Swindon’s Create Studios receives major Culture Recovery Fund grant

By Barrie Hudson - 21 October 2020

Arts and CultureEducation

Create Studios has received £195,000 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF).

  • Create CEO and Artistic Director Shahina Johnson MBE

    Create CEO and Artistic Director Shahina Johnson MBE

The Swindon organisation will use the money, delivered though Arts Council England, to help it face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure a sustainable future for its award-winning digital production skills programme for young people.

Create Studios celebrated its 35th anniversary last year, and reaches more than 8000 participants a year, with more than 30,000 enjoying civic exhibitions in public venues, and more than 3.5 million seeing its work online.

CEO and Artistic Director Shahina Johnson MBE said: “The team at Create Studios are thrilled to have been supported by the Culture Recovery Fund and ACE [Arts Council England] to be able to anchor our mission to grow diverse talent for the Digital Creative Industries. 

"Our outreach, talent and diverse heritage commitment to Swindon and the region has been secured by the grant.”

 “We are excited that this grant will enable us to appoint two apprentice roles for young people and new members in our team to extend our outreach practice in response to covid. 

"Most importantly we can also support freelance roles that are the life-blood of the creative sector as our production work goes live again. 

"This grant is a game-changer for Create and for our offer to Swindon’s community.”

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This is more vital funding to protect cultural gems across the country, save jobs and prepare the arts to bounce back. 

"Through Arts Council England we are delivering the biggest ever investment in the arts in record time. Hundreds of millions of pounds are already making their way to thousands of organisations.

 “These awards build on our commitment to be here for culture in every part of the country.”

 As a not-for-profit Social Enterprise, Create Studios uses income from its film and digital production activity with household names from National Trust to Chelsea FC, to build on public grants from Arts Council England and Swindon Borough Council which support a range of talent development opportunities for young people in the region – from explorers through to graduates returning to find work back in Swindon and Wiltshire.  

This support for new talent won Create’s Team a Wiltshire Business Award in 2018, along with national recognition for excellence by Arts Council England when it was invited to their National Portfolio, joining Swindon’s Prime Theatre and Swindon Dance to make three National Portfolio Organisations in Swindon.

Arts Council England chair Sir Nicholas Serota said: "Culture is an essential part of life across the country, helping to support people’s wellbeing through creativity and self-expression, bringing communities together, and fuelling our world class creative industries.  

“This latest set of awards from the Culture Recovery Fund builds on those announced recently and will help hundreds of organisations to survive the next few months, ensuring that the cultural sector can bounce back after the crisis. 

"We will continue doing everything we can to support artists and cultural and creative organisations, with further funding to be announced in the coming weeks.”

Create’s website is createstudios.org.uk

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