News 2008 News ->Watermans
celebrates return of Arts Council funding.
Watermans celebrates return
of Arts Council funding
(3 November 2008)
Council, England (ACE) has just agreed to resume
funding Watermans' for its Asian Arts programme,
following a protracted legal campaign organised
by the West London arts centre in early 2008.
A publicity campaign was mounted in the media
and the "unfair" cut was also subject
to an Early Day Motion created by Stephen Pound
MP in the House of Commons and online petitions
on the 10 Downing Street website. The resumption
of partial funding will enable Watermans to continue
to build on its long-standing reputation for providing
opportunities for Asian artists and cultural activities
targeted at Asian audiences.
reasons given by the Arts Council for the withdrawal
of funding in the first placed included a conviction
that Hounslow Council was not committed to the
centre, the slowness in relocating to new premises,
lower than expected audience and programme figures
and failure by the centre to attract additional
funding. Following a judicial review in April
Honourable Mr Justice Langstaff observed specifically
that Watermans: was told (by the Arts Council)
of the rationale for the proposed decision (to
withdraw its funding) so it could comment on it,
and arguably having answered this found that the
final decision had been taken on different grounds
which it had no proper opportunity to address.
Ravi Shankar, the leading
sitar player of his generation was the first performer
on Watermans stage when it first opened in 1984.
Since then Watermans has provided opportunities
for a host of Asian performers including Sanjeev
Bhaskar (The Kumars) Nina Wadia (East Enders),
Nitin Sawhney, DJ and Broadcaster Bobby Friction
and comedians Shazia Mirza and Paul Chowdhry.
Ninaz Khodaiji, Watermans'
programmer for Asian arts said "we are at
a crossroads in Asian Arts development with audience
needs becoming more diverse than ever and an increasing
number of new young artists looking for opportunities
to create and perform. We are delighted with this
recognition by ACE of the importance of Asian
Arts in the West London community and the role
that Watermans has to play in its development"
The annual grant of £240,000
will run in the first instance for 3 years. This
is nearly 60% of the grant that Watermans received
from ACE last year. Since then ACE has conducted
a fundamental review in which it re-arranged its'
funding priorities. This decision follows Hounslow
Council's promise to continue funding Watermans
Jan Lennox, Watermans Director
said "this will ensure that Watermans has
sufficient resources to continue the programme
that we have been working so hard to create and
develop over the last 4 years. Recently, the Alluminae
dance group performed at Wembley as part of the
London 2012 Cultural Olympiad celebrations, Straitjacket
Embrace!, one of our gallery commissions has just
been short-listed for Ars Electronica 2008, the
leading European digital media exhibition and
our London Mix project engaged with over 300 young
people in West London including many from deprived
communities and some with learning difficulties.
It would have been a great loss if we weren't
able to continue with such energy and diversity."
below for all Redhotcurry.com stories on the Watermans
funding issue and news of petitions on the 10
Downing Street website: