Canal Street Online Manchester

Key funding for local artists

Key funding for local artists

One of the 16 remaining heritage mills in Salford, Islington Mill has been awarded key European funding to refurbish and grow the historic development which is home to a globally renowned and thriving artist-led community. The project, named “The Other City” is being supported with a £3.3m grant from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), in collaboration with Salford City Council.

It will play a key role in growing and sustaining Salford’s cultural position as a ‘city of makers’, enabling the creation of new products and services which in turn will inspire other industry sectors to help navigate new ways to work, participate and succeed.

“The Other City” will be supporting successful artists already in production as well as critically providing training opportunities, education and early career pathways for budding young talent. The development will provide 25,000 sq ft of new workspace for creatives as well as provide arts resources and legacy for generations to come. 

Maurice Carlin, one of the founding Directors at Islington Mill, said: “From its outset as an artist-led endeavour, Islington Mill has been looking out beyond its walls towards the wider world. Over our 20 years, we have invited creative people to Salford from across Europe and the world to share their stories and knowledge, and to make new work in our city. This grant also historically represents the final part of European funding support to Britain from the EU.”

Islington Mill has become renowned over 20 years as a place where experimentation and artistic freedom have, to date, supported over 4,000 people to become artists who have made a social, cultural and economic difference. From the Ting Tings at the start of the millennium to Drag SOS launched on Channel 4 last year in 2019.  Continued Carlin; “The artists of Islington have a common message.  That this community helped them turn ideas into reality and take their cultural products, services, celebrations and congregations to regional, national and global audiences and markets.

Alongside this, we are excited that The Other City will offer vital and timely support to Salford and Manchester based creative people wishing to develop their careers and businesses as a result of this European funding. We hope that this will provide many creative businesses with a lifeline in these tough times.” 

The new development will also adopt a radical new form of cooperative governance, inspired by the Baltic Triangle artistic community in Liverpool whose co-founder Erika Rushton has been one of the core co-ordinators behind the Salford project. It is intended that “The Other City” will be artist owned and run, with tenants managing their own creative environment to ultimately deliver a physical place, and a support programme, to equip all manner of artists and creatives SMEs, to apply their skills and entrepreneurialism to contribute and enable the region's recovery and growth.

Rushton said:  “We’re fortunate that in Salford the Council stepped in to support Islington Mill’s vision, and see the true value of this artist-owned and artist-led community. The arts have so much to add to a city economically and socially, as well as culturally.”

The project represents a true partnership with funds also being contributed by Salford City Council, Arts Council England, National Heritage Lottery Fund, Architectural Heritage Fund, The Women's Organisation, Islington Mill Arts Club, founder Bill Campbell, by the innumerable artists and their audiences who contributed gigs, performances and art works, and 100 Temporary Custodians who bought into a shared ownership art-work donated by Maurice Carlin.

Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett said: “This project is a testament to the importance of true partnership working between Islington Mill Arts Club and Salford City Council, drawing on their different strengths in achieving a common aspiration.”

Here's one of many covid-response projects from Islington Mill curated by Manchester Street Poem called "Memories of Living which was done during lock down” and inspired by Karl Hyde of Underworld to help the homeless; https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLSNTIUy6GnXkmxJ0nbjABYp7BOw1mIPLb. 

Rachel Goodyear (Islington Mill artist & director) interview and exhibition

Published: 1-Oct-2020

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