BCU £500K boost for Birmingham arts

Birmingham City University has picked up £500,000 to help boost Birmingham and Solihull’s cultural and creative economy

In partnership with Eastside Projects, the funds will support the University’s STEAMHouse project, which links the expertise of its Arts, Design and Media academics with specific challenges facing Health, Low Carbon and Manufacturing businesses across the West Midlands 

The money comes from the Arts Council’s Creative Local Growth Fund, with Birmingham City University being one of nine organisations in England to be awarded funding.

STEAMHouse will bring together academics, creative entrepreneurs, politicians and researchers to provide innovative business support for 270 creative enterprises, generating new research opportunities and piloting Birmingham Production Space‘s workshops and ‘making space’.

STEAMHouse builds on a growing acceptance of the need to add ‘Arts’ to the longstanding concept of ‘STEM’ subjects – Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths – ensuring that the needs of the creative economy are more closely aligned to scientific and technological developments.

Professor Julian Beer, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research, Enterprise and Business Engagement, Birmingham City University said: “This Arts Council grant is incredibly welcome funding to support the development of our STEAMHouse project, which will put Birmingham City University at the centre of Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP’s strategic plans to stimulate collaborative innovation.

“STEAMHouse will link the flourishing creative economy across the West Midlands with the needs of local authorities and businesses, providing arts-driven solutions to real-life problems and bringing academic and research expertise out of the shadows into the world of commerce.

“Hundreds of small and medium sized creative businesses in the region are already showing the UK economy the way forward but with the support of STEAMHouse in developing new forms of production, they will be able to thrive more than ever.”

STEAMHouse will link the flourishing creative economy across the West Midlands with the needs of local authorities and businesses

Through STEAMHouse, Birmingham City University and Eastside Projects will establish links with local innovation and arts facilities.

The aim is to create a network of organisations across the city focused on cultural, commercial and socially useful production.

Launched in July 2015 the Creative Local Growth Fund aims to support arts and cultural organisations working with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and key strategic bodies to contribute to local economic growth.

The fund will lever in more than £8.4m from the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund in 2016-19, as well as £6.5m from other sources.

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