Consultants sought to help create culture strategy
19 November 2021
North Devon and Torridge District Councils are working together to create a cultural strategy and delivery plan across both districts.
North Devon Council, working closely with Torridge District Council wishes to commission a consultancy firm with the expertise and skill to build and deliver this strategy.
The strategy will seek to:
- deliver a powerful shared vision for the future of culture in the region
- be distinctive and relevant to Northern Devon, taking into account our region’s international Biosphere designation and the high quantity of natural, archaeological and built heritage in the district
- reflect the needs (economic, educational and social) of all people who live and work in the area
The strategy will first and foremost need to be 'place-based'; focusing on the geography, socio-economic status and demographics of the area. It should cover artistic programming, existing cultural organisations, creative businesses and practitioners, community groups, cultural buildings and facilities, festivals, audiences, training and education.
The aim is to create a distinctive and inspiring vision for culture in the region for the next 10 years, including strategies for increasing cultural engagement that can be used by practitioners and organisations to focus their activities and projects.
Both councils believe that:
- culture and identity are at the heart of social cohesion and wellbeing
- everyone should have the opportunity to create, participate and be an audience for culture
- encouraging a thriving culture in our communities will enable the visitor economy to prosper too
There are several factors which are driving this piece of work, one being the fact that North Devon District was recently identified as a Priority Place by Arts Council England (ACE). Another is the fact that the Covid pandemic has had a significant adverse affect on our residents' mental health and studies have shown that participation in culture can have a positive effect on wellbeing.
Councillor David Worden, Leader of North Devon Council says: "Northern Devon is a special place. Historically the area (made up of the two districts of Torridge and North Devon) has considered itself distinct from the rest of the county of Devon, with its own character and traditions, cut off from surrounding areas by the natural barriers of Devon’s two moors and our extensive coastline.
"Culture is who we are. It is our identity, informed by our past and which shapes our future. It is all that we do, how we live and express ourselves. It is what gives our communities and our region its soul. Working with our partners such as the Plough Arts Centre, Petroc and the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, we want to improve access to culture and heritage across Northern Devon for all age groups and communities, from things to do and places to go to national and international culture and new ways of thinking."
"We want to make Northern Devon an even better place to live, work, visit, play and stay."
Torridge District Councillor Cheryl Cottle-Hunkin, Lead Member for Community, Culture and Leisure says: “The cultural sector in Northern Devon is once again slowly recovering from the effects of the pandemic. The importance of the arts was recognised recently by Torridge District Councillors through funding approvals for the Plough Arts Centre and the Burton Art Gallery. It is vital that these highly-regarded cultural hubs are supported; they are invaluable for improving community wellbeing, social cohesion, and raising aspirations, as well as benefitting the economy by attracting people from across Devon and far beyond its boundaries.
I am so pleased we are working together with North Devon Council to plan the next phases of growth, and to develop the cultural sector here as a whole. The area of Northern Devon really is so special, with so much to offer in terms of art, creativity, and heritage. The input of local people to help shape our strategy is very important and we hope you will take the opportunity to get involved in creating this cultural vision!”
Potential applicants should ensure that the strategy is based on effective community consultation, which is essential to a successful outcome, particularly with less engaged groups; and be aligned to potential funding streams such as Levelling Up and ACE programmes.
The deadline for applications is 7 December 2021 and any professionals hoping to apply can do so by visiting the Proactis procurement portal.