Royal Docks to be London’s £5bn new cultural quarter

Royal Docks to be London’s £5bn new cultural quarter

The mayors of London and Newham have declared the Royal Docks a new cultural quarter for the capital that could generate £5bn in investment over the next 20 years, as a new festival, Royal Docks Originals, opens.

TAITMAIL   Wars of empire as real people saw them

TAITMAIL Wars of empire as real people saw them

TOTAL WAR! the didactic shouts at the start of the Imperial War Museum’s new permanent exhibition: the concept realised for the first time with the Second World War that non-combatants as well as combatants were considered legitimate targets.

Lost Tiepolo drawing turns up in Sitwells’ attic

Lost Tiepolo drawing turns up in Sitwells’ attic

An exquisite drawing by Tiepolo, one of the masters of Venice’s 18th century golden age, has been found in an attic, covered in bubble-wrap.

Anne Seymour Damer: the forgotten ‘female genius’

Anne Seymour Damer: the forgotten ‘female genius’

Horace Walpole described the sculptor Anne Seymour Damer as “a female genius”, yet her work is barely known now, almost 200 years after her death.

Rail boost for regional theatres

Rail boost for regional theatres

A railway company has teamed up with a group of regional theatres to boost their audiences following the Covid emergency.

Tiny Alnwick museum is UK's most friendly

Tiny Alnwick museum is UK's most friendly

The tiny Bailffgate Museum & Gallery in Alnwick, Northumberland, is the winner of this year’s Family Friendly Museum Award.

Cornwall and Durham longlisted for City of Culture 2025

Cornwall and Durham longlisted for City of Culture 2025

The government has announced the eight cities and conurbations that will vie to be City of Culture 2025, in succession to Coventry this year.

GOOD PRACTICE GUIDE    Borough culture power versus Covid

GOOD PRACTICE GUIDE Borough culture power versus Covid

In 2019 Waltham Forest was the first of mayor Sadiq Khan’s London Boroughs of Culture. Lorna Lee, assistant director of culture at Waltham Forest Council, shows how the structure built then helped its communities through the pandemic

Ex-director quits Science Museum board over sponsorship

Ex-director quits Science Museum board over sponsorship

Chris Rapley, the former director of the Science Museum, has resigned from its advisory board in the escalating row over its sponsorship by Shell.

£1m to give the world new British films

£1m to give the world new British films

The UK Global Screen Fund is to give £1m to help 18 new productions to get international showings.

MIMA offers first curating apprenticeship degrees

MIMA offers first curating apprenticeship degrees

In a ground-breaking move for careers in museums and galleries Middlesbrough’s MIMA School of Art and Design is offering the UK’s first combined masters and higher degree apprenticeship (HAD) in curating.

New £2m fund to help museums make ‘miracles on a shoestring’

New £2m fund to help museums make ‘miracles on a shoestring’

Art Fund today announces the first round of a new £2m grant stream, Reimagine, to enable museums, galleries and historic houses to connect with their communities better.

THE ART OF PHOTOJOURNALISM Image of the month

THE ART OF PHOTOJOURNALISM Image of the month

Into the Twilight Zone, 6.45pm, 25th September 2018, by Roger Jackson

Alan Sparrow with an image of St Paul’s and the City a sunset

Museum of Childhood’s £13m transformation – to Young V&A

Museum of Childhood’s £13m transformation – to Young V&A

Work has begun on the £13m transformation of the V&A’s Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, East London. It is due to reopen in 2023.

UK arts councils combine for international fund

UK arts councils combine for international fund

The four nations’ arts councils have collaborated on a new fund to encourage international partnerships on arts projects.

Double sculpture makes Shard London’s international meeting point

Double sculpture makes Shard London’s international meeting point

A new public sculpture by the Spanish artist Jaume Plensa that celebrates both internationalism and diversity has been unveiled at the point where the Shard, London’s tallest building, meets London Bridge Station.

Fund opens for ‘arts for social change’ projects

Fund opens for ‘arts for social change’ projects

Two charities have combined to cdevise a fund that supports arts collaborations for social change.

Courtauld reopens in November after £57m make-over

Courtauld reopens in November after £57m make-over

The Courtauld Gallery is to reopen in November after three years’ closure following its £57m modernisation, the most significant in its history.

Abigail Morris to head Mountview

Abigail Morris to head Mountview

Abigail Morris, the former director of the Jewish Museum and before that of Soho Theatre, is to be the new CEO of the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.

