To investigate the role that publicly funded culture can play in our national recovery, we have created a new independent Commission on Culture and Local Government.
Councils are the biggest public funders of culture, spending over £1 billion a year in England alone. This includes 3,000 libraries, 350 museums, 116 theatres, and numerous castles, amusement parks, monuments, historic buildings and heritage sites.
However, the role councils and local cultural organisations play in our national cultural life is not always recognised at a national level, where funding is often fragmented and project based, creating problems around sustainability.
This commission intends to demonstrate the important contribution local council funded culture can make to the Levelling Up agenda and our recovery from COVID-19.
The commission will be chaired by Baroness Lola Young and will run from March to December 2022.
Lord Neil Mendoza, Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal will be acting as adviser for the commission.
The purpose of the commission is to bring national, regional and local actors in the publicly funded cultural realm together to explore and communicate:
- The unique role of council funded and supported culture in our recovery from COVID-19 and building back better, including its contribution to economic growth, levelling up and addressing regional inequalities.
- A vision for the future of council funded and supported culture in the context of place.
We want the commission’s findings and recommendations to support and shape the work of national and local policy makers, funders, and practitioners and to influence how culture is included in narratives around pandemic recovery and Levelling Up.
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As part of the commission, we invite councils and their local culture sector partners to submit case studies which demonstrate the value of publicly funded culture across the four key themes of the commission:
- Inclusive economic recovery
- Social mobility
- Health inequalities