Midlands Arts Centre awarded Reimagine Grant from Art Fund

Wed 6 September 2023
Two women look at artwork and point and smile. Large botanical colourful wallpaper behind.
Worlds Away: Art, Nature and Wellbeing, 2023. Credit: Kate Green

Funding will support the arts charity to diversify their workforce by creating and improving opportunities for disabled people 

Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) have been awarded a £35,500 Reimagine Grant by Art Fund to diversify the arts charity’s workforce, create and improve opportunities for disabled people, and strengthen Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) within the arts sector. Art Fund’s investment will support MAC’s All of Us programme, which will improve employment pathways for disabled and neurodivergent people. 

The strategy includes the creation of a new Project Manager role to facilitate longer-term change within the organisation. All of Us will support the needs of MAC’s current and future disabled workforce, with a vital strand investigating the intersection of disability, caring responsibilities, and people from the Global Majority. 

Building upon MAC’s core commitment to accessibility and inclusion, the charity will deliver brand-new direct action over the next two years to further develop inclusive practices across the organisation and promote a disability equality culture. MAC will continue to maintain key partnerships with disability arts organisations and charities in the West Midlands, and work to remove barriers to participation and employment some people face through meaningful consultation and research with people with lived experience.

Named as the most visited free attraction in the West Midlands by Visit England (2022), MAC receives over 800,000 visits annually and is a leading arts organisation and national centre of excellence in participation. Over the years, MAC has invested in making their venue more accessible, including installing a Changing Places toilet and specially adapting equipment in arts and music studios.

The Reimagine Grant will enable MAC to deepen connections created by, and with, local communities to further engage disabled people with their inclusive arts programme and expand their accessible offer over the next two years.

Person stands in front of two artworks facing away from the camera in white t-shirt. Artworks are decorated ceramic plates framed on navy blue wall.
Adeela Suleman, Allegory of War, MAC Exhibition Credit: Jas Sansi

Deborah Kermode, MAC CEO and Artistic Director, said: “We are extremely grateful to Art Fund for their generous grant that will enable us to diversify MAC’s workforce. We recognise that disabled people are almost twice as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled people, and that the arts sector needs to improve the provision of employment opportunities for disabled people. We are keen to make the change and act strategically to ensure that MAC is representative of the community we serve.”

Art Fund's director, Jenny Waldman, said: “This year’s Reimagine grants will enable museums and galleries to foster inclusivity and create opportunities for diverse voices to contribute to the cultural sector. We’re proud to support 21 engaging projects across the UK, from Oriel Myrddin in Carmarthenshire developing new ways of working with underrepresented communities, to Towner Eastbourne in East Sussex providing career pathways for individuals from diverse backgrounds. Together, these projects make a step towards a more inclusive and diverse museum workforce. Huge congratulations to all recipients.”

Find out more about the latest recipients of Art Fund's Reimagine Grants.