The Royal Shakespeare Company, Arts Council England and the organisers of Coventry City of Culture 2021 are backing an initiative to help the West Midlands’ arts sector recover from the coronavirus crisis.
Led by sector-support organisation Culture Central, the newly created West Midlands Culture Response Unit will develop a plan for arts organisations across the region to work together over at least the next six months, as the impacts of the pandemic hit.
Its intention is to "ensure the visibility, viability and recovery of the cultural sector in the West Midlands".
The strategy will include audience-focused campaigns and communications within the sector, as well as development and support from participating organisations and freelancers, who are being encouraged to sign up.
Specific support will include research, lobbying, legal and human resources assistance, training and recovery planning.
A statement from the newly formed group said it hopes to achieve a region-wide, coordinated response, and champion the role of culture in civic and economic recovery from Covid-19.
Erica Love, director of Culture Central, added: "As a cultural sector support organisation, we felt it was important to bring the sector together and lead a collective response, pool resources in a time of extreme challenge and work to ensure our cultural sector is heard, recognised and supported."
More than 100 organisations, freelancers and stakeholders have already pledged to be a part of the effort, including major institutions such as the RSC, Coventry 2021 and the organisers of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, which plans to hold a cultural festival.
Other supporters include the Arts Council, Birmingham City Council and the culture board of the West Midlands Combined Authority.