These hugely exciting bids demonstrate the scale of cultural ambition across the region, and reflect the great diversity of Northern towns and cities
– Karen Badley
Eleven locations from across the north of England have bid for a share of £15m (US$20.1m, €17m) in funding designed to build a legacy from the Great Exhibition of the North.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) has received bids for the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund from all over the region, with grants of up to £4m (US$5.1m, €4.4m) on offer.
The bidding pool consists of Cheshire and Warrington; Cumbria; Greater Manchester; Humber; Lancashire; Leeds city region; Liverpool city region; the North East; Sheffield city region; Tees Valley; and York, North Yorkshire and East Riding.
Among these, Lancashire is looking for finances to help develop the Amuseum – the first museum in Britain to tell the story of British popular entertainment and Blackpool’s role in that industry. Costing a total £10.4m (US$14m, €11.8m), £3.9m (US$5.2m, €4.4m) of the development will come from the local council, with the attraction scheduled to open in 2020.
Another bidder, Eureka! The National Children’s Museum, in Halifax, wants to expand by opening a new £11m (US$14.8m, €12.5m) Eureka! site in Liverpool. Aimed at seven to 14-year-olds, the museum could open as early as 2021 if fundraising is a success.
In the North East, Sunderland could be in line for £3m (US$4, €3.4m), as it looks to establish its £5m (US$6.7m, €5.7m) ‘National Centre for Imagination’. Focusing on young people’s creativity and imagination, the plans include an institute of performing arts and a DigiLab where children and young people will have the opportunity to use emerging digital technologies to learn new skills and develop their ideas.
“These hugely exciting bids demonstrate the scale of cultural ambition across the region, and reflect the great diversity of northern towns and cities,” said culture secretary Karen Bradley.
“This £15m fund will mean that as many people as possible benefit from the Great Exhibition of the North and it's fantastic that so many communities have recognised the transformative potential of culture, design and innovation.”
The 2018 edition of the Great Exhibition of the North takes place in Newcastle and Gateshead from June until September, with the £5m (US$6.4m, €5.5m) government-funded event showcasing the north of England’s art, culture, design and innovation. The exhibition is split over three hubs, including the Great North Museum: Hancock, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Sage Gateshead.
Funding for projects will be announced in March next year. If all funds have not been allocated during the initial window, a second round of funding will follow.
According to the brief, successful bids will “encourage sustainable cultural and creative regeneration in the north of England and benefit areas that have historically had low levels of cultural and creative investment”.