The 2.6 million people living in Greater Manchester have been invited to respond to the region’s first ever cultural strategy, which hopes to make the city “the best place in the world to create, participate and engage with culture and heritage”.
Focusing on culture’s potential to positively impact people and places, the strategy aims to create strong relationships with partner towns and cities and make diversity central to cultural activities.
The strategy, which will take effect for five years from January 2019, stresses that culture must be a “vital part of the lives of our residents”.
It identifies three overarching themes on which culture can have an impact: health and wellbeing, education and the economy, and regeneration and communities. A series of priorities are then set out to help achieve outcomes in these areas.
These range from removing barriers to engagement and creating a ‘joined-up’ approach to volunteering, to developing entrepreneurial attitudes and celebrating culture’s position at the heart of the night-time economy.
Several ‘cross-cutting’ themes are said to underpin the strategy. These include quality, sustainability, resilience, internationalisation and accessibility.
The consultation will run for six weeks, with the final document due to be published before the end of the year.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said that it was “only right” that diversity is central to the cultural strategy.
“We will work with relevant organisations to ensure that our workforce reflects and speaks to a broad range of people and supports all residents in the city region on their cultural endeavour,” he said.
Chief Executive of Wigan Council and Greater Manchester Portfolio Lead for Culture, Donna Hall, added: “We understand that culture and creativity aren’t just the preserve of professional artists and cultural organisations. Creativity can be found throughout Greater Manchester, in our homes, on our streets, in our nurseries, schools, colleges, workplaces and in our care settings.”
“We want to celebrate and support the creativity of all our residents and to promote and secure a sustainable future for our cultural organisations,” a Greater Manchester Authority spokesperson said. “We’re incredibly keen to get a strategy that really speaks to and supports the diversity and distinctiveness of culture in Greater Manchester.”
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