Culture can have a powerful effect in driving economic vitality and regeneration in our cities, propelling innovation, investment, jobs and productivity – just look at Glasgow, Bristol or Hull. With the creative industries as our fastest growing sector, this is more true than ever, and offers an opportunity for cities across the UK to transform their economic potential with far reaching social benefits.
We can, and must, make best use of our cities’ cultural assets – to catalyse the development of creative and digital clusters across the country; to reanimate our high streets and city centres; and to foster, attract and retain the next generation of talent that will fuel our economic growth.
From Antwerp to Abu Dhabi, cities in Europe and beyond are prioritising cultural investment in the global competition for talent, investment, and tourists. We can’t afford to stand still. Some of our cities are already innovating to maximise the social and economic returns on culture, but others have yet to fully capitalise on this opportunity. Too often this is down to access to investment. The need to address this has become more urgent as the economy that underpins the success of our culture is changing, with a decline in local authorities’ ability to financially support culture driving a sustained downward trend in public investment.
We propose a package of measures to deploy culture to galvanise inclusive growth in ALL cities, focused on strategic local leadership, new investment models, smart use of cultural property assets, and more open and equitable career pathways into the creative industries.