UK (Bath Spa University) Bath Spa’s creative writing incubator awarded £600,000 by Arts Council England

Bath Spa University’s creative writing incubator, Paper Nations, has been announced as one of only a few cultural organisations in the South West to be awarded Arts Council England (ACE) and National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) funding over the next three years.

A total investment of £603,060 has been granted to the team located within Bath Spa’s Research Centre for Transnational Creativity and Education (TRACE). The funding will be used to further nurture an appreciation for the art of writing in people of all ages and from all walks of life, across the region, and beyond.

In addition to the funding, NPO status carries with it a significant degree of national prestige. Awarded in recognition of its contribution to the wider cultural sector, Paper Nations is the only Bath-based organisation to secure investment from this latest round of funding. Other organisations successful in securing this level of recognition in the region include Bristol Old Vic, Watershed, Bristol Museums and Arnolfini.

Professor John Strachan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at Bath Spa University, said:

“We are delighted to see the University’s contribution to the cultural and arts sector recognised in this way. I would like to congratulate all those involved in achieving this mark of national esteem. As a university, we are committed to continuing to make a positive impact within the South West of England and this investment will enable us to reach even more people. We stand in good company as we strive to demonstrate the importance of publicly funded culture and creativity”.

Professor Bambo Soyinka, Professor of Story at Bath Spa University and founder of Paper Nations, said:

“I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in the creative development and growth of Paper Nations over the past five years.. Wecouldn’t have achieved this without you. Our proposed portfolio of activities presents some exciting opportunities and I am honoured to be working alongside the region’s creative arts trailblazers, to make a difference to people’s lives, and bring them together in this way”.

In total, 990 organisations around the country will receive a share of £446 million over a three-year period. This will enable a growing number of people to experience creativity and culture in the heart of their local communities.

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England added:

“We are excited to be welcoming Paper Nations in our 2023-26 National Portfolio. As a national development agency, we recognise that while talent is everywhere, opportunity is not”.

Paper Nations show a commitment in nurturing literature in Bath and North East Somerset and support budding writers of all ages and backgrounds, from across the south west. They will help us realise our ambition in relation to our vision set out in Let’s Create, particularly around building a creative and cultural country where everyone can flourish.

Building on its success and partnerships since its inception in 2016, Paper Nations has most recently explored the importance of diversity and innovation in creative writing, and plans to announce its next phase of activity in spring 2023.

Earlier this year, in collaboration with Bath and North East Somerset Council, Bath Spa University also announced its plans to support the future of creativity and culture in the local community, and extend Bath’s global reach, with a purpose-built Fashion Collection Archive in its Creative Arts Quarter in Locksbrook. This building will be accessible to the public and plans about its development will be shared in due course.