Greater Manchester will receive almost £107m from 2018 to 2022, a 90% increase

Arts Council England has announced that 230 northern organisations will be included in its National Portfolio from 2018 to 2022. 

Steering the focus away from London, the North will be granted with over £414 million worth of investment through Grant in Aid and National Lottery, amounting to an extra £21m per year: a triumph for Greater Manchester, which will receive a total £106,987,888, an impressive 90% increase. 

Music institution Band on the Wall has cemented four years worth of core funding, under charity Inner City Music Limited. And Manchester Jazz Festival, recently announced as a PRSF Talent Development Partner for 2017, gets £602,088 to support its plans to develop additional year-round work outside of the summer festival. 

The Factory - set to be the North’s flagship cultural venue when it opens in 2019 - has been awarded with £9 million via Manchester International Festival (who will call it home) while £730k has been reserved for the continuation of the biennial festival: allowing audiences the opportunity to enjoy dance, theatre, music, opera and visual arts in a new world-class facility. 

The Factory 2
The £110m Factory arts centre will be designed by acclaimed architect Rem Koolhass's OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture)

Jane Beardsworth, Arts Council North Director, said: “Greater Manchester is a really exciting place to be for arts and culture just now and shows that world class culture is available right here - something that will be enhanced even further with the development of The Factory. We’re delighted to be able to support such an excellent range of arts and cultural organisations across the city region.” 

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, added: "Factory is going to change lives as well as the cultural landscape - not just here in Manchester but nationally and internationally. 

"The economic benefits to the city and wider region are huge.  The impact it will have on arts education and the development of creative and technical talent is significant. And the range, scope, and scale of cultural opportunities it will provide for audiences from far and wide to come to the city and enjoy in this transformative and unique space will be unrivalled. 

"Factory is, without doubt, what the arts world and Manchester has been waiting for."

170630 Peoples History
The People’s History Museum is a newcomer to the Arts Council national portfolio

Arguably the most noteworthy change, however, is the welcoming of several newcomers into the portfolio; including Venture Arts, which works with disabled visual artists, and Global Grooves in Tameside, previously funded through the Elevate programme. The People’s History, the national museum of democracy - which boasts an outstanding collection on the history of working-class England - has rightly been recognised too.  

Whilst the announcements herald cuts for some of the capital’s big dogs (the National Theatre, Southbank Centre and Royal Opera House have all seen 3-4% reductions in funding), it’s a promising development for the North, which for too long has been given less priority. If the North is indeed going to going to be a cultural counterbalance to London, such change is necessary.   

Sarah Maxfield, North Area Director, Arts Council England said: “Our new portfolio in the North will reach more people in more places. Culture has a role to play in all our communities from the major cities to the North’s most rural areas:  it brings us together, provides joy and solace, builds a sense of identity and contributes to our economy too. 

“I’m delighted that we have the opportunity to support such a range of excellent cultural organisations delivering to audiences and participants across the North. Our increased investment will mean that these organisations will be able to deliver great arts and cultural experiences for audiences and participants across the whole area.” 

The full list of organisations in Greater Manchester, which will be part of the Art Council England’s national portfolio in 2018-22, is as follows. Those new to the portfolio are in bold: 

Abandon Normal Devices

Carcanet Press Limited

Castlefield Gallery

Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art

Comma Press

Commonword Enterprises Limited

Community Arts North West

Company Chameleon

Future Everything CIC

Global Grooves

Greater Manchester Arts Centre Ltd (HOME)


Halle Concerts Society

Inner City Music Ltd (Band on the Wall)

Loud In Libraries CIC

M6 Theatre Company Limited

Manchester Camerata Limited

Manchester City Galleries

Manchester Craft And Design

Manchester Jazz Festival

Manchester Jewish Museum

Manchester Literature Festival

Manchester Young People's Theatre (Contact)

Manchester International Festival

Oldham Coliseum Theatre

People's History Museum


Psappha Limited


Redeye (North West Photography Network) Ltd

Royal Exchange Theatre Company Ltd

RTYDS Ltd (Regional Theatre Young Directors Scheme)

SICK! Productions

The Audience Agency

The Lowry Centre Trust

The Met

The Octagon Theatre Trust

The Writing Squad

Venture Arts

Walk The Plank

Without Walls