Cultural Investment Fund

Financial support for creatives and cultural organisations, who want to create cultural initiatives, test new ideas and develop concepts


The Cultural Investment Fund was designed to support the investigation of new ideas where the learning can be shared and embedded across the sector in Plymouth for long term, scalable impact.

Applications have now closed, and we have announced the projects that have been selected for investment.

We were delighted to receive 37 applications to the Cultural Investment Fund from creatives and cultural partnerships across Plymouth and representing a wide range of art form

Following a rigorous shortlisting and selection panel process we are pleased to announce investment into five projects and one collaborative initiative.

The selected portfolio of projects represents a future facing sector and city.

They provide an opportunity to challenge our strategic thinking around leadership, audience engagement in digital and physical spaces, community empowerment, diversity of voice and the role of art in social change.

Amongst the five selected proposals we have the chance to investigate and test new models that tackle the questions of how we achieve better and more engaged audience reach; how we create an openness that brings new voices to the sector; how the social and environmental change agenda can be integrated with culture; how we create the support structures to uncover leadership at all levels and how we rethinking the use of spaces and places through culture for social benefit.

The fund received a significant number of applications related to the establishment, development and maintenance of cultural networks.

We recognise this to be a strategic challenge for the city, that requires a conversation about how we create an infrastructure in Plymouth that supports the development and growth of networks but in a fair, sustainable and connected way.

Therefore, the panel has taken the decision to allocate some of the funding to facilitate a city wide, strategic conversation about creative networks and how we move forward as a city.

This fund will be used to facilitate a series of conversations with all network applicants which will lead to the development of an agreed action plan. It is our hope that this more collaborative approach will help us achieve a sustainable structure for all.

Little magical experiments

Above Bounds Theatre Collective

Awarded: £7000

Little Magical Experiments will examine how you create a magical experience for families in this changing world, enabling young people who have been isolated as a result of Covid-19 to engage in culture where they live. It will host theatrical experiments, combining in-person ‘live’ puppet encounters, with digital online sessions.

Having Young people at the heart of its planning and processes, the project wants to: learn how if live encounters can lead to sustained engagement online, be opened to respond and incorporate young people’s ideas in curation and encourage artists and companies in Plymouth to consider how a creative offer for families is built into core programming.

Moths to a flame

Art & Energy CIC

Awarded: £10,000

Moths to a flame aims to empower Plymouth communities to take positive action in a world where we are increasingly anxious and overwhelmed by issues such as climate change.

By getting hands-on with energy, the initiative will creatively generate conversations around our energy systems. The projects methodology provides a structure for engaging communities at the grassroots level in conversation and action around social change. The use of art as a mechanism for creating social change will be central to this exploration.

Now’s Their Time

Ciara Eastell Consulting

Awarded: £5,000

This project responds to this particular moment in Plymouth: the emergent leadership within organisations and communities and the need to support and enable that leadership to flourish. The project will explore the need for and design of a leadership programme that offers a more radical approach to collaboration, leadership and innovation across the city. The focus will be on identifying and supporting new voices to find their leadership voice in the sector and the city.   

Spaces to speak

Lorna Rose

In partnership with Talking on Corners

Awarded: £7,980

Spaces to Speak will focus upon the visibility of Black (African, Caribbean, Asian) creatives within Plymouth’s cultural sector. The project has two interwoven strands and aims:

  • To help raise the profile of Black creativity and voices in Plymouth
  • To start dialogues working to improve relationships between Black creatives and arts organisations

Through this Research & Development phase, the project will undertake conversations with individual creatives and organisations to unfold personal and professional narratives.  This knowledge will be shared in creative ways with the community and cultural organisations. The project will adopt a listening approach, and harness the knowledge learned to create an archive for longer term learning.

Vacancy Atlas

Vacancy Atlas

Awarded: £8,900

Vacancy Atlas aims to unlock spaces and places across the city for social entrepreneurs, trailblazers, creatives and the community. The project wants to explore sustainable and creative uses for vacant, derelict, disused and forgotten spaces that fill the city, encouraging new meaningful connections and bringing about change from the bottom up; for the community, by the community.

Network strategic development

Allocated: £3000

The Cultural Investment Fund partnership will bring together the network proposals and other networks in Plymouth for a strategic conversation about a city platform, network sustainability and NPO support/connection. The fund will allow facilitated conversations to develop a consensus and action plan which will feed into Plymouth’s cultural strategy.

The Cultural Investment Fund is a collaborative initiative designed and delivered by Plymouth Culture, Theatre Royal Plymouth, The Box, Real Ideas Organisation, Barbican Theatre Plymouth, Literature Works, KARST and Take a Part. The initiative is supported in part by Arts Council England National Portfolio investment direct from Government to support the sector.