ACE announces £18m international fund

Investment for collaboration and cultural exchange
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Rebecca Atkinson
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Arts Council England (ACE) has announced that £18m left over following the dissolution of the Olympic Lottery Distributor will be turned into a new fund to send "the best of English arts and culture overseas".

The international fund will be invested from 2015 to 2018 to enable arts organisations and artists to earn money overseas and encourage opportunities for collaboration and cultural exchange.

It aims to build on the work of organisations such as the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Manchester International Festival and Akram Khan Dance Company in sending shows and exhibitions abroad.

Following the dissolution of the Olympic Lottery Distributor – the non-government body set up to manage the £1.8bn raised by the National Lottery to fund the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London – about £150m is being returned to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and is to be shared with the National Lottery Distributors.

A DCMS spokeswoman said: "We expect the return of approximately £150m later this year for distribution to the Lottery good causes across the UK, comprising the unspent portion of the Lottery’s contribution to the Olympics plus the proceeds from the sale of the Olympic Village.

"Due to a number of factors, the exact timing of the return has not yet been finalised, but we will let Lottery Distributors know when this is the case."

The arts council will receive a total of £21m of Olympic lottery money; £18m is being put into the new international fund, and details of how the remainder will be spent are to be announced in due course.

Peter Bazalgette, chairman of the arts council, said: "The release of these funds will see great artistic work from England exported around the globe.

"Artists and arts organisations will have the opportunity to work with leading artists worldwide and we’ll all see the benefits of an arts and cultural sector that is encouraging international investment and increasing revenue streams, collaborating with partners overseas to further enrich our cultural offer, and enhancing our reputation for world class culture."

The culture secretary Sajid Javid said: "Culture is essential to our wellbeing and quality of life but cultural diplomacy can build trust and relationships with other countries, helping to drive trade and investment.

"This export fund of £18m will help promote our unique talent on the international stage, boosting opportunities for collaboration and co-operation and taking British culture to international audiences."

More details of the international fund will be published in January 2015.

A spokeswoman for the Heritage Lottery Fund said it will receive £28m from the Olympic Lottery Distributor, and have increased its grant awards budget accordingly.



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