The Service Lead – Countryside and Leisure outlined his report, which provided a workscope for the planned ten year Culture Strategy that was approved by Cabinet in May 2021.
It provided a detailed scoping document for the future development and enhancement of the Council’s ambitions for cultural development as articulated in the Council Plan. The Culture Strategy would seek to build on the existing work of the Council focussed mainly around the Thelma Hulbert Gallery, as a cultural hub and the Arts & Culture Forum and the newly created Arts Culture East Devon (ACED) network through a more cohesive and strategic approach to arts and culture and also
seeking to add capacity and resource into meeting these ambitions.
The Culture Strategy workscope would also seek to synergise with the planned Tourism Strategy work to enable an enhanced cultural programme, and to help support and link into the District’s distinctive cultural tourism offer through better promotion, marketing and scaling up of the Council’s work in this area that are linked directly to the social and economic recovery of the district through cultural tourism, green initiatives, educational opportunities and ‘Made in Devon’ retail.
The Culture Strategy workscope was an opportunity to place culture at the heart of the Council’s recovery planning (both economically and socially).
The aim of the Culture Strategy was to:
· Build and secure place-based strategic partnerships and local community ownership around a shared 10 year vision for East Devonand the surrounding areas.
· Reflect the needs of people who live and work in the district.
· Provide a compelling and robust framework to attract future investment from public, private, community and social enterprise sectors, including national investment sources such as Department for Culture, Media and Sport; Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Arts Council England and the National Lottery.
· Guide a sustainable, inclusive development of the area that is fit to meet global challenges of climate and ecological breakdown and growing inequalities.
The Arts and Culture East Devon (ACED) Executive Group would act as the steering group for the cultural strategy development and was one of the primary consultative platforms. Consultants with extensive experience in cultural strategy, process, development and design were sought. The Service Lead reported that there had been a fantastic response; interviews would be held the following week it was hoped consultants would be appointed by 31 January 2022.
Those present agreed that it was a fantastic strategy and essential to finding funding from elsewhere, especially during the current financial challenges. There were other challenges involved with bringing diverse groups together across rural areas and understanding the priorities for towns. The strategy would help to create a map of activities across the district.
It was suggested that an additional aim of the cultural strategy should be to ‘harness the talents and aspirations of the people that lived in the district’ – to provide opportunities for people to be able to get involved and be part of a cultural collaboration/community.
RECOMMENDED: that the Arts and Culture Forum recommend to Cabinet that the scope of work for producing the Culture Strategy evidence base as detailed in the report, be approved.