Iconic Glasgow arts complex The Arches has announced that it is to go into administration. The planned closure sparked a number of prominent arts and culture figures to decry the decision on social media this week, lambasting the move as a significant blow to the fringe arts scene in Scotland and beyond. The decision to divest is due to The Arches existing operational model having become ‘untenable’, say its board of directors. Last month, authorities on the Glasgow City Council passed a motion to suspend The Arches’ late licence and impose a midnight curfew on its nightclub and gig spaces, following a number of police complaints about ‘disorder’ among its users. The board say that club nights and music gigs are responsible for over half of the non-profit venue’s turnover at present, and that it cannot continue to exist as a multi-arts space with the loss of income a curfew will bring about. More than 400 artists and performers have since added their signatures to an open letter of protest, including Tron Theatre artistic director Andy Arnold and the author Irvine Welsh.
IFACCA, the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies, has received a small grant from Asia-Europe Foundation’s Creative Networks programme to support its THRIVE project. The initiative aims to document and share information about good practices in strategic planning for culture networks, with a view to improving practices, inspiring network leaders, and providing a resource for networks in Asia and Europe. The project has two key components: an ‘operations and impact’ workshop to be held in Singapore in late August, which will bring together a small number of leaders of cultural networks from Asia and Europe; and a research report. As background for the workshop, IFACCA will prepare a discussion paper offering a preliminary analysis of the results of a global survey aimed at collecting information on international culture networks. The final report will be published on ifacca.org.
Belfast Metropolitan Arts Centre (MAC) could be facing a hefty bill for external improvement works that would place significant financial strain on the publicly funded, multi-disciplinary performance venue. Although the GBP18m (€25m) building opened just three years ago (April 2012), and won a National Award from the Royal Institute of British Architects in recognition of its architectural excellence, exterior stonework began to noticeably deteriorate towards the end of 2014. Portions of basalt cladding have already fallen from the six-storey city centre structure, with netting now in place to protect the public from any further debris. Members of the Legislative Assembly on the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee were told this week that MAC may be forced to close if repair work is not carried out, which experts have estimated could cost GBP1m. MAC board chair Joe O’Neill expressed confidence that the centre will remain open, and confirmed that the board will seek external financial support to meet the cost of any repairs in full.