York’s Creative Future: York’s new Culture Strategy launches

Mapping out Yorks Cultural Strategy 2020  2025 

Today, to an online audience of over 100 delegates, and alongside some of England’s top culture experts, York Cultural Leaders’ Group launched the city’s new Culture Strategy for the next five years – York’s Creative Future, 2020 – 2025The strategy was released alongside a commitment to urgently focus on the areas of culture most in need, as a result of the effect of covid-19 pandemic on the sector. 

The strategy, which can be downloaded in full from makeityork.com/culture, aims to boost cultural activity in the city and places culture at the heart of activities – from major capital developments to residents’ wellbeing and cultural entitlement for every child. With inclusion and participation at its core, the strategy aims to ensure culture is relevant and accessible to everybody in York, regardless of age, background or postcode.  

The Culture Strategy has the vision that by 2025, York will be known as a city where outstanding, renowned heritage comes together with a cutting-edge and contemporary approach to creativity – reflecting the city’s rich history and its status as the UK’s first UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts. 

The Culture Strategy was brought together through robust consultation and workshops with York’s residents, creative groups and cultural organisations. It has taken on board what matters most to the people who live, work and study in the city and transformed these views into a plan of action to grow and develop York’s creative future.  

York’s Culture Strategy is a joint initiative and commitment between York’s Cultural Leaders Group*, City of York Council, and Make It York, the city’s destination management organisation, who leads on the strategy’s implementation. 

Today’s virtual launch featured a series of keynote speakers from across the cultural sector, including Dr Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England in conversation with York Museums Trust Chief Executive Reyahn King, and Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, Chief Executive of UK Music.   

Key issues from the strategy, were discussed at the launch event, including cultural engagement and inclusion, how culture can support wellbeing, children and young people’s cultural entitlement, talent development and retention, culture and place, and York’s national and international profile. A new video was also launched at the event, which has been created by local film makers Hewitt and Walker to encapsulate the resilience of York’s cultural industry, despite the challenges of 2020 and the future for the sector in the city.  

Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, said: “The Arts Council believes that everyone, irrespective of age or background, should have access to arts and culture as both participants and audiences. By embedding arts and culture at the heart of key elements across the city such as regeneration development, children and young people, talent development and retention, residents’ wellbeing and tourism, York’s Culture Strategy aligns with the vision of Let’s Create, our ten year strategy for 2020-2030. I look forward to seeing how York Culture develops and impacts on the lives of the local community and visitors to the city.” 

Greg Dyke, Chair at Make It York, said: “The launch of York’s new culture strategy is an exciting moment for our cultural and creative sector, and indeed for the city more broadly. Culture really came to the fore during lockdown, with artists and organisations responding to the pandemic with such spirit – showing great resilience and adapting to the significant and in some cases, very painful challenges, that it created.   

York’s Culture Strategy – York’s Creative Future – demonstrates the city’s commitment to urgently focus on and advocate for the areas of culture most in need, as a result of covid-19. The strategy sets an ambition to transform York by 2025 – ensuring it is known as a city where outstanding, renowned heritage comes together with a cutting-edge and contemporary approach to creativity – reflecting the city’s rich history and its status as the UK’s first UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts. 

Thanks to all the organisations and individuals across the city who have taken part in the discussions, consultations and whose creativity has helped us shape such a rich and varied strategy.” 

Reyahn King, Chief Executive of York Museums Trust, said: “York’s ambitious new Culture Strategy will further enhance York’s reputation as a vibrant city, bringing recognition for its contemporary creativity and outstanding heritage. It has already encouraged a more collaborative approach between the city’s cultural organisations from delivering the international York Mediale Festival to providing children’s activity bags in the city. At its heart is the priority to ensure that York culture is inclusive and gives York people and audiences full opportunities to participate, create and enjoy a wide range of exciting cultural experiences, regardless of age or background.”  

Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, UK Music Chief Executive, said: Music is central to all of our lives. It is a key part of our country’s cultural fabric and is integral to the vibrant arts scene in York. It also brings huge economic benefits. Our new research has found that in 2019, live music brought more than 600,000 music tourists to Yorkshire and the Humber, generating hundreds of millions of pounds of spending. In York alone, live music directly contributed £5.3m to the local economy in 2019.  

“Venues such as the Crescent, the York Barbican and Fulford Arms play a key role in York’s music success story and we must do all we can to ensure they flourish and get the support they desperately need as we look to recover from COVID-19.  

“I know that York’s Creative Future will play a crucial part in ensuring music and culture is inclusive and accessible to everyone in the city, and will be at the forefront of the post-pandemic economic and cultural regeneration.” 

Councillor Darryl Smalley, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Communities said: “York’s Creative Future as a strategy is coming to fruition in a world that is very different from the one in which it was initially planned. It’s now more important than ever to come together and work together to put York’s cultural offer at the forefront of recovery, supporting communities across York and building on the city’s reputation worldwide. York is home to so many extraordinary and creative people, all of whom make this city such a vibrant place for culture and creativity, and I would like to thank all the residents and organisations across the city who contributed to the development of this exciting strategy.” 

Find out more about York’s cultural transformation and download ‘York’s Creative Future’ here: www.makeityork.com/culture .  

For further information please contact: 

Amy Goodman – Consumer Communications Manager  

Email: amy.goodman@makeityork.com 

Notes to Editor 

*York’s Cultural Leader’s Group includes: 

Accessible Arts & Media; Aesthetica; Barbican; City of York Council; City Screen; English Heritage; Grand Opera House; Joseph Rowntree Theatre Ltd; Kaizen Arts Agency; Make It York; Music Venue Alliance; National Centre for Early Music; National Railway Museum; National Trust; Pilot Theatre; REACH (CEP); SLAP; The Guild of Media Arts; University of York; York Archaeological Trust (YAT); York Civic Trust (Fairfax House); York Dance Space; York Explore; York Literature Festival; York Mediale; York Minster; York Museums Trust; York Racecourse; York St John University; and York Theatre Royal.