Royal Docks to be London’s £5bn new cultural quarter

Royal Docks to be London’s £5bn new cultural quarter

The mayors of London and Newham have declared the Royal Docks a new cultural quarter for the capital that could generate £5bn in investment over the next 20 years, as a new festival, Royal Docks Originals, opens.

TAITMAIL   Wars of empire as real people saw them

TAITMAIL Wars of empire as real people saw them

TOTAL WAR! the didactic shouts at the start of the Imperial War Museum’s new permanent exhibition: the concept realised for the first time with the Second World War that non-combatants as well as combatants were considered legitimate targets.

Lost Tiepolo drawing turns up in Sitwells’ attic

Lost Tiepolo drawing turns up in Sitwells’ attic

An exquisite drawing by Tiepolo, one of the masters of Venice’s 18th century golden age, has been found in an attic, covered in bubble-wrap.

Anne Seymour Damer: the forgotten ‘female genius’

Anne Seymour Damer: the forgotten ‘female genius’

Horace Walpole described the sculptor Anne Seymour Damer as “a female genius”, yet her work is barely known now, almost 200 years after her death.

Rail boost for regional theatres

Rail boost for regional theatres

A railway company has teamed up with a group of regional theatres to boost their audiences following the Covid emergency.

Tiny Alnwick museum is UK's most friendly

Tiny Alnwick museum is UK's most friendly

The tiny Bailffgate Museum & Gallery in Alnwick, Northumberland, is the winner of this year’s Family Friendly Museum Award.

Cornwall and Durham longlisted for City of Culture 2025

Cornwall and Durham longlisted for City of Culture 2025

The government has announced the eight cities and conurbations that will vie to be City of Culture 2025, in succession to Coventry this year.

GOOD PRACTICE GUIDE    Borough culture power versus Covid

GOOD PRACTICE GUIDE Borough culture power versus Covid

In 2019 Waltham Forest was the first of mayor Sadiq Khan’s London Boroughs of Culture. Lorna Lee, assistant director of culture at Waltham Forest Council, shows how the structure built then helped its communities through the pandemic

Ex-director quits Science Museum board over sponsorship

Ex-director quits Science Museum board over sponsorship

Chris Rapley, the former director of the Science Museum, has resigned from its advisory board in the escalating row over its sponsorship by Shell.

£1m to give the world new British films

£1m to give the world new British films

The UK Global Screen Fund is to give £1m to help 18 new productions to get international showings.

MIMA offers first curating apprenticeship degrees

MIMA offers first curating apprenticeship degrees

In a ground-breaking move for careers in museums and galleries Middlesbrough’s MIMA School of Art and Design is offering the UK’s first combined masters and higher degree apprenticeship (HAD) in curating.

New £2m fund to help museums make ‘miracles on a shoestring’

New £2m fund to help museums make ‘miracles on a shoestring’

Art Fund today announces the first round of a new £2m grant stream, Reimagine, to enable museums, galleries and historic houses to connect with their communities better.

THE ART OF PHOTOJOURNALISM Image of the month

THE ART OF PHOTOJOURNALISM Image of the month

Into the Twilight Zone, 6.45pm, 25th September 2018, by Roger Jackson

Alan Sparrow with an image of St Paul’s and the City a sunset

Museum of Childhood’s £13m transformation – to Young V&A

Museum of Childhood’s £13m transformation – to Young V&A

Work has begun on the £13m transformation of the V&A’s Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, East London. It is due to reopen in 2023.

UK arts councils combine for international fund

UK arts councils combine for international fund

The four nations’ arts councils have collaborated on a new fund to encourage international partnerships on arts projects.

Double sculpture makes Shard London’s international meeting point

Double sculpture makes Shard London’s international meeting point

A new public sculpture by the Spanish artist Jaume Plensa that celebrates both internationalism and diversity has been unveiled at the point where the Shard, London’s tallest building, meets London Bridge Station.

Fund opens for ‘arts for social change’ projects

Fund opens for ‘arts for social change’ projects

Two charities have combined to cdevise a fund that supports arts collaborations for social change.

Courtauld reopens in November after £57m make-over

Courtauld reopens in November after £57m make-over

The Courtauld Gallery is to reopen in November after three years’ closure following its £57m modernisation, the most significant in its history.

Abigail Morris to head Mountview

Abigail Morris to head Mountview

Abigail Morris, the former director of the Jewish Museum and before that of Soho Theatre, is to be the new CEO of the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.

Cameron gets his own ‘Mack’ - in Peckham

Cameron gets his own ‘Mack’ - in Peckham

The Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts is to name its new theatre “The Mack” after its supporter, the West End producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh, who has given £1m towards the new building.

Himid wins Government Art Collection commission

Himid wins Government Art Collection commission

Lubaina Himid has won the Government Art Collection’s annual commission, with the result unveiled today.  

