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23 March 2022

Recipients announced for the £150,000 Award for Civic Arts Organisations 2022

The Art House, In Place of War CIO and Project Art Works are the recipients of the 2022 Award for Civic Arts Organisations

A colourful graphic with text overlayed reading The Award for Civic Arts Organisations 2022

Wakefield’s The Art House has been awarded £100,000 while Salford-based In Place of War and Project Art Works in Hastings each receive £25,000.

All three organisations were chosen from over 200 high-quality applications from all across the UK for their outstanding capacity to adapt to the pandemic and for how they have all deepened their commitment to their communities over the past two years.

The Art House (Wakefield)

The Art House has created the first Studio of Sanctuary for asylum seekers and refugees in the UK. Their Makey Wakey programme has provided free interim spaces to artists and creative businesses. This has contributed to bringing down the barriers between their creative programme and their community work. The Art House continues to look after artists and community groups by embedding the learning from the last two years and responding dynamically to the changing needs of its communities. The panel commended The Art House for their agility in responding to the needs of their local community and putting co-creation at the centre of their work.

In Place of War (Salford)

In Place of War enables change-makers to work in conflict zones across the world, inspiring hope and developing skills and creativity. During the pandemic they have worked with 12 grassroots community organisations in the UK to find 100 Agents of Change. The project has involved refugees, asylum seekers, people living in poverty and LGBTQI+ communities and resulted in 100 young people connecting with artists and activists around the world to share their experiences, skills and knowledge. The panel was impressed by In Place of War’s ability to bring their experience of working in the Global South to the UK, addressing the issues of asylum and conflict.

Project Art Works (Hastings)

Project Art Works is a collective of neurodivergent artists and activists. Throughout the pandemic, they reimagined how they wanted to engage with their community and how best to help those with complex support needs. They created a digital platform for their communities to participate in creative work from their homes, using tools such as letters, video conferencing and the exchanging of objects to maintain the important connection they had with the organisation. During this period, Project Art Works was shortlisted for the Turner Prize. Project Art Works was commended for championing diversity and providing a platform for people and issues that are often ignored or insufficiently recognised in society and the arts sector.

Students from the Department of Culture, Media & Creative Industries in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities at King’s researched how the ten shortlisted organisations reinforced their civic role using new models.

Catch-up on the Award celebration and hear from the students what impressed them most:

Through the Award we aim to spotlight the transformational power of art for individual and societal change and provide a lever for organisations to scale their civic role work. We hope that reading about this year’s recipients – and how they have played a central role in their communities in the most innovative ways – provides inspiration for other organisations too. They provide fuel for hope and for a future in which the arts sector brings its visionary and healing magic to the business of reconnecting and shaping our world for the better.

Louisa Hooper, Interim Director of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch)

The recipients were chosen by a panel of judges chaired by Baroness Bull (Deborah Bull), Vice President (Communities & National Engagement) and Senior Advisory Fellow for Culture, King’s College London and consisting of: Sukhy Johal, Director of the Centre for Culture & Creativity, University of Lincoln, Chair, West Midlands Arts Council, Trustee, Arts Council; Amanda Parker, Founder and Chief Executive, Inc Arts; Briana Pegado, Co-Director, We Are Here Scotland; Isabelle Schwarz, Head of Public Policy, European Cultural Foundation; Devinda de Silva, Head of Collaboration, National Theatre of Wales; and Mark Williams, CEO and Artistic Director, Heart n Soul (main recipient of the 2021 Award).

The applicants to this year’s Award exemplify the creativity, flexibility and resilience that arts organisations across the UK have demonstrated in response to the challenges of the pandemic years. Our recipients rose above a crowded field because of their evidenced commitment to their civic role: to championing diverse voices, to developing skills and creativity, to co-creation and to dissolving the barriers between the practice of art and the impact it has for communities and society.

Baroness Deborah Bull, Vice President (Communities & National Engagement) and Senior Advisory Fellow for Culture at King’s College London

The Award is funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch), with King’s College London as the academic partner to deliver the Award. 

Read the Award Publication

Read the Award publication here

This publication celebrates the people, organisations and stories behind the second Award for Civic Arts Organisations, an initiative from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch) and King’s College London. It profiles the ten organisations shortlisted for the Award through a series of case studies written and researched by postgraduate students at King’s College London. It also features reflections from the independent judging panel, an article on the broader civic arts movement, and infographics on this year’s applicants – including what they do, where they’re based, their size and impact of the pandemic on their work.