Plymouth Culture


Plymouth Culture is a strategic agency which supports cultural developments in Plymouth. We focus on a really enabling approach, helping to support the skills and ambition of Plymouth’s cultural sector. This means that we operate in a broad-ranging and flexible way – here’s a little about what we’re working on up until 2018. 

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Nuturing Talent

We help nurture creative talent in Plymouth through schemes such as apprenticeships, internships and supporting incubation space for creative practitioners. We also advise on funding applications for cultural projects, help with workshops on professional skills for creatives and (most importantly) take the time to sit down with people and understand what they are trying to achieve.

Community Development

Helping more Plymothians to engage with arts and culture is one of our core priorities – we support the Vital Sparks community art bursary programme and help support projects which involve more people with the arts. This is also one of the reasons Arts Council England funds us – arts and culture benefits mental health, social cohesion and wellbeing. We want as many people as possible to benefit from this! Plymouth Culture supports and provides funding to Plymouth’s Culture and Arts Network to support Plymouth’s wider arts community.

Major Projects

With events such as Mayflower 400 on the horizon, Plymouth has some major cultural projects to develop. We are helping to advise on Mayflower 400 as well as supporting other projects such as the Plymouth Art Weekender and the development of an international public art festival. Plymouth Culture was part of the bid writing team for the £4 million successful application to Arts Council England on behalf of Plymouth History Centre.

International Development

Plymouth Culture is helping to facilitate more creative projects working with cities and organisations in Europe and beyond. We’re sure that this will open up interesting opportunities for arts and culture organisations, as well as broadening Plymouth’s international appeal and connections. Our very own Heather Sabel is currently working with arts, public sector and educational organisations in the city, South West region and Europe on three EU funding applications for 2016.

The vision behind all of this is for Plymouth to become an internationally connected, vibrant, creative city. We see Plymouth hosting major international events such as Mayflower 400 and world-class art events. We want people to enjoy living and working here, with a huge variety of creative activity making Plymouth a really exciting place to be.

Plymouth Culture is an independent and neutral organisation funded by Arts Council England (73%) and Plymouth City Council (27%), and we’re hosted by Plymouth University. We exist to support the development of Plymouth’s arts and culture scene until our city becomes a truly world-class, creative destination and place to live. You can see where our programme funds of £399,374 for 2015-18 are spent in the diagram on the right.

Since October 2014, Plymouth Culture has directly helped to support a number of Plymouth’s creative projects including the Plymouth Art Weekender, Outpost pop-up theatre festival, the Plymouth Fringe Festival, Illuminate 2014 and 2015 celebrations, the commissioning of new Public and Visual Arts plans, a £4 million funding application for the Plymouth History Centre, Made In Plymouth magazine and website, the Plymouth Plan, Artory (the cultural guide to Plymouth), Beyond Face theatre company, the River Tamar Project, Toast theatre company, Plymouth International Book Festival, Vital Sparks community arts bursary programme, Mayflower 400 planning, and Native Makers. Since Dom Jinks became Director of Plymouth Culture in June 2014, there has been a 137% increase in successful funding from Grants to the Arts given to arts projects in the city. It’s exciting to be part of Plymouth’s cultural resurgence and we aim to build on this momentum to become a vibrant, creative, international city.

“Plymouth Culture is having a major impact in developing the confidence and ambition of artists and arts organisations in the city. They are also revolutionising the way the sector works together to act on a common vision for the future and bring more resources in to meet the challenges of 2020 and beyond. This work is slowly building the strong cultural platform that will be the beating heart of our vibrant 21st century waterfront city.”

Sheila Snellgrove, CEO Barbican Theatre

Plymouth Culture programme fund spending for 2015-18

Dom Jinks delivering a workshop on Grants for the Arts funding (credit Fiona Evans)

Illuminate 2015 projections funded by Plymouth Culture

Plymouth Art Weekender supported by Plymouth Culture (credit Dom Moore)

The team at Plymouth Culture (Dom, Heather and Joe) are always busy, but we have some major developments coming up over the next few months. These include a bid to the Europe for Citizens EU programme with the Barbican Theatre and Beyond Face’s Alix Harris which will explore the issues of European identity, Euroscepticism, Participative Democracy and Migration. Our European partners (still to be finalised) will be from three of these four countries: the Republic of Macedonia France, Greece and Spain. We are also launching a new Plymouth Culture website which will include a large online resource section to help creative people and organisations with skills such as creating funding applications, marketing and business skills. Dom Jinks will be taking a creative team from Plymouth’s arts organisations to Boston, USA, to discuss and plan cultural projects for the Mayflower 400 celebrations. Alongside this, we are working with Plymouth charity LiteratureWorks on a new poet laureate competition, on plans for the next Plymouth Art Weekender, the launch of the new Visual and Public Art Plans, a refresh of the city’s cultural plan, public art projects, a Cultural Education Partnership with Real ideas Organisation (which will help young people to have an influence on the city’s cultural direction), an apprenticeship scheme with the Prince’s Trust called Get Into and celebration plans for Illuminate 2016. Phew!

Joe Meldrum, Plymouth Culture’s Communications Officer, says; “I think some of the best parts of my role are helping small arts projects and ideas get up and running. We are always really happy to help advise and support creative projects happening in the city and region and it’s wonderful to see some of these (such as Native Makers, and Beyond Face) flourishing in Plymouth.”

Vital Sparks is an arts bursary programme run by Fiona Evans. We’re really proud to support this great project (in partnership with Plymouth City Council) which allows communities and individuals to apply for funding for cultural ideas. In Other Words (find out more on page 20) is a brilliant example of one of the amazing projects Vital Sparks helps happen.
If you are looking for help with an arts-based project in Plymouth and the surrounding area, please get in touch with us. We always take time to listen to your ideas and to offer the best advice and support we can to make them happen.

Holi Festival in Moor View Park supported by Vital Sparks

“As a visual arts organisation, Plymouth Culture is now one of our first points of contact to discuss cultural ideas and agenda. They have generated a confidence within the city that is key to the developments of Plymouth’s wider cultural sector ambitions, projects and collaborative events. They are not only approachable, but there is a real intension to support, influence and drive the ambitions and identity of Plymouth; bringing a confidence to not only the more established cultural organisations, but also the independent artist, groups and organisations within the city.”

Gabi Marcellus-Temple, Director of Flameworks

“Plymouth Culture wishes not only to support and celebrate work within the city, but to champion it beyond our city boundaries. Through working with partners at all levels to develop national and international relationships it is doing so successfully – and organisations such as Toast stand alongside our city’s more established organisations in supporting this cause. Continued support of and investment in the work of Plymouth Culture helps this city from the grassroots up, and help Plymouth establish itself as a celebrated city of culture.”

Dan Baker, Producer and Founder, Toast