Portraits of Recovery (PORe), a unique Manchester organisation using the arts to increase understanding of substance use recovery, has secured two years development funding from Arts Council England’s Elevate scheme.

PORe is one of only 45 organisations nationally to be accepted onto the two year Elevate programme, which aims to improve the resilience of culturally diverse led organisations. A £4.3m pot of National Lottery funding will be shared amongst the successful organisations.

As part of the scheme, PORe will receive funding to secure two new staff members, recruit a business consultant to develop a business plan, diversify fundraising and put in place new digital resources. It also builds upon PORe’s strategic partnerships.

Manchester-based PORe was founded in 2011 on the lived experience of recovery activist, curator and director Mark Prest.

The organisation commissions new work from contemporary visual artists that helps improve the lives of people and communities in recovery by challenging mainstream narratives on substance use

Internationally acclaimed, PORe has commissioned a range of award winning works including films and visual arts installations.

PORe director Mark Prest has written for The Guardian and Drink and Drugs News about the significant role the arts can play within the addiction recovery agenda.

Mark said: “PORe is an internationally award-winning visual arts commissioning agency, founded on my background in the arts and the resilience of my own lived experience.

“PORe views recovery as a process of transformation, and visual artists as a critical resource in providing a platform for voice, choice and control of self-representation for people and their communities in recovery.

“Just over a decade ago, my own recovery journey was the impetus behind the work and for founding the organisation.

“PORe aims to use the arts as a cultural platform for the emancipation of those in recovery. PORe views people and communities in recover as social assets with newly responsible ways of living – free from substance and self harming behaviours. Recovering people offer society much to be learned.

“Engaging with the arts plays a critical role in supporting people in recovery to reinvent themselves and find a new place in the world.

“I’d like to thank all the artists we have commissioned, and all the participants and their communities who’ve taken part in our work. They are the most important elements of what we do. None of this would have been possible without the continuing love and support of my dog, Izzy.”

Abid Hussain, director of diversity, Arts Council England, said: “Supporting and nurturing diverse talent is a crucial priority for the Arts Council; through Elevate we are investing in an exciting pipeline of diverse organisations that make a vital contribution to the country’s cultural provision, empowering under-represented voices.

“I’m particularly pleased to note the increased scale of our Elevate funding, which demonstrates our continued ambition to create a more inclusive cultural sector which produces work relevant to people from all communities and backgrounds.”

Dave Moutrey, director and CEO of HOME, Manchester, and cultural lead for Manchester City Council, said: “Portraits of Recovery is a positive and vital force making exciting work and platforming unheard voices. I am delighted to be helping director Mark Prest on his journey through mentoring and advice.”


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