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We are a creative region, and this is reflected in our rich heritage, diverse cultures and our entrepreneurial spirit. The WMCA area has one of the largest cultural sectors when compared to other combined authority areas across the country. Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games provide us with a great opportunity to showcase this nationally and internationally.

Arts, heritage and culture matter. They can help us to make sense of our lives, support our wellbeing, help us to understand others, as well as provide an opportunity to express our individual creativity. They are vital to skills development and can improve the attractiveness of our cities and towns, making residents feel better about the places they live and work in.  

They also matter in economic terms. The economic footprint of our cultural sector (excluding film, television and wider creative industries) is £1.1 billion. It is estimated that the sector directly supports over 24,000 jobs, with further 22,700 jobs supported indirectly. A total of 28 million tourism visits to the WMCA area are attributable to culture – generating £2.8 billion of visitor expenditure. 

The role of WMCA is to be an enabler and influencer to ensure our arts & cultural sector can thrive. We do this through:

  • our WMCA Cultural Leadership Board advising us on our work
  • our WMCA Cultural Officers Group bringing together our Local Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP’s)
  • ensuring the wider benefits of arts, culture and heritage are embedded across other WMCA policy areas such as Housing & Land, Public Service Reform and Skills
  • advocating for projects that bring wider benefits to our region
  • enabling research and innovation within the sector
  • advocating for our arts & cultural sector nationally and internationally

Examples of our work

We do not issue grant funding for cultural initiatives, outside of projects that meet the criteria for funds held by other WMCA Directorates (e.g. Adult Education Budget or Housing & Regeneration Funds). If you have a project idea, we recommend contacting relevant cultural sector funders such as Local Authorities, Arts Council England or the National Lottery Heritage Fund.