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Greater Manchester arts organisations launch new fund for region’s artists

GM Artist Hub today opens a new fund to support independent performing artists in Greater Manchester.

GM Artist Hub was formed by 13 leading arts organisations across Greater Manchester to help independent artists access support, advice and opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Originate Fund will offer new co-commissions for new performance works to be created in 2021. There will be three awards of £5,000 on offer to support artists to create new work to share with audiences next summer.

The fund will accept expressions of interest until Sunday 10 January 2021.
Since its launch the GM Artist Hub has spoken to hundreds of creative freelancers about their needs and challenges during the pandemic.

Through this, artists have highlighted the importance of funding that allows them to develop new work on their own terms, with support from partners who can help bring that work to audiences.

Claire Symonds, senior producer for artist development at The Lowry, said: “The Originate Fund is for performance makers in Greater Manchester to make new work for live audiences in 2021. Each commission is underpinned by a partnership between a number of different Greater Manchester organisations, who will work together to support these artists as they develop new work for local audiences. The Lowry is very glad to be part of this new collaboration.”

Tamsin Drury, director of hAb, said: “GM Artist Hub is a unique collaboration between a group of very different organisations and, looking to the future trials a new model for joined up thinking and working across the City Region. Originate offers artists not only financial support but access to skills and resources from across that whole partnership.”

Punam Ramchurn, talent development manager at Manchester International Festival, said: “It’s really important that we continue to look after artists during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the climate of constantly changing circumstances, GM Artist Hub offers essential support for many local artists and creatives.”

Since its formation in April 2020 GM Artist Hub has offered around 350 private advice sessions to local artists and a number of larger opportunities for artists to learn about specific funding streams and connect with chief executives and artistic directors across the region. It has also delivered two other funds to date: the Revive Fund, offering hardship bursaries to excluded freelancers, and the Reboot Fund, offering funding and training to early career artists.

GM Artist Hub’s funds have been made possible with thanks to a £60,000 grant from Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

Participating venues and arts organisations are: Community Arts North West, Contact, HOME, The Lowry, Manchester International Festival, Octagon Theatre Bolton, Oldham Coliseum Theatre, Royal Exchange Theatre, SICK! Festival, STUN (Sustained Theatre Up North), Waterside Arts and Creative Industries Trafford, hÅb/Word of Warning and Z-arts.

Further opportunities will be announced in due course.

For more information about GM Artist Hub and the Originate Fund, visit: