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News 2008
News ->Watermans celebrates return of Arts Council funding.

Watermans celebrates return of Arts Council funding
(3 November 2008)

Image from 'Building Sight', an exhibition held at Watermans in 2007.Arts 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.

The 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 2008, The 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 to 2011.

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."


Click below for all stories on the Watermans funding issue and news of petitions on the 10 Downing Street website:

Asian Arts to suffer from funding withdrawal

Arts Council axe falls heavily on Asian Arts

Watermans applies for judicial review of the Arts Council's funding cut

Watermans wins judicial review of Arts Council decision

Funding of the Arts petition - read the PM's response click below:

Stop the Cull petition - read the PM's response, click below:

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