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New Cultural Leadership

City Compacts for Culture provide fresh direction

City of Culture projects show what can be achieved when a city pulls together in support of culture to drive lasting social and economic benefits. Launched earlier this month, the Cultural Cities Enquiry (CCE) proposes a mechanism for spreading these gains more widely across cities.

Central to this mechanism are the City Compacts for Culture. These will bring together local partners with a shared interest in maximising the civic role of culture. With Arts Minister, Michael Ellis pledging £110k in government funding to trial compacts across England, partners will work together to create and deliver a plan to drive social and economic benefits from a thriving cultural ecosystem. Compact partners will include business, universities, local authorities, the cultural sector and LEPs, and will pledge to align focus around key goals, in order to unlock new resources for cultural projects.

The key,” according to Graeme Thompson of Sunderland University, “is to bring together partners who will commit to a shared vision around the impact that culture can make across the city.

Compacts will determine and drive the contribution of culture to local industrial strategies and other local economic and social development plans, according to local priorities, including:

  • Development of Creative and Digital Clusters
  • Local skills strategies – growing, attracting and retaining talent
  • Tourism and destination management plans
  • Other local priorities such as health strategies, where appropriate

BOP was a member of the CCE’s working group, as well as acting as key research partner.

Full CCE report here.

This is the first of a series of blogs related to findings of the CCE report. Our other blogs looked at the themes of talent, investment, and place.

- Jonathan Todd, Chief Economist

Image credit: Roundhouse © Nici Eberl