Kirklees has been chosen by Arts Council England as one of 15 priority areas in the North for investment in music, creativity and culture.

The announcement comes after the Government’s unprecedented £1.96 billion Culture Recovery Fund, a lifeline to the cultural sector forced into shutdown during the pandemic.

Arts Council England wants to drive creativity and cultural activities which it says can play a part in ‘levelling up’ the country.

Kirklees Council has already put culture at the heart of its plans for the £250 million Huddersfield Blueprint with a ‘Cultural Heart’ which will feature a live music venue and new-look art gallery and museum.

And Kirklees is also building towards its Year of Music 2023, which will be officially launched at the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield on Wednesday, September 22.

Guest speaker at the pre-launch event will be Shain Shapiro, founder and CEO of Sound Diplomacy, a leading global advisor of growing music and night-time economies in cities and towns. For more on the pre-launch event HERE.

Indie band The Lovely Eggs, whose recent single ‘I,Moron’ featured Iggy Pop, will play at the after-party at The Parish.

Kirklees already has a world class music offer with partners such as Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Grand Northern Ukulele Festival and music education hub, Musica Kirklees.

Since the beginning of the pandemic Kirklees has received £2,124,271 investment from the Arts Council through the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.

READ MORE: How community groups can get help with funding from Kirklees Year of Music 2023

The Arts Council has now chosen Kirklees as one of 54 places nationally, including 15 in the North, where it wants to develop new opportunities for investment under its three-year Delivery Plan for 2021-2024.

These places have been chosen through a set of criteria based on a review of current public investment and opportunities to engage with creative and cultural activity. Each of the priority places are ambitious to drive positive change through culture.

The Lovely Eggs are playing The Parish

Darren Henley, chief executive of Arts Council England, said: “Artists, arts organisations, museums and libraries have found creative new ways to serve their audiences and communities since the start of the pandemic.

“Our new Delivery Plan shows how we’ll work with them to build on that spirit of imagination and innovation as our society reopens.

“It’s particularly exciting to be focusing on our 54 priority places over the coming years, as part of the Arts Council’s commitment to play its part in delivering on the Government’s programme of levelling up.

“We’re looking forward to nurturing dynamic new partnerships with local people and organisations in each of these locations.”

Pete Massey, director North, Arts Council England, said: “The announcement of our priority places will see us working closely with partners across Kirklees to ensure that creativity and culture can play a key role in levelling up across the North.

“The Government’s Culture Recovery Fund has provided a lifeline to arts and cultural organisations during the pandemic.

What Huddersfield’s new art gallery and museum could look like

“It is important that we now continue to invest in the cultural sector to ensure everyone across the country can access art and culture no matter where they live. The launch of our Delivery Plan and announcement of a set of priority places shows our commitment to this.

“Kirklees is a place with a rich cultural history and strong musical presence. It is fantastic to see the ambition of Kirklees Council and the sector to grow the region’s cultural offer.

“I look forward to working with partners across the culture sector and in the local authority in Kirklees as they begin to realise their cultural plans.”

READ MORE: Meet the board of the Kirklees Year of Music 2023

Clr Will Simpson, Cabinet member for culture at Kirklees Council, said: “We look forward to working with Arts Council England to achieve our considerable cultural ambitions, like the Year of Music 2023 and the development of the Cultural Heart in Huddersfield town centre.

“Together we can create opportunities for our communities to be more creative, attract investment into Kirklees, and engage with a wide range of cultural activities as we rebuild from Covid.

“By placing culture at the heart of our community and economic regeneration plans – and with the support of Arts Council England to attract the investment required to deliver – we can ensure that our communities can not only recover from the events of the last couple of years but thrive as we move forward, together.”