Under new ownership…

The Observatory has now transferred to Marketing Birmingham

Office: Marketing Birmingham, Floor 4, Millennium Point, Curzon Street, Birmingham, B4 7XG.

Enquiries

Telephone 0121 202 5115
Email research@marketingbirmingham.com

Register with Marketing Birmingham

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Update on our future

Following announcement of its abolition, Advantage West Midlands is seeking new ownership for the West Midlands Regional Observatory.

Advantage West Midlands is currently negotiating with their preferred bidder, Marketing Birmingham, on the Observatory’s behalf. The Agency’s Board will make a final decision on the outcome of those negotiations later in the year and no later than 1st September 2011.

In the interim, the Observatory will pause its operations and all staff have been redeployed into closure and transition activities at Advantage West Midlands. As such, you may not receive a reply to emails and phone calls. The website and blog will also not be updated during this period.

What does preferred bidder mean?

That Marketing Birmingham have exclusive rights to negotiate with Advantage West Midlands regarding the assets of the Observatory. There is no commitment on either side to a sale or transfer in advance of those negotiations.

What happens to the Observatory at the moment?

As the Agency is now focused on its closure, the Observatory’s operations have been temporarily paused. As such, we are not able to respond to enquiries and the website will not be updated.

Who do I talk to about this?

From Advantage West Midlands
Pat Jackson, tel 0121 503 3205, email patjackson [at] advantagewm.co.uk

From Marketing Birmingham
Tim Manson, tel 0121 202 5031, email Tim.Manson [at] marketingbirmingham.com

The future of the Observatory

Following the announcement of its abolition, Advantage West Midlands is seeking new ownership for the West Midlands Regional Observatory.

Advantage West Midlands received two expressions of interest to an open bidding process, which closed on 19th November. Marketing Birmingham has been selected as the preferred bidder and Advantage West Midlands is currently negotiating with them. The Agency’s Board is expected to make a final decision on the outcome of those negotiations at its January meeting.

Being the preferred bidder means that Marketing Birmingham have exclusive rights to negotiate with Advantage West Midlands re the assets of the Observatory. There is no commitment on either side to a sale or transfer in advance of those negotiations.

As the Agency is now focused on its closure, the Observatory will continue to operate, but at a greatly reduced capacity. As such, responses to enquiries may take longer than normal and our website (www.wmro.org) will be updated less frequently.

For more info, contact:
From Advantage West Midlands – Iain Neville tel: 0121 380 3563, email: iainnev [at] gmail.com
From Marketing Birmingham – Tim Manson tel: 0121 202 5031, email: Tim.Manson [at] marketingbirmingham.com

Local Enterprise Partnerships need to act to reinvigorate the private sector

Distilling machine CERAM Stoke-on-Tent

Weaknesses in the structure of the West Midlands economy mean that it was hit particularly hard by the recent recession and is likely to see further job losses over the next five years.

Our latest briefing paper (pdf, 408kb), produced as part of our West Midlands Skills Assessment 2010, reveals that the West Midlands has a weaker private sector than other parts of the country. The West Midlands has poorer representation of higher value added activities and high growth firms with the potential to create new, skilled jobs.

As a result the West Midlands has seen its share of jobs in the public sector rise more rapidly than anywhere else in the country. It is particularly vulnerable to job losses from the spending cuts announced by the government.

We forecast that West Midlands Gross Value Added (GVA) will grow by only 8% (£8.8 billion) between 2010 and 2015 and there will be a net fall in employment of more than 38,000 people.

Continue reading

Endorsement of our Economic Inclusion research

Here’s a short video featuring Trudi Elliott, Chair of the West Midlands Economic Inclusion Panel, endorsing our economic inclusion research:

Watch on viddler

Participating in culture and sport equivalent to a pay rise?

Research funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has suggested that the boost to individuals’ wellbeing achieved through weekly participation in sport is equivalent to £11,000 per year in household income. Cinema (c.£9,000) and concert (c.£9,000) attendance are not far behind in terms of annual ‘value’.

The research, Understanding the value of engagement in culture and sport (pdf, 291kb), which is based on a statistical analysis of the British Household Panel Survey, estimates the equivalent boost in household income required to achieve the same boost in wellbeing generated by cultural participation.

The work is something of a departure from previous estimates (such as those which calculate the monetary value of sport by referring to the cost of physical inactivity to the NHS) in that it factors in other influences on wellbeing such as socioeconomic status, thereby isolating the effect of culture.

As the authors note, the findings have the potential to guide policymakers, indicating the level of investment that may be warranted in interventions aimed at increasing participation in culture and sport.

Related links

Making the CASE for culture

Last month saw the culmination of a Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) project to bring together a range of statistics and figures on the impact of culture at local, regional and national level. In addition to individual summary reports for each English region, you can download recent data on:

  • Economic impact (xls, 6.7mb) – employment, turnover etc. within cultural organisations.
  • Investment data – levels of public/private investment in capital (xls, 1.8mb) and non-capital (xls, 7.9mb) cultural projects.
  • Tourism data (xls, 613kb) – overnight visits by domestic tourists, visits to visitor attractions etc.
  • Education data (xls, 4.9mb) – number of Higher Education students for cultural subjects etc.
  • Engagement data (xls, 915kb) – levels of participation in cultural activity.
  • Physical assets data (xls, 1.3mb) – count, percentage and density of cultural assets.

Notably, some of the spreadsheets also contain wider demographic data that gives a useful hint as to the kind of analyses users could undertake.

For example, the working age population data for each local authority and region (contained in the investment spreadsheets) allows users to calculate investment per head of working age population (or per 10,000 of working age population as in the summary reports) without having to hunt high and low for the population data separately!

For further advice on how to use the data contact CASE (case [at] culture.gsi.gov.uk). Alternatively, feel free to contact us here at the Cultural Observatory (lauren.amery [at] artscouncil.org.uk / tel 0121 631 5705).

Related links

Notes

‘CASE’ is a joint DCMS research programme involving Sport England, Arts Council England, English Heritage and Museums, Libraries & Archives Council (MLA).

The definition of ‘culture’ used in the research focuses on those sectors most relevant to the CASE partnership, consisting of Arts Council England, English Heritage, Museums, Librarires and Archives Council and Sport England. So, for example, while data on tourism can be downloaded separately, tourism sector organisations such as hotels and restaurants have not been factored into ‘CASE sector’ analyses.