Artcity is an artist-led intervention designed and delivered by the key independent creative and cultural sector organisations in Stoke-on-Trent to achieve the following aims over the next five years:
a) Increased Arts Activity In The City
Stoke has a fragile and small cultural infrastructure compared to similar sized-cities (eg Hull, Derby, Southampton) and has historically been under-invested in by ACE. Artcity aims to attract more cultural investment into the city to support sustainable growth in arts activity and resources.
b) Creative Graduate Retention
Graduate flight from Stoke results in a work-force that is under-skilled and a city not best-placed to attract graduate-level jobs. Artcity aims to support more graduates from creative courses at Staffordshire University to stay, live and work in the city.
c) More Artists Want To Work In Stoke
Our approach to changing Stoke’s story is as an artist and activity-led approach rather than a marketing one – and so we will seek to increase demand from outside the city for spaces and resources for creative work. By doing this we will improve and increase the creative profile of the city regionally, nationally and internationally.
To manage and deliver this programme six cultural organisations (AirSpace Gallery, B Arts, Cultural Sisters, Letting In The Light, Partners in Creative Learning and Restoke) based or operating in Stoke-On-Trent are working in partnership with Stoke City Council and Staffordshire University. We have secured a five-year commitment from The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation who are investing £450,000, and Year One commitment from Arts Council England approaching £100,000.
Our initial programme of work focuses on developing temporary arts activity within council and privately owned ‘redundant’ spaces in Stoke-On-Trent: from former collieries and ceramics factories to swimming pools and engineering works. These, for so long seen as liabilities that brand the city as one in decline and post-industrial collapse, have the potential to be a set of unique assets that can position Stoke as a centre for cultural production and create a new narrative for the city.
Our long-term aims through all Artcity activity are to increase the creative profile of the city and in doing so write a new story for Stoke that shows a way into the future.