Plus Tate, a major new national initiative for the visual arts involving Tate and 18 of the UK’s most dynamic arts institutions, was launched on 21 October at Tate Modern by Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt. Joining together to exchange ideas, knowledge, skills and resources, as well as programmes and collections, the Plus Tate partners, along with and facilitated by Tate, will broaden and deepen engagement in modern and contemporary art across the country. 

The full list of partners announced is as follows: Arnolfini, Bristol; BALTIC, Gateshead; Cornerhouse, Manchester; firstsite, Colchester; Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea; Grizedale Arts, Cumbria; The Hepworth Wakefield; Ikon, Birmingham; Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge; mima, Middlesbrough; Mostyn, Llandudno; Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange, Penzance; Nottingham Contemporary; The Pier Arts Centre, Orkney; Towner, Eastbourne; Turner Contemporary, Margate; Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester; and Wysing Arts Centre, Bourn (Cambridge).

The impact of the visual arts on cultural and socio-economic regeneration in the regions has been hugely significant in recent years. Building on the achievements of this sector requires imaginative new models of collaboration and entrepreneurial thinking.

During a pilot phase of the Plus Tate programme in 2009, then known as Tate Connects, several organisations in the network began to set new standards for sector responsibility through a cost-effective and resilient approach to running galleries and arts organisations, exploring together new ways of increasing generated income, setting up staff training and placement schemes, as well as sharing audience research and joint business models. The network has subsequently expanded and now 18 organisations are on board, plus Tate.

Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt said:

In a week where we achieved a good spending settlement for the arts, I am very pleased to be at Tate to launch Plus Tate. It is an outstanding example of initiative, creative thinking and collaboration. The partnership between Tate and these eighteen arts organisations up and down the country will bring huge public benefit, by pooling resources and inspiring people through art.

Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate said:

The Plus Tate network is central to Tate’s vision. Working in partnership, collaborating closely with leading organisations that have high national and international profiles and strong links to their local communities, means we can support their further development and strengthen their hand by sharing with them Tate’s resources and Collection. At the same time, we can deepen our own experience by tapping into their particular expertise and inventiveness.

One of the ten founding partners is BALTIC, Gateshead, which opened in 2003.  BALTIC’s Director, Godfrey Worsdale, commented:

The Plus Tate partnership has been beneficial in assisting BALTIC to benchmark its plans and practices; fundamentally, the wider collaboration has created a forum in which individual and group issues can be embedded across the sector more quickly.

Turner Contemporary, Margate, will open in 2011 and its Director, Victoria Pomery, said:

We see the Plus Tate partnership as a huge support, acting as a platform through which we can share and exchange ideas and information with peer institutions and providing welcome access to Tate’s own expertise, experience and Collection.

Notes to Editor

Each Plus Tate partner organisation, including Tate, is undergoing development and change, often involving a capital project. All are committed to expanding participation in the visual arts and to collaboration and exchange with the network as a whole. The pilot phase of the programme, known as Tate Connects, was made possible through the support of Arts Council England and a further grant from the Cultural Leadership Programme enabled us to bring the network together for  a programme of organisational and leadership development. Through an open call process in February 2010, Tate selected eight more partners and extended the network to 18 organisations across the UK. To do this, Tate has worked with National Galleries of Scotland and National Museums of Wales.

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