Agenda item

Cultural Strategy Consultation

To provide an update on the progress of consultation on a Cultural Strategy for North Tyneside.


The Sub-Committee received an update report on the progress of the consultation on a Cultural Strategy for North Tyneside.


Following the report to the Culture and Leisure Sub Committee of 2 November 2021 in which the following next steps were endorsed: -


  • A consultation process to be initiated by the Council with partners across the cultural sector, businesses, and the community, with a view to establishing a cultural compact for North Tyneside;
  • A steering group to be initiated to develop the compact as part of the process of developing a Cultural Strategy for the period to 2030, in line with the strategy timescale of Arts Council England.


A consultation strategy had been developed in order to engage those within the cultural sector and beyond in the shaping of a strategy for the Borough.


In conjunction with the Authority’s Head of Culture, work had been undertaken by Iain Watson OBE (former Director of Tyne and Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM)) and Catherine Hearne (former CEO Helix Arts) in order to gain feedback on the key issues for cultural activity as seen by a range of partners from across the Borough, in the light of new developments and new challenges within the sector.


The presentation provided an indication of themes emerging from the conversations to date with a selection of Creatives in Whitley Bay, North Shields, Wallsend and Longbenton. These included Equal access and confidence, Local identify, Discomfort and Invigorating cultural ambition.


The Centre for Cultural Value Report: Culture in Crisis (May 2022), set out the research findings of a project that had been shared with policymakers and more widely, so that cultural sector policy and practice could be informed by evidence emerging from the project, with recommendations to: 


·       Improve equality, diversity, and inclusion comprehensively

·       Provide skills training to employees and management

·       Establish “Creatives Connect”

·       Culture Forums to be established in LAs and CAs

·       “Mission orientated” funding mechanism for culture

·       Audience and participant led approach to creative and cultural policy interventions


A research briefing on the impact of digital technology on arts and culture in the UK was published in May 2022.  Regarding digital solutions – North Tyneside was at the forefront.


The North Tyneside challenges included:


1.     Facilitating the development of networks to support and bring together the creative, cultural and heritage communities – with economic, social, health and wellbeing, educational and intrinsic value. Some supporting infrastructure would be required to do this.


2.     Recognising supper-localism – for some people cultural engagement may be a gig in their neighbourhood pub, for others it may be travelling to see opera or panto or it is their children’s tap-dancing lessons?


3.     Supporting independent creatives and cultural organisations to access funding – whilst overall arts engagement was not in the lowest bands across the country (43.07%, national average 44.25%) it is a mixed picture, a need to bring investment at that supra-local level.


The sub-committee was invited to put forward comments/suggestions as part of the cultural strategy consultation process: -


·        Networking, sharing expertise and activities could help with equalities for those living in outreach areas and small villages within the borough: Work was being done on this by going out to a wider audience via policy teams with support from the Head of Culture.


·        Pop-up shops could be considered in utilising empty premises e.g., via the North Shields Masterplan to help engage people and potentially lead to viable businesses as this could have a positive impact on the community.

·        Expanding access to people from different areas to those parts of the borough where artists already provided activities.


·        Accessibility, networking, equalities, disabilities and social capital as part of the culture considerations was important.


·        Culture at grass roots level so that access to e.g., children and other groups to make it inclusive so there was no gap was essential: The Authority was committed to people being involved in the day-to-day things in bringing their valuable contributions to a cultural strategy.


·        Access to funding streams via the North of the Tyne Combined Authority (NoTCA) could be explored: A pitch to NoTCA and The Arts Council had already been made (informally) – it was suggested that the more bids done via networking for funding at the right level of engagement and inclusion, the better.


·        The key to getting support was via networking: The culture and creative sector structure could consider this with a view to help in the processing of bids.


A member of the sub-committee asked if Members could also be asked to be engaged in the consultation process on e.g., levelling-up and health and well-being?


The Chair, on behalf of the sub-committee, thanked Iain Watson OBE, Catherine Hearne and the Head of Culture for the report and presentation.


It was agreed to note the report, presentation and comments/suggestions made by 

the sub-committee on the Cultural Strategy consultation.




Supporting documents: