Mayflower 400 Southampton

Arts Council England funding awarded to Mayflower 400 programme

8 Jan 2020

Arts Council England has granted Southampton City Council a £269,000 National Lottery Project Grant to fund a series of artistic projects and commissions to support the Mayflower 400 Anniversary programme in 2020.

Southampton’s Mayflower 400 cultural programme will use the anniversary as an opportunity to reconnect communities to our maritime past and to tell stories of journeys, migration, identity and sanctuary; building empathy and greater cross-cultural understanding. Working with partners across the city, the grant will enable the development and delivery of ten projects, these will include a new music commission at Turner Sims; a community arts programme led by Solent University’s Showcase Gallery; two large-scale community dance projects, one led by Art Asia as part of the Southampton Mela and one by ZoieLogic Dance Theatre; a light-art project for Weston Shore and the city centre delivered in partnership with Audacious and Light Up Poole; a new outdoor work by Requardt & Rosenberg, commissioned by Stomping Ground & produced by The Place; and ‘A Mile in My Shoes’ delivered by The Empathy Museum. The programme will employ 92 creatives, include just under 7,000 participants and reach audiences of 37,000.

The grant is supported by £150,000 match funding from Southampton City Council who are leading the programme. The Council are also making investments into heritage projects during the year, including four exhibitions at City Art Gallery, SeaCity Museum and Tudor House Museum and Gardens and a renovation of the Mayflower Monument. This will include the addition of new plaques acknowledging the impact of the ship on Native American communities and celebrating Southampton’s global role in migration and transmigration. A decision is due on an application to National Lottery Heritage Fund in January 2020 to support a wider heritage programme.

Mayflower 400 builds on previous investment in the city’s cultural offer, and galvanising the city around the cultural ambition for Southampton. This Arts Council England investment, which triples previous project grant funding in the city, helps to bolster these ambitions, developing cultural skills and capacity and ensuring Mayflower 400 has a positive, lasting legacy for communities, artists and cultural organisations.

Caterina Loriggio, Mayflower 400 Anniversary Director, said: “We are delighted to have such a high level of support from Arts Council England. This investment will help us reach and inspire many people who, for a variety of reasons, do not usually get to engage with the city’s art programmes. We see the anniversary as an opportunity to work with communities to creatively explore self-identity, migration and transmigration, to celebrate the people of the world, such as the Mayflower passengers, who throughout history have come to, or through, Southampton in search of a new life, helping build our enviable reputation as Gateway to the World.”

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: “We are delighted to support Southampton deliver this cultural programme to commemorate the sailing of the Mayflower ship, 400 years ago. Thanks to the National Lottery, we are able to invest in important projects like this that help us to make sense of the world, bring communities together and allow more people to experience the benefits that cultural activity can bring.”

Councillor Kaur, Cabinet Member for Homes and Communities “Southampton has been at the forefront of many world-changing moments and we remain at the forefront of marine exploration and innovation. The Mayflower 400 commemorations in 2020 is the perfect time and place to showcase this, giving us the opportunity to share the incredible creativity of our cultural organisations and communities. We are thrilled to be working with Arts Council England on this major cultural programme. It will reach audiences and participants all across the city as well push our artistic aspirations and talents to new levels, ensuring we are truly ready for our City of Culture bid in 2021.”

Raymund McManus, Group Events Strategy Manager at Hammerson, said:Mayflower 400 is a fantastic initiative that will really bring Southampton’s history to life, and attract visitors from all over the region. Across our portfolio, we are committed to making our flagship destinations like Westquay as engaging and attractive for consumers as possible, and a key part of that is our events programme. Our incredible Festival of Light event in the spring will really tie in with the programme’s light-art project, and we’re also looking forward to welcoming A Mile In Your Shoes to the destination. We’re proud to be a part of Mayflower 400, and to doing a bit to highlight why Southampton is such a great city.”

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About Mayflower 400 Southampton

Southampton’s Mayflower 400 programme is being supported and delivered by cultural, corporate, public and community partners all across the City. The year will focus on the themes of journeys, migration, maritime heritage and innovation. It seeks to celebrate the City and those who live and work here, it will explore the stories of all the people of the world, including the Mayflower passengers, who have come to, or through, Southampton in search of a new life. Matching grassroots activity with major cultural projects, the City’s creativity and extraordinary maritime heritage will be showcased through a series of arts, heritage, learning and community programmes.

About the Arts Council England funded programme Southampton partners are seeking to use culture to deliver a step change for the city – boosting civic pride, identity and community cohesion; supporting social, health and wellbeing benefits; attracting inward investment; creating new jobs, skills and learning opportunities; boosting the visitor and wider economy; developing the creative industries and artistic talent; and long term, better alignment of resources and partnership working to benefit residents, visitors and businesses. Mayflower 400 is the first stage of delivering this cultural ambition. Southampton City Council will lead arts commissions and projects which work toward these transformative outcomes through:

Exploring the themes of self-identity and place, ZoieLogic will work with three of our most disadvantaged communities to create and perform new inclusive dance pieces.

In ‘A Mile in My Shoes’ visitors walk a mile in someone else’s shoes – literally, whilst listening to that person’s story. 10 new stories will be recorded for Southampton.

As part of a larger city-wide sailing, science, innovation and heritage event, the Mayflower 400 Anniversary Weekend provides a platform for showcasing and developing local and community artists – a pop-up poetry tent from the Artful Scribe, drumming workshops from African Activities, participative workshops delivered with local artists mentored by The New Carnival Company. Plus, a small street arts programme.

2020 exhibitions at Solent Showcase Gallery seek to challenge the perceptions of Islam, Muslim women and disability. Accompanying community collaboration and workshop pieces will be led by Dr Nazneen Ahmed and Abeer Kayani and focused on local BAME and women’s groups.

‘KRYT’, light art from Dutch artist, Gijs van Bon, writes poems on walls in light. The poetry will be created through workshops in primary schools. ‘Towers of Light’ is a community light art project designed for Weston Shore, Southampton’s only remaining shoreline and shingle beach. Its five tower blocks are a very distinctive landmark. Work with residents and community groups will create a bespoke illuminated grid consisting of hundreds of flags of colour in the block’s 1,300 windows. Both light art projects will be led by Audacious and will support the national Mayflower 400 Illuminate programme.

Through an open call for a composer and a series of workshops with 10 local BAME musicians, new choral pieces will be created reflecting the stories of the BAME and migrant community who have made the city home. Stories will be sourced through the City Archive and, subject to a successful application a new National Lottery Heritage Fund oral history project. Developed with and performed at the University of Southampton’s Turner Sims, with 80 local choir members and the BAME musicians. The choral arrangements will later be made available online for free community and school use.

Art Asia will work with 200 members of migrant communities to explore through dance, music and stories. ‘Belonging’, led by Vidya Thirunaryan, Pandit Sanju Sahai and Pooja Angra, they create stage and pop-up performances to appear at the annual Mela.

Events kick off in February 2020 with the Festival of Light at Westquay.


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