at the Ort Gallery in 2014. Photograph: Marcin Sz

The Ort Gallery in Birmingham, an artist-led oganisation that promotes exhibitions by artists from diverse backgrounds, has been awarded £100,000 to improve its business plans, increase community outreach and set up a membership scheme.

Meanwhile the Milton Keynes Islamic Arts Heritage & Culture Organisation has been awarded just over £120,000 to work with museums, universities and arts organisations to engage and integrate Muslim and other diverse communities.

Abid Hussain, the arts council's director of diversity, said: “Diversity is a crucial priority for the arts council; the increased scale of our investment through Elevate is a testament to our ambition of driving forward meaningful change.”

The announcement comes weeks after a Museums Association report found that discrimination was damaging staff retention and diversity in the museum sector.


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David Bailey
Director ICF
18.08.2016, 11:13
Hi just a very brief reply re the ACE Elevate announcement.

This support is a great recognition of what ICF has achieved to date. ICF approaches its 10th anniversary in 2017, and this investment from ACE and our partners will make a valuable contribution to the visual art sectors regionally, nationally and globally. In a climate where difference is currently criticized and threatened.

In terms of UAL and its track history. Currently at UAL there is a major project entitled Black Artist & Modernism please see link for details

Also i just want to say that following the ACE announcement ICF will be announcing new opportunities such as our bursaries for participation in events during the Liverpool Biennial including a masterclass with the artist/writer/curator Coco Fusco see link for details

In September we will be announcing more opportunities with different ways people can participate and be involved so please stay tuned to our website


David A Bailey
Director ICF International Curators Forum
Carol Ann Dixon
Researcher and Education Consultant
10.08.2016, 17:51
As an experienced museum educator, who has recently completed a 4-year doctoral research project addressing issues of diversity in the museum and gallery sector, I would welcome further details about how the ICF is (or will be) opening up its curatorial network to emerging (and already established) scholars from the UK's BAME communities with lived and researched insights and expertise to share. After reading Geraldine's v. interesting article, I sought out further information about the prospect of future creative collaborations via the ICF and UAL's websites, and (regrettably) there is currently v. little tangible information about active ways to positively engage (or. propose 'co-production' initiatives) going forward (i.e. no "expression of interest" sign ups, no active contact pages to join the Forum's Network, no details about how to submit (or link to) relevant publications, and even the "Let's Talk" contact page on the ICF site is disabled for comments). Having since written directly to staff at the ICF re. all the above, I do still feel somewhat disheartened that opportunities for follow-up in the immediate wake of reading such positive news are so worryingly opaque. Part and parcel of the ambition to'drive forward meaningful change' is for recipients of public funds to make their communication channels for facilitating wide public dialogue as open, transparent and accessible as possible. Anything otherwise simply leaves the impression that the announcement (based on past & retrospective info) is the most important thing...and the forward (prospective, future focussed) engagement with diversity agendas that has the potential to involve and impact wide constituencies of black publics still currently operating outside the so-called 'mainstream' is just lip service...