EX CATHEDRA | A collective response to the proposed Birmingham City Council Cuts from the Arts and Culture sector in Birmingham

We are devastated at what the recently announced Birmingham City Council cuts could mean for Birmingham and the impact such cuts will have on people’s daily lives across the city. 

The arts, culture and heritage industries play a vital role in the economic and social life of our city; enhancing people’s lives and wellbeing, supporting jobs and putting Birmingham on the world-stage.

In the face of ongoing austerity and reductions in public funding, alongside covid and rising inflation, the arts and culture sector has been extremely resilient. We remain open, and continue to welcome audiences, work with schools and communities, and support artists in Birmingham, the UK and internationally; and as the sector responsible for the talent, development and inspiration pipelines for the UK’s global economic and reputational success, we don’t plan on stopping. But the sector is being squeezed from all directions and some organisations may not survive.

The city council’s proposals would see investment in the cultural sector cut by 60% in 2024 and 100% in 2025.

This is not only an issue for Birmingham. Local authorities remain the biggest public investors in culture and library services, particularly outside of the capital. Councils across England are facing difficult choices and withdrawing support for arts and culture. As the national Campaign for the Arts has noted, these are decisions that harm quality of life, exacerbate inequalities and set back economic recovery.

A national conversation, as well as a regional one, is imperative to safeguard the future of the sector.

Some people may think arts and culture has little impact on their daily lives.  But if we lose organisations, we all lose, for example:
– the companies that provide music education for every child in local authority schools (funded by the Department for Education at less than £9 per child per year)
– companies that provide life-enriching and wellbeing activities for children and adults in hospitals, dementia and stroke support networks
– the musicians who record the soundtracks of blockbuster films and video games here in the UK
– the talent pipeline that enables the UK to lead on the global stage, and project its soft power through events such as the Opening Ceremonies of Olympic and Commonwealth Games

As a member and affiliates of Culture Central, we continue to work together to advocate for the vital work taking place across Birmingham’s cultural sector. We call for creative solutions towards continued investment in the arts, and commit to collaborating with the council on a clear strategy to secure a bright future for our city.

Lots of people have asked us, “how can we help?” Here are some ideas:

– Book tickets for concerts, maybe you could come to one more concert?
– Bring friends with you, or buy tickets as gifts
– Help introduce Ex Cathedra to those within your networks by sharing our work on social media – look out for the #CultureMatters campaign taking place between 27 February and 06 March 2024
– Consider supporting us as an Angel