River Festival

Plymouth University has been awarded more than £75,000 of Arts Council funding to enhance its contribution to the city’s cultural aspirations.

A grant of £42,500 will enable Peninsula Arts at Plymouth University to consolidate the work of the River Tamar Project, which aims to reconnect the river with the people who live along its banks.

It has also received £35,000 to continue the development of the Plymouth International Book Festival, which brings a host of leading literary names to the city each Autumn.

The grants are part of a funding announcement which will see more than £265,000 awarded to five Plymouth projects from the National Lottery funded Grants for the Arts programme.

Professor Dafydd Moore, Executive Dean of Arts and Humanities at Plymouth University, said:

“This funding is further evidence of Plymouth’s fast-growing reputation as a vibrant arts community. The University is committed to playing a key role in enhancing that through the opportunities we offer and the partnerships we are developing. This is an exciting period in our history, and the continued development of Plymouth’s cultural offering can reap rewards for the city, the region and everyone within it.”

The River Tamar Project was founded in 2012 and previously worked in partnership with Peninsula Arts to stage a major film festival, It’s All About the River, in the Autumn of 2014.

However, the University is now exploring ways to take the project forward, and the funding will support the development – in collaboration with creatives in the fields or art, architecture, design, science and technology, and communities along the banks of the river – of a high profile event for 2016.

The Plymouth International Book Festival was launched in 2012, and is organised through a partnership of Peninsula Arts at Plymouth University, Literature Works and Plymouth City Council.

In the past, it has welcomed bestselling writers and poets including Audrey Nifenegger, Joanna Trollope, Will Self, Sir Andrew Motion, Charlie Higson and Kate Mosse, with announcements about the 2015 line-up imminent.

This investment will help build on previous successes, as well as commissioning new work, as the festival grows towards the Mayflower 400 celebrations in 2020.

The Grants for the Arts programme has also awarded £94,696 to one of the University’s creative partners, Effervescent Social Alchemy, enabling them to expand their work with children, young people and vulnerable adults in the city.

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said:

“We are very pleased to be making a significant investment in Plymouth through our Lottery funded grant programme. Plymouth is a distinct city with an individual personality and an enormous amount of potential. These projects will help support and nurture the creative talent of the city and its surroundings and genuinely engage its residents. We look forward to seeing the exciting outcomes of the work.”