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We highlight the top stories of 2012’s remarkable year of arts and culture

  • Date: 19 December 2012
  • Area: National
The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art

The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Arts won a National Lottery Award for the Best Arts Project. Credit: Colin Davison

As 2012 draws to a close at Arts Council England, we cast an eye over what has been an unparalleled year for arts and culture, and bring you a list of some of the top stories from January through to December.

January

Survivor by Hofesh Shechter and Antony Gormley received its premiere

Two of the UK's most exciting artists, choreographer Hofesh Shechter and sculptor, Antony Gormley joined forces to create Survivor. The production saw London's Barbican transformed into an extraordinary multi-sensory landscape, calling to its stage a 30-person live band, 100 drummers, and a stunning visual backdrop created by Gormley.

February

We launched our programme of research into the library of the future

Supporting our new responsibilities for libraries, we launched Envisioning the library of the future - a programme of research aimed to help shape the future of libraries. Key phases of the research included consultations with library experts and an online survey aimed at the public.

March

Miracle Theatre collaborated with English Touring Opera's for new production Tin

Tin, a large-scale co-production by Miracle Theatre and English Touring Opera, commissioned by the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site, began its tour of the South West. The production featured Cornwall-born baritone Ben Luxon and local community choirs.

April

Final list of museums to receive regular Renaissance funding announced

We announced the final list of museums to receive regular major partner museum funding from 2012-15 via Renaissance. Grant recipients included larger museums such as Museum of London and the consortium of Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester Museum and Manchester City Galleries, to smaller specialist museums such as the Beamish Museum in County Durham.

May

Free digital arts service, The Space free digital arts went live

The Space, our landmark digital arts platform developed with the BBC, went live in May, launching major projects such as the digital archive of radio DJ John Peel's record collection and Kafka's Wound, an innovative 'digital' literary essay by Will Self. It has piloted a new commissioning model for arts and culture as well as significantly widened the reach of creative work.

June

London 2012 Festival opened with spectacular events across the UK

The four-year Cultural Olympiad saw a spectacular finale in a jam-packed 12-week festival of arts and culture. The UK-wide extravaganza saw over 25,000 artists from all 204 Olympic and Paralympic nations showcase the world's best music, theatre, dance, visual art, literature, film and fashion in towns and cities across the country.

July

Giant outdoor Godiva began her journey from Coventry to London

The giant 10-metre high Godiva puppet, powered by 100 cyclists and commissioned in the West Midlands for their Cultural Olympiad Artists taking the lead project, began her journey from Coventry to London to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

August

Major festival celebrating deaf and disability arts opened at London's Southbank Centre

The 11-day Unlimited Festival at London's Southbank Centre ran for the duration of the Paralympic Games and was also one of our flagship Cultural Olympiad projects. It brought together 29 ambitious new artworks by talented deaf and disabled artists across the country. Over 200 artists took part, including East Midlands-based ceramicist Paul Cummins and Yorkshire's multi-talented composer, musician and performer Jez Colborne.

September

Liverpool Biennial 2012

The seventh annual Liverpool Biennial was hailed as the biggest yet. For just over a month, the city was brought to life with contemporary arts events taking place in 27 locations and featuring a total 242 artists. The theme for this year's event was 'hospitality'.

October

Children and young people in arts and culture

In October we reported on the progress of some of our Music education hubs, which are widening children and young people's opportunities to learn and play music, and reviewed the ground-breaking youth participation model trialled by our Stories of the World programme. We also launched our Children and Young People blog, which has sparked new conversations about improving the quality of arts and culture experiences for children and young people in England.

November

BALTIC won a National Lottery Award

After months of public voting, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, one of our National portfolio organisations, emerged victorious as the Best Arts Project to receive funding from the National Lottery. The venue found out the good news with a surprise visit from sculptor, Antony Gormley.

December

Public online catalogue of the UK's entire collection of oil paintings is completed

The Public Catalogue Foundation and BBC's mission to make the UK's entire oil painting collection available online was finally completed. Your paintings hosts 211,861 paintings, 80 per cent of which are not physically on public display. The process of digitising the collection began in 2003, and you can find out more about it in our Digital R&D podcast on data and archives.