Arts Council England has granted Southampton City Council a £269,000 National Lottery Project Grant to fund a series of artistic projects and commissions to support the Mayflower 400 Anniversary programme in 2020.

Southampton’s Mayflower 400 cultural programme will use the anniversary as an opportunity to reconnect communities to our maritime past and to tell stories of journeys, migration, identity and sanctuary; building empathy and greater cross-cultural understanding. Working with partners across the city, the grant will enable the development and delivery of ten projects, these will include a new music commission at Turner Sims; a community arts programme led by Solent University’s Showcase Gallery; two large-scale community dance projects, one led by Art Asia as part of the Southampton Mela and one by ZoieLogic Dance Theatre; a light-art project for Weston Shore and the city centre delivered in partnership with Audacious and Light Up Poole; a new outdoor work by Requardt & Rosenberg, commissioned by Stomping Ground and produced by The Place; and ‘A Mile in My Shoes’ delivered by The Empathy Museum. The programme will employ 92 creatives, include just under 7,000 participants and reach audiences of 37,000.

The grant is supported by £150,000 match funding from Southampton City Council who are leading the programme. The Council are also making investments into heritage projects during the year, including four exhibitions at City Art Gallery, SeaCity Museum and Tudor House Museum and Gardens and a renovation of the Mayflower Monument. This will include the addition of new plaques acknowledging the impact of the ship on Native American communities and celebrating Southampton’s global role in migration and transmigration. A decision is due on an application to National Lottery Heritage Fund in January 2020 to support a wider heritage programme.

Mayflower 400 builds on previous investment in the city’s cultural offer, and galvanising the city around the cultural ambition for Southampton. This Arts Council England investment, which triples previous project grant funding in the city, helps to bolster these ambitions, developing cultural skills and capacity and ensuring Mayflower 400 has a positive, lasting legacy for communities, artists and cultural organisations.

Caterina Loriggio, Mayflower 400 Anniversary Director, said: “We are delighted to have such a high level of support from Arts Council England. This investment will help us reach and inspire many people who, for a variety of reasons, do not usually get to engage with the city’s art programmes. We see the anniversary as an opportunity to work with communities to creatively explore self-identity, migration and transmigration, to celebrate the people of the world, such as the Mayflower passengers, who throughout history have come to, or through, Southampton in search of a new life, helping build our enviable reputation as Gateway to the World.”

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: “We are delighted to support Southampton deliver this cultural programme to commemorate the sailing of the Mayflower ship, 400 years ago. Thanks to the National Lottery, we are able to invest in important projects like this that help us to make sense of the world, bring communities together and allow more people to experience the benefits that cultural activity can bring.”

Councillor Kaur, Cabinet Member for Homes and Communities: “Southampton has been at the forefront of many world-changing moments and we remain at the forefront of marine exploration and innovation. The Mayflower 400 commemorations in 2020 is the perfect time and place to showcase this, giving us the opportunity to share the incredible creativity of our cultural organisations and communities. We are thrilled to be working with Arts Council England on this major cultural programme. It will reach audiences and participants all across the city as well push our artistic aspirations and talents to new levels, ensuring we are truly ready for our City of Culture bid in 2021.”

Raymund McManus, Group Events Strategy Manager at Hammerson, said: “Mayflower 400 is a fantastic initiative that will really bring Southampton’s history to life, and attract visitors from all over the region. Across our portfolio, we are committed to making our flagship destinations like Westquay as engaging and attractive for consumers as possible, and a key part of that is our events programme. Our incredible Festival of Light event in the spring will really tie in with the programme’s light-art project, and we’re also looking forward to welcoming A Mile In Your Shoes to the destination. We’re proud to be a part of Mayflower 400, and to doing a bit to highlight why Southampton is such a great city.”