Nottingham to put culture at the heart of a successful local economy

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Nottingham could become a leading European city for culture and creativity by being at the forefront of a new approach to culture recommended by a national enquiry.

The Culture Cities Enquiry, chaired by Virgin Money Boss Jayne-Anne Gadhia, has published its recommendations today (Tuesday 5th February). It brought together leaders from across the cultural, education, design, hospitality and city leadership sectors to explore how the UK could better use culture to unlock its potential, promote thriving communities and enable cities to compete successfully for talent, tourism and business investment.

Some of the Enquiry’s key recommendations include:

  • Cities should establish cultural agreements to create and establish a stronger vision for culture
  • Cultural organisations in the city should look at stronger ways to share professional expertise
  • Local business and investors should be given incentives to invest in cultural ventures
  • The Government should encourage and extend tax relief opportunities across the creative and cultural sector

The Enquiry’s recommendations have been welcomed in Nottingham, whose Strategic Cultural Partnership (SCP) is already working to build on Nottingham’s existing vibrant culture. The SCP brings together the City Council, University of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent University, Marketing NG, One Nottingham and Nottingham’s Creative Quarter to build on the Cultural Statement and Framework already written for the City.

Paul Russ, Chief Executive of Dance4 and Chairman of the SCP, said: “Nottingham has all the foundations for becoming one of Europe’s leading cities for culture and creativity. I believe the city is perfectly placed to capitalise on the enquiry’s recommendations ensuring that culture is right at the heart of the city’s vision to transform the prospects for future generations and position the city as a beacon of international cultural excellence.”

Whilst the city has many challenges, it has seen growth in its cultural provision with many companies now recognised by the Arts Council England as nationally significant.

Key factors for Nottingham include:

  • Nottingham City in the last Arts Council Funding round saw an increase in National Portfolio Organisations based in the City rising from eight to 14
  • Arts Council funding awarded to the City over the next four years is expected to be worth over £25 million to the Cities  local economy
  • We have an enabling environment for creativity, with our two world class universities and quality graduates
  • Nottingham outscores Paris, Edinburgh, Barcelona, Munich and Vienna (and 159 other cities) for its ‘Enabling Environment’ for Culture and Creativity according to the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and its first Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor paper published in 2017.

Nottingham wants to use its creativity and cultural vibrancy as a major economic driver in future.

Councillor Jon Collins, Leader of Nottingham City Council said: “Nottingham is perfectly positioned to take on board these recommendations. We have a strong existing partnership that is already working on finding new ways for culture and creativity to transform the lives of local people and help strengthen our economy and our position in the world.

“With massive Government cuts to the council’s funding, it’s welcome that this report challenges the Government to help us find a radically different approach to delivering cultural provision. I know that in our partners and across the city we have a huge wealth of talent, passion and creativity to rise to the challenge and make Nottingham stand out.”

Stephanie Sirr, Chief Executive of Nottingham Playhouse, said: “Nottingham Playhouse has been awarded Regional Theatre of the Year for 2019. This achievement would not be possible without the appetite for significant partnership working with our diverse communities, with our local authority, with national and international partners and with the incredible, vibrant and forward-looking cultural sector in our city.”

Professor Shearer West, Vice-Chancellor and President, University of Nottingham, said: “The University of Nottingham strongly believes in the value of culture and the vital role of creativity, exemplified through innovative research, teaching and learning, and shared widely through our successful arts and heritage public programme delivered by Lakeside Arts.  We fully endorse the city’s ambition to develop a holistic vision for culture and creativity, and we will work collaboratively with our partners to achieve this goal.”

Professor Edward Peck, Vice-Chancellor of Nottingham Trent University, said: “Since 1843 NTU has been at the forefront of creativity and culture in Nottingham, and today we continue to play a key role in developing and supporting cultural activity in the city through the work of our staff, students and alumni, and our partnerships with the city’s arts and heritage organisations. As a member of Nottingham’s Strategic Cultural Partnership, and through our strategic commitment to enriching society, we are very supportive of the city embarking on the next stage of its cultural and creative development and we will work with our partners to help Nottingham achieve all of its ambitions.”

Head of One Nottingham Nigel Cooke said: “I welcome this enquiry as One Nottingham promotes culture and creativity as a means of encouraging people to aspire and to succeed in varied activities, sectors and communities. Our ambition is to go even further in connecting creativity to business and education through our Young Creative Awards and encouraging participation through our community cultural festivals and education partnerships.”