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Digital arts placemaking in the heart of Stockport

Stockport Council is being awarded a grant of £2.63m by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports, delivered by Arts Council England as part of the £24m Cultural Development Fund which aims to bring wider access to arts and culture, and boost economic growth.

Led by Stockport Council and MadLab, “Stockport Creative Campus” is a three-year town centre reinvigoration programme – transforming Stockport’s heritage-rich historic centre into a sustainable, world-leading digital arts neighbourhood. This transformation includes:

  • Creative Campus. A tightly knit cluster of production, community engagement, and public-facing inspiration spaces located in Stockport’s Old Town. Providing the physical infrastructure and specialist resources needed to grow the next generation of creative and digital businesses.
  • Campus Talent. A place-based, hands-on, industry-oriented leadership and training programme from IN4 Group, MadLab, and Manchester Metropolitan University. Tapping into undiscovered talent from across Stockport; raising confidence, skills, and aspirations; building up the next generation of engineers, artists, and entrepreneurs.
  • Creative Placemaking. A wide-ranging programme of public-facing digital arts activities. From site-specific commissions and family-friendly workshops to large-scale events, delivered in partnership with creative pioneers FutureEverything.

Cllr Elise Wilson, Leader of Stockport Council said:

“This is fantastic news and this award will complement all the great work already taking place in the town centre, as well as giving a real boost to the local economy, which will benefit residents and future generations for years to come.

“It will help to ensure that our creative industries here in Stockport are well supported and will give us a fantastic opportunity to strengthen our offer to the creative sector. Improving digital skills is one of the council’s key priorities, arming residents with the tools they need to secure jobs and improve their employability.

“As well as this, our projects will repurpose a number of buildings in the town centre and will create an ‘ecosystem’ of creative businesses, attracting more people to Stockport and creating a thriving, creative community. I look forward to working with MMU and MadLab to take this forward.”      

Professor Martyn Evans, Pro-Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Manchester Metropolitan University said:

“The creative industries are already an essential part of the regional economy and the university is delighted to be part of an initiative that will boost creativity and entrepreneurial activity in Stockport.  This is an opportunity to extend the university's Design Factory initiative to deliver the skills that citizens of Stockport will require if they want to develop a career in the creative sector, and also opens up opportunities to work with more established businesses on innovative research and knowledge exchange activities.”

Rachael Turner and Asa Calow at MadLab said:

“It is fantastic to see this become a reality, after a huge effort by so many people over such a long time –  from our super-engaged partners in Stockport Council through to the businesses, organisations, communities, and individuals which have channelled their energy into making this happen.

We’re now looking forward to what comes next: working to build a shared, inclusive vision for Stockport’s digital and creative sectors which draws on the talent and enthusiasm of all involved, from tech-curious residents and aspiring artists through to impact-obsessed social entrepreneurs and industry veterans.”

Arts Minister Lord Parkinson, said:

“Culture is the bedrock of society. It brings people together, entertains and informs us, and helps us to understand our common past and shared future.

“Today we are announcing a raft of new funding for treasured cultural institutions up and down the country.

“This will help them to continue their great work, advance our work to level up access to arts and culture so they can be enjoyed by people no matter where they live, and protect these cherished institutions for future generations to enjoy.”

Darren Henley, Chief Executive Officer, Arts Council England, said:

“Our artists, arts organisations, museums and libraries are experts in making villages, towns and cities better places to live, work, visit or play. This investment means they’ll be able to help more people across England to lead happier, more creative lives”.

The Cultural Investment Fund will see £48 million distributed to 63 organisations. It is allocated through three streams: £24 million through the Cultural Development Fund, £18.8 million through the Museums Estate and Development Fund, and £5 million through the Libraries Improvement Fund. The announcement follows a concerted effort by the government to support the country’s vital cultural organisations.


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