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Cities Policy




Refik Anadol’s ‘Machine Memoirs: Space’ at Coventry City of Culture 2021

Our Culture priorities

  • Championing culture as a key vehicle for delivering local-led recovery and renewal across the Key Cities which promotes the efficient, sustainable use of existing resources and leverage new investment through increased capacity and coordinated action.
  • Supporting the development of Cultural Compacts to bring together local partners to consider incentives for investment and promote inward investment.
  • Building effective local partnerships that deliver on diversity and inclusion, and takes a local approach to culture, ensuring positive engagement in all communities and cultivating a growing workforce which offers opportunities to people from every background.

Key Cities place culture at the heart of our strategies, as culture is part of what distinguishes us as cities. Culture is how communities are knitted together for mutual benefit and is an important driver of growth which can revitalise our urban centres, stimulate the creative industries, develop skills, create jobs, inspire innovation, build community cohesion, improve mental health, drive change, attract investment and enable growth. Investing in culture that connects with everyone in our cities is, in short, one of the most effective tools the Government can use to give substance to its levelling up ambitions.

Within the Key Cities alone, the arts, entertainment and recreation sectors are home to around 57,000 jobs, delivering an estimated £2bn in GVA annually. The continued impact of COVID-19 and our response is having a devastating impact on the cultural sector as tourism and visitor numbers fall.

Central to Key Cities’ approach is to develop ‘Cultural Compacts’ – local cross-sector and civic partnerships to maximise the social and economic benefits from a thriving cultural ecosystem – which were proposed in 2019 by the independent Cultural Cities Enquiry, which was jointly sponsored by Key Cities, Core Cities and Arts Council England. Twenty of these Compacts received Government seed funding through the Arts Council, and following a successful evaluation, the Enquiry has recommended that a further 100 should be similarly supported.

Key Cities will explore how member cities can best be supported through the network, by sharing knowledge and best practice in areas such as cultural partnership-building, developing place-based cultural offers, marketing and promotion.

Portfolio Lead

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