Today, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch), in partnership with King’s College London, announced the recipients of the Award for Civic Arts Organisations over a livestreamed ceremony. The Art House will receive £100,000, and In Place of War CIO and Project Art Works will each receive £25,000. The three organisations were chosen by an independent panel, chaired by Baroness Deborah Bull, for their outstanding capacity to adapt to the pandemic and for how they have all deepened their commitment to their communities over the past two years. They were selected from over 200 high-quality applications to this second edition of the Award from all across the UK.
This accompanying case studies publication shares the inspiring stories of the shortlist, and describes the wider movement of civic arts organisations in the UK.
About the recipients
Based across the UK, and of different sizes and art forms, the three recipients demonstrate the vital role that arts organisations play in sustaining a thriving, creative and connected society.
- The Art House, from Wakefield, received the main Award of £100,000 for its agility in responding to the needs of its local community and putting co-creation at the centre of its work in Wakefield. The organisation has created the first studio sanctuary for asylum seekers in the UK. Its Makey Wakey programme has provided free interim spaces to artists and creative businesses. This has contributed to bringing down the barriers between their creative programme and their community work. The Art House continues to look after artists and community groups through grants, activity packs and wider social programmes.
- In Place of War, from Salford, received a £25,000 Award for the ability to bring its experience of working in the Global South to the UK in addressing the issues of asylum and conflict. The organisation enables change-makers to work in conflict zones across the world, inspiring hope and developing skills and creativity. During the pandemic, it has worked with 12 grassroots community organisations in the UK to find 100 Agents of Change. The project has involved refugees, asylum seekers, people living in poverty and LGBTQI+ communities and resulted in 100 young people connecting with artists and activists around the world to share their experiences, skills and knowledge.
- Project Art Works, from Hastings, received a £25,000 Award for championing diversity and providing a platform for people and issues that are often insufficiently recognised. Throughout the pandemic, this collective of neurodivergent artists and activists reimagined how it wanted to engage with its community and how best to help those with complex support needs. The organisation created a digital platform for their communities to participate in creative work from their homes, using tools such as letters, video conferencing and the exchanging of objects to maintain the important connection they had with the organisation. During this period, Project Art Works was shortlisted for the Turner Prize.
‘The applicants to this year’s Award exemplify the creativity, flexibility and resilience that arts organisations across the UK have demonstrated in response to the challenges of the pandemic years. Our recipients rose above a crowded field because of their evidenced commitment to their civic role: to championing diverse voices, to developing skills and creativity, to co-creation and to dissolving the barriers between the practice of art and the impact it has for communities and society.’
Baroness Bull, Vice President (Communities & National Engagement) and Senior Advisory Fellow for Culture at King’s College London (chair of the judges)
The Award is an initiative launched by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch), in partnership with King’s College London, to celebrate arts organisations committed to putting civic and community engagement at the heart of their work during and beyond challenging times.
Livestreamed celebration event
Press release Case studies