London Councils and Arts Council England have heralded a new era in their support for arts and culture in London by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
The MOU confirms Arts Council England and London Councils’ commitment to working together and sets out their shared ambition to create culturally active, diverse, prosperous, cohesive and healthy communities in London.
In a climate of increased pressure on public funding, the MOU reflects how local authorities can work in more creative ways in order to achieve their goals. The document highlights four key principles that will drive a shared strategy for nurturing arts and culture across the capital:
- An integrated, place-based approach
- Building capacity and resilience of the arts and culture sector and the creative industries
- Extending access to arts and culture
- Strategic collaboration and advocacy
The MOU covers the period up to March 2020 and will be reviewed each year.
Cllr Darren Rodwell, London Councils’ Executive member for city development, said:
“London is known for world-class arts and culture, but we cannot take this for granted. Our city faces unique challenges such as low engagement with the arts in parts of the capital, lack of affordable workspace for artists, falling arts funding and how best to meet the cultural needs of our diverse and growing population.
“Arts Council England and London boroughs can achieve so much more if they join forces to respond to these challenges. By signing this MOU, working in a more strategic way and monitoring progress, we can ensure London’s vibrant arts and culture sector, which is so important to our local communities and the economy, continues to thrive in the years ahead.”
Darren Henley OBE, CEO of Arts Council England, said:
“The Arts Council is exceptionally proud of London’s status as a world capital of the arts, and wholly committed to maintaining it, as part of the country’s cultural ecology. But we can’t do this alone. Wherever you are, to make successful art and culture grow – and reap the dividends they bring – local knowledge is invaluable. This is particularly resonant in London, with its nuanced neighbourhoods and distinct borough characteristics. I am certain that by working with London Councils, and the vast and multi-faceted expertise they bring, we can create a truly representative and resilient creative capital.”
The MOU also highlights that London’s cultural offer is not just for Londoners – the capital is a domestic and international tourist destination and a gateway to the rest of England, and its arts and culture sector is being mutually dependent on the regions – each benefitting from the activity of the other.
Notes to Editors:
1. London Councils represents London’s 32 borough councils and the City of London. It is a cross-party organisation that works on behalf of all of its member authorities regardless of political persuasion. It also runs a number of direct services for member authorities including the Freedom Pass, Taxicard and Health Emergency Badge. It also runs an independent parking appeals service and a pan-London grants programme for voluntary organisations.
2. Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2015 and 2018, we plan to invest £1.1 billion of public money from government and an estimated £700 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.