First disabled arts champ named

First disabled arts champ named

The arts producer and strategist Andrew Miller has been appointed the first champion for the disabled in arts and culture.

New reports show how Brexit will hit the arts

New reports show how Brexit will hit the arts

English cultural organisations stand to lose £40m a year with Brexit, with 64% oif them currently working inside the European Union. The report from EUCLID, commissioned by Arts Council England, shows that between 2007 and 2016 the EU contributed £345m to England’s arts, museums and creative industries, or £40m a year.

Boost for Banbury Museum expansion

Councillors have agreed plans to double the size of Banbury’s museum in a £5m expansion scheme.

Creative Scotland apology over funding row

Creative Scotland apology over funding row

Archer promises review of funding process

Books by the Ocean

Books by the Ocean

A ‘crazy’ notion to bring a literary festival to Sri Lanka has proved an astounding success. Patrick Kelly reports

Cultural kids' programme reaching out

Cultural kids' programme reaching out

An Arts Council programme devised to help young children from deprived areas through involvement in the arts is working, according to an evaluation report published today.

Call for arts support in Northern Ireland

Call for arts support in Northern Ireland

Arts sector representatives and tourist companies in Northern Ireland have called on politicians to recognise the important role the arts plays in the economy of the region.

Music venues survey shows third ‘under threat’

Music venues survey shows third ‘under threat’

But Scotland embraces ‘Agent of Change’ principle.

Hockney is critics' choice

Hockney is critics' choice

David Hockney is to receive the Critics’ Circle Award for 2017, only the second time a visual artist has been selected for the prestigious prize in the Circle’s 105-year history.

Photojournalism's art gallery

Photojournalism's art gallery

A new website at last gives Fleet Street’s photographers a showcase for their work as art. Simon Tait spoke to its founders, Fleet Street veterans Alan Sparrow and Bret Painter-Spanyol

Museums' collecting frozen by funding cuts

Museums' collecting frozen by funding cuts

Britain’s museums are being increasingly excluded from the art market by cuts in funding, stifling the acquisitions that are the life force for public collections.

Creative industries on track to create 1m local jobs - Nesta

The creative industries are driving the UK’s economic growth, expanding twice as fast as any other sector, according to new research by Nesta.

BAFTA/BFI set harassment zero-tolerance rules

BAFTA/BFI set harassment zero-tolerance rules

Film and television organisations led by BAFT and the BFI have set a series of principles and guidelines to deal with bullying and sexual harassment in the industry.

Tax deal takes early Freuds back to Lakes

Tax deal takes early Freuds back to Lakes

Two really portraits by Lucian Freud have been left to the nation in lieu of tax and allocated to the Abbott Hall Gallery in Kendal.

Mary Beard to front Front Row

Mary Beard to front Front Row

The classics professor Mary Beard is to anchor the revamped television version of the arts review magazine Front Row when it returns in the spring.

17c mystery painting still baffling experts

17c mystery painting still baffling experts

This large picture of 1665 by an anonymous artist is one of the great mysteries of the art world, and is the centerpiece of a forthcoming major Norwich Castle Museum exhibition.

London goes Underground

London goes Underground

Photographs of some faces and places associated with the capital go on display at five London Tube stations this week.

British Art Fair goes to the Saatchi

British Art Fair goes to the Saatchi

Celebrating its 30th birthday this year, the 20/21 British Art Fair has changed ownership and will move to the Saatchi Gallery.

FESTIVALS Lincoln gets digital

Patrick Kelly visits Frequency, a digital culture festival that is helping to transform the medieval city of Lincoln

Inside an ancient church, three men and two women are wandering around in VR goggles, examining an array of strange objects with a strange intensity, while in the street outside an electronics shop, a gaggle of onlookers view a 52in plasma TV screen (price tag £1200) showing not a Disney cartoon or the latest edition of Loose Women, but readings from old schoolbooks.

[Image credit, Electric Egg]

Meanwhile, in the bowels of a famous cathedral, visitors watch woodcutters using ancient tools to create wooden beams as part of Turner Prize winning architecture collective Assemble’s latest  project, Log Book, and in Lincoln market shoppers are watching a hilarious video satirising racism, produced by artist Hain Patel, working with a local youth group.

