Partners sign up to support Birmingham's vision as a Creative City

Posted on 6 August 2012

A number of partners from across Birmingham and the wider region have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to drive forward Birmingham’s vision as a Creative City.

The MOU brings together 11 organisations, who will work together to develop partnership opportunities to support cultural and creative activities and projects.

Birmingham City Council, The Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), BBC, Arts Council England, and Creative England have all pledged their support to the Creative City partnership, in addition to Marketing Birmingham, Birmingham City University, University of Birmingham, Birmingham Arts Partnership, Digital Media Business Cluster and Birmingham Independent Arts Sector Network.

Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “The Creative City Memorandum of Understanding shows our collective intention to improve our future growth to develop creative skills, grow cultural businesses and improve our offer to visitors and residents. There is a lot of work to do and this is just the first step.

“The inclusion of all the major agencies with responsibility for funding culture and creativity and the BBC creates new momentum for this agenda and working with the LEP will enable us to integrate this important sector within the new economic strategy for the Greater Birmingham and Solihull area.”

Caroline Thomson, BBC Chief Operating Officer said: “Today’s signing of the memorandum signifies the BBC’s continuing commitment to the City of Birmingham. We look forward to working together with partners over the coming years as part of the Creative City initiative.”

Ros Robins, West Midlands Director, Arts Council England, added: “Arts Council England as the national development agency for the arts welcomes this collaborative approach of working which is the basis of Creative City. We have a wealth of creative talent in Birmingham with many of the arts organisations having an international reputation. It is important in these times of economic restraint that we work together to build on this reputation.”

Cultural developments already taking place in Birmingham include the £189 million Library of Birmingham, which occupies a prime site on Centenary Square in the city centre and will open in 2013. A major flagship project for the regeneration of the city, the Library will be capable of taking up to 10,000 visitors a day – forming a new cultural space that merges education with theatre and art.

In addition, the Curzon Square development proposed for Eastside will become Birmingham’s new museum quarter, situated alongside the city’s new HS2 terminal. It is expected to comprise the Ikon 2 gallery, a museum of contemporary art and temporary exhibition space, a museum of photography and a building for an existing national collection.

Steve Hollis, Deputy Chairman of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The creative and cultural sectors are incredibly important to the LEP area, attracting visitors and creating jobs. By agreeing to work more closely together to capitalise on opportunities presented to us, we can further cement the reputation of Greater Birmingham and Solihull as a cultural and creative centre.”

Caroline Norbury, Chief Executive Officer of Creative England added: “The signing of the MOU is the first step in a programme of activity that will soon be rolled out in Birmingham and the wider region. Creative England is delighted to be supporting this initiative in its embryonic stage and we look forward to working with all the partners in both the public and private sector to harness the potential of the creative industries to help drive economic growth.”

As well as signing the MOU, Birmingham City University (BCU) is hosting a ‘topping out’ ceremony to mark a landmark in the building of Phase 1 of its City Centre Campus at Eastside.

“This is a significant milestone for the University and Birmingham, the Creative City,” said Professor David Tidmarsh, Vice-Chancellor of BCU.

“Our City Centre Campus plans will support the creative industries, a crucial sector in both the regional and national economies – and will ensure we maintain our leadership in this field.”

Birmingham City University has teamed up with Birmingham-based Willmott Dixon to build the 18,310 sq metre flagship facility at Eastside, providing a purpose-built home for the world-class provision of the University’s Birmingham Institute of Art and Design (BIAD).

The building will also feature a large ‘media hub’ with industry-standard TV, radio and photographic studios that will underpin the University’s prestigious media provision. This centre of excellence will boast the best bespoke media facilities of their kind between London and Salford – and perfectly positions the University and Birmingham as a major contributor to the creative industries.

Partners sign up to support Birmingham's vision as a Creative City