Arts Council England & National Lottery Heritage Fund Award £6M to Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 Cultural Festival

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JULY 27: during the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games celebrates three-year countdown to 'The Games For Everyone', at Centenary Square on July 27, 2019 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Miles Willis/Getty Images for Birmingham 2022)

Arts Council England and National Lottery Heritage Fund have bestowed £6million collectively to the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 cultural festival.

  • Funding will go towards staging a six month long cultural festival for the Games
  • Award demonstrates distinct sign of confidence in the West Midlands’ arts, culture and heritage sectors
  • Ring fenced funds for West Midlands projects to be delivered ahead of Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games to positively impact communities

Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund have awarded £3million each to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games as major funding partners of the cultural festival.

This investment from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England gives a huge boost to the Games cultural festival that will run for six months from March – September 2022.

The festival will reach 2.5million people through a range of high-profile events and participatory projects which will take place in the heart of West Midlands communities.

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games cultural festival will include:

  • 29 headline artistic commissions showcasing the region’s distinct creativity across arts and heritage. Commissioned projects will range from the intimate to the spectacular, and will also explore the rich diversity of communities from across the region
  • Six themed ‘Open Calls’ seeking ideas from local artists and organisations, leading to a further 28 commissioned projects
  • Funding 200+ cultural and creative commissions and projects
  • Investment in 450 artists and creatives with 90% of commissioned work from people based in or originally from the West Midlands

Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: “This investment will help showcase the fantastic art, history and culture of the West Midlands to the world.

Dowden added: “2022 will be a year of national celebration for the UK and the Commonwealth Games’ cultural programme will allow the region’s diversity and creativity to play a key role in our recovery from the pandemic – driving tourism, investment and cultural renewal.”

Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, said: “The Commonwealth Games promises to be a huge moment in the cultural calendar of 2022, and we’re delighted to offer this funding for what looks set to be a fantastic festival of arts and culture.

“Our £3 million investment from the National Lottery means that the Birmingham Commonwealth Culture team can continue their ambitious plans for a truly spectacular six-month programme.

“The eyes of the world will be on the West Midlands in 2022. Thanks to National Lottery players, our investment will bring to life six months of truly spectacular artistic and cultural events showcasing the creativity, innovation and flair for which Birmingham is rightly famous around the globe.”

Ros Kerslake CBE, Chief Executive, the National Lottery Heritage Fund said: “The Cultural Festival is a fantastic opportunity to showcase to the world the rich and important stories and heritage that give Birmingham and the West Midlands it’s unique character.

“This national celebration will explore a diverse range of cultural heritage including music, nature, migration, food, and industrial heritage through a wide range of activities including dance, music, theatre, film, oral histories and visual art.

“Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the Cultural Festival brings a new dimension to the Commonwealth Games. The celebrations will engage 2.5m people from Birmingham’s diverse communities, creating 400 volunteering opportunities and bringing people together in a shared moment of pride and celebration that is set to create a lasting cultural legacy.”

Martin Green CBE, Chief Creative Officer, Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, said: “This timely investment and partnership, underlines a significant moment of genuine confidence in the West Midlands’ arts and heritage sectors. Through the cultural festival, we will support and commission some incredible creative projects that connect communities across Birmingham and the West Midlands.

“What we love about the arts and heritage sectors is their uniquely transformative power, and there has never been a greater need for this hope and optimism than right now, as we all stare down the impact that the pandemic has had on the creative industries.

“This funding announcement marks a welcome milestone as it takes us just over halfway to our income target for the festival. Whilst there is plenty more work to do, we are optimistic that we can now welcome more funders to the region, who share our ambitious aims.”

The £6million investment joins Birmingham City Council’s £2million support to move the festival closer to its baseline fundraising target. As a direct result of the awards, the culture team will begin to commission projects, launch Open Calls and support artists and heritage-makers to develop their ideas for 2022.


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