Birmingham is launching a Cultural Investment Inquiry to look at new ways of investing in the arts and culture sector. Working together, the partners (including Aston Business School, Birmingham City Council, Culture Central, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and Arts Council England) will draw heavily on the commercial and analytical skills of the city’s business community, as well as national and international exemplars, to explore the potential for new models of investment to support the city’s arts & culture offer and deliver on future ambitions.

The inquiry will take place over three months and will inform future business models in the sector. It will consider and review potential for investment linked to city growth, through public and private sources, and is expected to produce outcomes which are transferable nationally.

Prof George Feiger, executive dean of Aston Business School said: “We are delighted to contribute to this important initiative, using our professional expertise. The arts sector contributes an enormous amount to the culture and economy of the region and we need to do all we can to maintain this jewel in our crown. We are the first city in the UK to look at a range of non-traditional and entrepreneurial funding mechanisms to help the arts flourish”

Mark Rogers, chief executive of Birmingham City Council, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to find new ways of supporting and growing the cultural scene in the city. With our current budget challenge and the way the role of local government is changing, we have to find new ways of realising the city’s creative potential and staying at the forefront of cultural development in the UK. We can’t do this on our own; this inquiry is very much a joint enterprise, bringing together the best thinkers to enable us to have a thriving and vibrant cultural future for the city and surrounding area for years to come.”

Paul Faulkner, chief executive of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, said: “The Chamber is delighted to be part of this effort to further rejuvenate the arts and culture sector in the city. It is already a thriving community and this initiative will be invaluable in attracting new investment and interest. We will ensure that Greater Birmingham’s business community is fully briefed on the opportunities which lie ahead and our initial impression in that there will be an enthusiastic take-up.”

Gary Topp, director of Culture Central, said “Culture Central welcomes the early opportunity to work with the Council and other city experts to explore new approaches to cultural development in Birmingham (and the wider city region) in response to the substantial changes taking place in local government. Culture is vital to the current and future success of the city and maintaining and developing a strong approach to cultural investment will be crucial. The Cultural Investment Inquiry will provide a platform for collaborative thinking and must form the basis of a new approach.”

Peter Knott, Midlands area director, Arts Council England said: “Art and culture makes Birmingham a great place to live, work and visit, whilst also benefiting the regional economy. Public investment – both from the Arts Council and Birmingham City Council – plays a crucial part in supporting local artists and creative, cultural and heritage organisations. This inquiry will be an opportunity to collectively consider how to ensure arts and culture in the city continues to thrive.”