Fivearts cities was a strategic arts broadcast partnership between Five and Arts Council England. Fivearts cities was dedicated to spotlighting the arts in the great cities of England and enabling people to develop their own creativity. For Five, it was part of a deepening commitment to the arts and to building deeper relationship with viewers. For the Arts Council, it was part of a new remit to develop broadcast partnerships. The project created an integrated programme of on air and off air activities, creating sustainable partnerships that left a legacy for each Fivearts city.
Both partners were committed to a three-year project, focusing on three cities, one each year. The first Fivearts city was Liverpool in 2004/5, the year it was awarded the status of European Capital of Culture 2008. The second was NewcastleGateshead in 2005/6, and the third was Oxford in 2006/7.
Sue Stewart was commissioned to write the public-facing documents in the year following each Fivearts city year. The work involved drawing together all the evidence from BARB (Broadcasters' Audience Research Board) data, evaluators, participating organisations, stakeholders and participants, and writing reports which highlighted the achievements of the project, lessons learnt and models of good practice. These include Fivearts cities Liverpool (2005), Fivearts cities NewcastleGateshead (2006), and Fivearts cities Oxford (2007). She also contributed to qualitative evaluation of the Fivearts cities Oxford year. These reports are available on the Arts Council New Audiences website.
Fivearts cities has reached over 15 million people through broadcast programmes and community events. Of those directly participating in community events and activities, the majority were from socially excluded communities, communities scoring highly on the Indices of Deprivation, and/or communities with little previous experience of or interest in the arts.