Cameron gets his own ‘Mack’ - in Peckham

Cameron gets his own ‘Mack’ - in Peckham

The Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts is to name its new theatre “The Mack” after its supporter, the West End producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh, who has given £1m towards the new building.

Himid wins Government Art Collection commission

Himid wins Government Art Collection commission

Lubaina Himid has won the Government Art Collection’s annual commission, with the result unveiled today.  

Ex-arts minister Gowrie dies aged 81

Ex-arts minister Gowrie dies aged 81

The Earl of Gowrie, arts minister under Margaret Thatcher and later chairman of the Arts Council, has died aged 81 after a long illness.

Robot painting a first for RA's Summer Exhibition

Robot painting a first for RA's Summer Exhibition

A portrait of the artist Yinka Shonibare is the first robot painting to be selected for the Royal Academy’s annual showcase of contemporary talent, the Summer Exhibition.

Tate’s Clarrie Wallis to head Turner Contemporary

Tate’s Clarrie Wallis to head Turner Contemporary

Clarrie Wallis, Tate’s senior curator of British contemporary art, is to be the new director of Turner Contemporary at Margate, succeeding Victoria Pomery who has left to be the director of The Box in Plymouth.

Thanks, Jude

Jude Kelly has been artistic director at the Southbank for 12 years. It seems so much longer, not because her tenure has been a yawn-making bore, the very opposite. Hard to imagine the place without her.


She’s standing down just a few months after the Southbank’s new CEO took over, another woman, in order to be with many other women in making the Women of the World festival, WOW, that she invented for the Southbank in 2010 into a global event.
 
Her tenure has not been without controversy, and not everyone is a fan. There were the summer musicals she tried to get going, at which some sneered that she was merely trying to revive her directing career. Actually, she wanted to fill the Festival Hall in the notoriously hard summer months, turned to what she knew, it didn’t work, and moved on. And that slightly awkward moment when her press office tried to plant a fake blog heaping praise on one of those shows when everyone else had been slagging it off. Embarrassing, but a betrayal of enthusiasm rather than slyness.
 
And there was the wretched skatepark. The centre had been designed with an undercroft with no determined purpose, which became inhabited – squatted you might say - by skateboarders. She and her boss Alan Bishop wanted a “Festival Wing”, a new vision for the Hayward, QEH and Purcell Rooms, which would incorporate a glass box of a rehearsal centre where passers-by could watch the evolution of art. The underdcroft would have incorporated a retail development that was a key part of the funding equation. But though they were offered a brand new purpose built place nearby, the skateboarders wouldn’t have it, mounting a pretty nasty online campaign (one of them rang me up after I'd written about it to say that what I wrote was ”crap”, and then unable to think of anything else to say hung up). They won the day when Boris Johnson, the mayor, put his wetted finger in the air and dished the scheme he had already given approval for. Kelly had to rethink the whole thing, scaled down, and she will open it in May before she leaves.
 
What Jude Kelly has done for the Southbank is to make it a real arts centre, where art happens and is seen to happen, rather than the municipal gesture to predictable community creative activity it was for most of its life. She came just before the £91m refurbishment of the Royal Festival Hall was completed which Michael Lynch had been brought in to get done, and the new limelight gave her an arena to bring the word festival back to the place.
 
She got Antony Gormley to people the buildings with his sinister figures, standing eerily to attention on the skyline around this hive of creativity. She brought markets into the Belvedere Road forecourt, a beach to the riverside in the summer and Christmas markets in the winter, made the resident orchestras play outside, brought dance to the RFH, made gardens out of the cold, grey walkways. She was a significantly powerful agent for bringing female creatives on, getting them on her staff, and even giving them an annual festival, and she didn’t need to wait for the egregious behaviour of showbiz men to give her permission to make the case for women in the arts.
 
None of that takes into account the vital role she played in bringing the Olympics to London in 2012, insisting on the arts being at the heart of the bid and then, unaccountably, being sidelined when Tony Hall and Ruth Mackenzie took hold of the Cultural Olympiad. Or her career running the West Yorkshire Playhouse, or as a director, or as the founder of Metal, the grassroots creative co-operative that is bringing the Thames Estuary to life. Or her generosity and kindness.
 
She didn’t get everything right, but a lot of what she did was. And she made the Southbank Centre sing for the first time. 

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