Open Call to Creatives to Join York’s New Culture Forum

In 2020, the ambitious Culture Strategy mapping out the next five years of York’s Creative Future was launched. A joint initiative between Make It York, City of York Council and the Cultural Leaders Group, the strategy aims to create opportunity and make culture relevant and accessible to everyone in the city.  

The next step in York’s cultural journey is to open up the existing Cultural Leaders Group to anyone involved in the city’s creative and cultural sector, including individual artists, organisations and community groups, in what will become the new ‘Culture Forum’. The Culture Forum is open to anyone working within arts and heritage, including collections, combined arts, dance, libraries, literature, museums, music, theatre and the visual arts, as well as people’s own creative participation in, and interpretations of, culture based within York.   

The Culture Forum will be a space where people can learn about and contribute to the Culture Strategy’s future direction, whilst enabling knowledge sharing, networking and partnership building. Replacing the existing Cultural Leaders Group – which consisted of 40 leaders across the cultural creative sector in the city – the new Culture Forum will have the opportunity to elect their own executive group. In doing so, York will become the first city with an elected cultural executive group in the UK.  

To join the Culture Forum, please sign up at York Culture Forum (  There will be two taster sessions via Zoom on 12th January at 3pm and 17th January at 1.30pm, before the first Culture Forum meets in late January.   

Helen Apsey, Head of Culture and Wellbeing at Make It York and Co-Chair of York Culture Forum, said: “We’re really excited to be starting the Culture Forum this January. One of our key priorities in the Culture Strategy is the ability to change the way we work to become more collaborative, and this is a major step towards this goal. We’re looking forward to seeing how the Culture Forum develops and to meeting many more people working within the cultural and creative sector, to share knowledge, develop new partnerships and to support network building. We’d encourage everyone who’s curious about the forum to come to one of our taster sessions in January to find out more.” 

Councillor Darryl Smalley, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Communities, said: “Inclusion, participation and representation is at the core of York’s Creative Future. The Cultural Leader’s Group has served as a representative and excellent partnership of the city’s creative minds. However, as we work to put the principles of the new Culture Strategy into practice, creating a more inclusive and open forum will ensure that we make culture even more relevant and accessible to everybody in York, regardless of age, background or postcode. 

 “York is home to so many extraordinary and creative people, all of whom make this city such a vibrant place for culture and creativity. I would urge those keen to shape our city’s creative future to consider joining the new Forum at this very exciting and important time for our great city.” 

Reyahn King, CEO of York Museums Trust and former Chair of the Cultural Leaders Group, said: “When developing the Culture Strategy, we set out to be collaborative and listen to the views of creative people in York. There was a clear demand for a wider, more inclusive forum for culture so creating it is a natural step in the delivery of the Culture Strategy for York.” 

For more information: 

Sarah Foster and Brittany Guymer 

Make It York Communications Team 

Notes to Editors: 

About the Culture Strategy 

York’s Creative Future has inclusion and participation at its core, and the commitment to ensure that culture is relevant and accessible to everybody in York – regardless of age, background or postcode. It places culture at the heart of activities from major capital developments, to residents’ wellbeing – and will work to ensure cultural entitlement for every child. 

The Culture Strategy has the ambition to transform York – and by 2025 we believe 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. 

About Make It York 

Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally – as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business. Its mission is to grow the economic prosperity and wider wellbeing of York and its citizens. In practice, this means delivering a range of projects and programmes based around our corporate strategic priorities.   

These are:  

  • City positioning and profile-raising 
  • Ensuring an exciting city centre 
  • Delivering the city’s ground-breaking Cultural Strategy 

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