Ex-arts minister Gowrie dies aged 81

Ex-arts minister Gowrie dies aged 81

The Earl of Gowrie, arts minister under Margaret Thatcher and later chairman of the Arts Council, has died aged 81 after a long illness.

Robot painting a first for RA's Summer Exhibition

Robot painting a first for RA's Summer Exhibition

A portrait of the artist Yinka Shonibare is the first robot painting to be selected for the Royal Academy’s annual showcase of contemporary talent, the Summer Exhibition.

Tate’s Clarrie Wallis to head Turner Contemporary

Tate’s Clarrie Wallis to head Turner Contemporary

Clarrie Wallis, Tate’s senior curator of British contemporary art, is to be the new director of Turner Contemporary at Margate, succeeding Victoria Pomery who has left to be the director of The Box in Plymouth.

FESTIVALS King of the Tyne

A unique festival connects the River Tyne to the legacy of civil rights activist Dr Martin Luther King. Patrick Kelly reports

The Tyne Bridge will stand in for another iconic bridge as part of a spectacular perfomance celebrating the courage and sacrifice of civil rights campaigner Dr Martin Luther King.

On Sunday October 29, the bridge will become the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, Alabama, scene of one of the most famous moments in the civil rights movement as King and his sup- porters were attacked by police while peacefully marching across.

Freedom on the Tyne will bring together international artists, performers and community groups from across NewcastleGateshead in a unique afternoon of theatre, music, dance and art. Starting from various locations across the city, four stories of the global struggle for civil rights will be told in a unique performance, building through- out the day before coming to a climax on the Tyne Bridge. Hundreds of local actors, dancers, singers, musicians and performers will be recruited from communities from across Newcastle and Gateshead to work alongside professional artists to bring Freedom on the Tyne to life.

Behind this extraordinary event is the little-known fact that Martin Luther King visited the city to accept an honorary degree from the University of Newcastle, the only such honour accorded him by a UK institution in his lifetime. The university has been celebrating this event in a quiet way for many years, but on the 50th anniversary, it was keen to make a bigger splash. It got together with production company Northern Roots and the Newcastle Gateshead Initiative, and made a bid for support from ACE’s Ambition for Excellence funding strand. ACE bosses believe that a major event like this is a way of using art to create a step change in diversity within Newcastle’s cultural offer.

The performance is part of Freedom City, a year-long, city-wide programme looking at the three themes - war, poverty and racism - of King’s acceptance speech back in 1967. For example, Newcastle’s regular Juice Music festival is taking over the Hancock museum with a celebration of the positive social changes which have taken place over the last 50 years. The Hancock is also devoting an exhibition to the story of Dr King’s visit. Other events include exhibitions at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, a painting by artist Frank Briffa at Gosforth Civic Theatre and a new installation created by a team of young writers from Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books.

“The people of NewcastleGateshead will be the stars of the performance,” says Tim Supple, who will direct from a script by BAFTA-award winning playwright Roy Williams. “But even people coming to watch will be involved in a moving, inspiring and memorable afternoon. Standing together on the Tyne Bridge in a moment of reflection and solidarity for civil rights will be a powerful and striking image to send the world.”

Supple, a former artistic director of the Young Vic Theatre, has several large scale international productions on his CV, including an Indian version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Dash Arts and the epic Arabic story, One Thousand and One Nights, at Edinburgh International Festival, but he has been struck by the extraordinary level of co-operation in the city, from the local councils to local community organisations and commercial businesses.

“There’s no perfect rulebook for organising this sort of event, but there are two really important factors – the way that the creation of something pulls people together and the legacy created in getting the involvement of people not usually engaged in the arts,” he says. “It’s best to describe it as a people’s passion play. It’s not a spectacle, it’s an unforgettable experience, not just for those who take part but for everyone who sees it.”

The arena for the event is not just the bridge, “one of the best performance venues I have ever seen” says Supple, it is the city itself. Four events at four locations will look at the massacres in Amritsar, Sharpeville, Peterloo and of course, the incident at Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge. From there, four processions, plus a group commemorating the Jarrow march, will converge on the bridge, which bears a striking resemblance to its counterpart in Alabama.

“Despite all those tragedies,” points out Supple, “this is a story of triumph as the spirit behind these protests finally won through in terms of the rights and freedoms we enjoy today.”

Vikki Leaney, senior festival and events manager at NewcastleGates- head Initiative, said organising the event on October 29 will be a major operation, even for a city well used to holding major events. “In some ways it will also be a step change for Newcastle and Gateshead too. We are used to getting organisations to co-operate here but this is like holding the Great North Run, New Year’s Eve parade and a host of political demos all at once.”

The NGI is also pleased that although the programme was kick-started by that Arts Council grant of £595,000, they estimate that they have garnered more than £1m in match funding from a variety of sources in the cities of Newcastle and Gateshead. In some ways, the event can almost be seen as a trial run for the Great Exhibition of the North, the George Osborne-inspired event designed to provide a cultural impetus to the Northern Powerhouse.

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