Culture UK is a partnership between the BBC, Arts Council England, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Arts Council of Wales and Creative Scotland, and aims to ‘excite the nation about the arts’.
To encourage artists and arts organisations to create new works, the BBC is creating a new Artists First BBC commissioning fund, with £4m of funding available in the first year. The funding will be available to arts organisations to make content to be shown on the BBC.
The programme also promises to develop UK-wide cultural festivals to reach new audiences, create opportunities to showcase emerging and diverse talent, and use technology to inspire new experiences in the arts.
The partnership is committing to three UK-wide cultural festivals a year, forming a planning and development group with representation from across the UK to enable this. The BBC is also appointing cultural leads in each of its major national and regional offices to support the programme, and will share its digital platform for events such as Manchester International Festival, the Edinburgh Festivals and the Hay Festival, opening them up to audiences online.
Tony Hall, director-general of the BBC, said:
“We’ve come together because we want the UK to be the most culturally engaged and creative country in the world, where everybody, wherever they come from, can take part. There are real challenges that make working together more necessary and more urgent than ever. Culture is one of the things that unites us all and expresses our identity. We ignore that at our peril.”
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