Cornerstones of Culture

A group of chool children work on the floor with a dance practitioner
From HEAD to TOE
December 2, 2022
Buzzing About #BeeWell
February 2, 2023
A group of chool children work on the floor with a dance practitioner
From HEAD to TOE
December 2, 2022
Buzzing About #BeeWell
February 2, 2023

Local culture is key to recovery and prosperity

The final report of the Commission on Culture and Local Government

Culture, heritage and creativity are essential to our future national prosperity, levelling up and recovery from crisis, is the key finding of a new report by the Local Government Association's (LGA) Independent Commission in Culture and Local Government - launched today.

The report, ‘Cornerstones of Culture’, says that greater collaborative work between councils and cultural partners, combined with streamlined place-based funding from government, is crucial to supporting one of the fastest growing parts of the economy.
The Commission on Culture and Local Government was launched by the LGA in March and chaired by Baroness Lola Young of Hornsey. It has brought together several expert members from national, regional and local organisations - including Curious Minds' CEO, Derri Burdon - to explore the role local culture can play in supporting recovery from the pandemic. Together, the Commission considered topics such as health inequalities, social mobility, cultural education and creative skills.

It identified four key 'cornerstones' essential to a healthy local cultural ecosystem:
  • Capacity

  • Leadership

  • Funding

  • Evidence

    All of which are explored in the report, as well as how locally funded culture can benefit communities, the barriers facing culture, recommendations and more.

    Seventy-five years after councils first invested in the arts in our communities, following World War II, local culture still has an important contribution to make for local authorities. It can be used to support mental wellbeing, provide educational opportunity, and boost the economy as part of our recovery from the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis.

    According to the LGA, local government invests £1.1 billion directly in cultural services each year in England, but this funding is under significant strain with the gap as calculated before the 2022 Autumn Statement standing at £2.4 billion.

    Public funding is an essential part of the ecology of the arts and culture in the UK, which underpins growth in the creative industries and visitor economy. In 2019 the creative industries contributed £115.9 billion to the UK and accounted for 2.2 million jobs. These benefits can only be secured in the long-term with a sustainable funding settlement for local government.
    Speaking on the launch of this report, Baroness Lola Young, Chair of the Independent Commission on Culture and Local Government, said:

    “The pandemic was a powerful reminder that people reach for culture in times of crisis, as well of those of joy and celebration. Access to culture and creativity provides hope and inspiration and enriches people’s lives. That access must be fair for all."
    “The publication of this report is not the end of the story. I hope our findings and recommendations will help councils, regional bodies, cultural arms-length bodies and national government to work together with cultural organisations and communities to weather the latest storm and secure the future of this vital community infrastructure.”
    Reflecting on her involvement as one of the Independent Commissioners, Derri Burdon said:

    “I feel privileged to have been invited to contribute to the Commission on Culture. It has been timely opportunity to champion the crucial role Local Government and Local Authority Officers need to play to ensure all children and young people can access brilliant arts and culture where they live."

    Spread the word

    Share the following suggested Tweet to bring attention to this report and the work of the Commission.
    Today, @LGAcomms has launched the final report of their #CultureCommission, exploring the value of publicly funded culture in our communities. Alongside the benefits that culture provides, the report highlights what's needed for the sector to thrive.

    Further Reading

    The Commission received 50 case studies of work taking place.
    Four videos have launched to show how culture delivers against the four key themes of the report.
    The ‘Forget what you think you know… Culture’ Podcast outlines why culture is important, in the words of Baroness Lola Young, Presenter Bobby Seagull and Creative Director Chenine Bhathena.

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