This is Frequency, a ten day extravaganza of extraordinary art, performances and events fusing virtual and augmented realities with the medieval streets of Lincoln.

The fourth edition of the festival, which ran last month, also included a moving VR film of Empire Soldiers telling the stories of Caribbean soldiers in World War I; Duet, an ambitious collaboration connecting the text messages of people in the UK and India through a light wall; and a plethora of art exhibitions, music and dance performances. 

The festival is also linking with the 800th anniversary of the Charter of the Forest, a sister document to Magna Carta, that established the rights of access to the royal forest for common men. Lincoln is home to one of two surviving copies of the Charter of the Forest, and the historic document is currently on display alongside the Lincoln copy of the Magna Carta at Lincoln Castle. This is the only place on earth where they can be viewed together, and as part of the Festival these documents will be joined by a new Tree Charter, led by the Woodland Trust.

Frequency is the brainchild of Midlands-based media arts producer Threshold Studios, which ran the first edition as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad. “We were keen on the idea of introducing digital art into heritage spaces as a way of reaching new audiences” says Barry Hale, Threshold’s co-director. “Lincoln was really up for it. Indeed, I have never seen a city more welcoming to the idea of the future”.

It’s clearly working. Frequency’s first three editions have successfully attracted 45,000 visitors, and over 109,000 attendances across the programme.

The total budget for Frequency is in the region of £350-400k, with the bulk of the funding coming from a £250,000 Arts Council England grant through Grants for the Arts. The rest comes from a local partnership between the University of Lincoln, and Lincoln BIG Cultural Destinations grant. Threshold have a modular approach to the festival, allowing them flexibility to add on or take away events, depending on the funding levels. Now it’s in Threshold’s NPO agreement with ACE to organise the Frequency festival, giving it extra security for the future.

Peter Knott, area director, Arts Council England, said, “Frequency plays an important part in creating opportunities for local artists, graduates and students to develop their talent

and skills” says Peter Knott, ACE’s area director.“Threshold’s work in this area has created a deep and ongoing relationship with stakeholders in the city and we want to encourage that.”

John Hogan, community engagement officer at Lincoln Castle needs no convincing about the attractions of fusing contemporary digital art with heritage. “It’s a different starting point” he says “but one that really excites audiences”,

Vice Chancellor Professor Mary Stuart says the university has a strong presence in digital arts practice and education. “As a founding partner and co-designer of the first ever Frequency Festival, we’re very proud of how the festival has taken root and grown to become such a fixture of the cultural calendar in the region” she says.

 

The University of Lincoln is very much the model of a modern cultural institution. It set up the Lincoln Cultural and Arts Partnership (LCAP) with the city and county council, Lincoln Business Improvement Group, Visit Lincoln, arts venues and arts organisations, and Prof Mary Stuart chairs the body. Alongside Frequency the partnership has secured a successful Ambitions for Excellence programme from the Arts Council until 2020 and the university has recently established a Centre for Culture and Creativity.

 

“These activities all provide great opportunities for our arts and performance school provision, giving our students work placement opportunities, possibilities to show their work, and for the graduate companies that have set up in the city more opportunities to develop work locally” says Stuart.

 

She added that the university’s role “as an anchor institution in this region is about stimulating growth, including economic growth, but by no means just that. The arts are not a luxury, they are an essential part of our society which can improve people’s quality of life and bind together communities. Universities are in a fortunate position to be able to apply their expertise, facilities and networks to bear in ways that enable the arts not just to survive but also to flourish. This can only be a good thing for our students, whether they are studying arts-based courses (we have a thriving arts school) or other programmes. It is vital to attracting great staff and helps develop the communities we serve.

“One of the key qualities of Frequency is how it encourages artists and audiences to reflect on important themes” she says. “This year’s theme of Displacement, inspired by the 800 year anniversary of the Charter of the Forest, sets a context to consider many of the complex issues we are facing in the world today. That is what art – and higher education institutions – can and should do.”

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