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A creative, cultural celebration: Afrocats x Whitworth is back with family activities for all!

An Afrocats dancer teaches a young girl dance moves, they are both smiling

After a 6-month hiatus, the award-winning partnership between Afrocats and the Whitworth returns with funding from Arts Council England.

The collaboration saw 5,000 new gallery visitors over the project's first two years. The new funding will take the partnership to the next level, making the gallery an inclusive space for not only new arrivals to the city but also emerging artists from the global majority, providing an opportunity to develop their experience and facilitation skills in Manchester’s most loved gallery. 

It is widely recognised that the arts and culture sector must do more around inclusion and diversity with Arts Council England's Diversity report highlighting that only 13% of the workforce have a global majority background.

The Afrocats x Whitworth partnership aims to change this.

The funding from Arts Council England will see early career artists from global majority backgrounds honing their skills alongside Afrocats’ roster of diverse artists at gallery events throughout the year. Learnings from the project will be shared with other arts organisations to improve diversity across the sector.

The project kicks off in the May half-term when families will be invited to shimmy and shake their way through the gallery with family activities that are free and open to all. Visitors will try cultural dance and arts and crafts workshops that respond to the John Lyons exhibition, which is on at the Whitworth until 25 August 2024.

Afrocats volunteers sit on the stairs smiling at the camera

Magdalen, CEO of Afrocats said:

"I am delighted that Afrocats secured Arts Council England funding to continue our impactful work in collaboration with Whitworth. It will allow us to keep offering this exciting programme. But the benefits go much further.

"This project fosters impressive growth for our organisations and the facilitators we train. By working in an intergenerational setting with diverse backgrounds, these facilitators gain valuable skills to propel their careers.

"Thank you, Arts Council England, your vital support enables this much-needed work to continue with communities that need access to cultural spaces."

Fiona Cariss, Volunteering and Civic Engagement Manager said:

"We are delighted to welcome Afrocats back into our gallery spaces and thanks to Arts Council England we can continue to offer our award-winning activities during school holidays for the next year. 

"We have continued our work together and are proud to have achieved an award with Fantastic for Families in Audience Impact and Innovation, and our partnership has led towards the Whitworth becoming the North West’s first Gallery of Sanctuary, awarded by charity City of Sanctuary.

"We are really proud of what we have built together and we hope to continue to provide a safe and creative space for all, whilst sharing and learning from our experiences."


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