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Support local art this Christmas

#CultureForChristmas and #FolkForChristmas campaigns encourage people to gift vouchers to friends and family.

Fay Hield Wrackline lg

Folk singer Fay Hield.

Large numbers of artists and musicians have not been eligible for government support schemes this year, but the pandemic has also acted as an important reminder to value what we love.

In that spirit, academics and musicians at the University of Sheffield are championing the #CultureForChristmas campaign, encouraging people to support local artists and performers this festive period by gifting vouchers for upcoming events.

Academics Stephanie Pitts and Sarah Price have undertaken various research projects into the pandemic and its impact on the arts. They found that supporting arts organisations was a source of pride for many participants, and that communities often experience a sense of responsibility to keep the local industry afloat.

“There are still ways you can support the local arts and those behind our diverse cultural scenes. Venues like theatres, galleries and music venues have been promoting gift vouchers and memberships as a way to spread the joy even more widely,” said Prof Pitts from the University’s Performer and Audience Research Centre.

Also tackling the problem of an underfunded industry is folk singer and University of Sheffield lecturer Fay Hield, who is leading the social media campaign #FolkForChristmas, encouraging people to use their Christmas gift budgets to support freelance folk musicians, their labels, technicians and promoters.

“Folk musicians need your support this Christmas,” she said.

“We are sharing gift ideas to buy directly from creators, helping to keep our folk scene afloat into the new year. Follow the hashtag #FolkForChristmas for your Christmas shopping to support artists, share the music and spread the joy.”

So when you’re doing your last-minute Christmas shopping this year, consider ditching the socks in favour of putting a voucher under the tree instead, and give a boost to artists and musicians in the process. If you do, post your choice on social media with the hashtag #CultureForChristmas to spread the word and encourage others to do the same.

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