Cultural strategy for London - Museums Association

Cultural strategy for London

GLA to publish tourism strategy and toolkit next year highlighting the value of the capital’s arts, theatres and museums. By Patrick Steel
Patrick Steel
The Greater London Authority (GLA) is to publish a cultural tourism strategy and toolkit alongside a report outlining the economic and social value of London’s cultural and creative industries.

The initiatives were announced in the GLA’s Cultural Metropolis report, which was published last month.

The economic report will provide a comprehensive view of the value of London’s culture, including visual arts, theatres and museums.

Details of the strategy have yet to be confirmed. The spokesman says it will not involve a consultation process, although the GLA will involve key stakeholders.

Cultural Metropolis states that local authority spending on culture by London boroughs has fallen by 14% in the two years to 2012-13.

The report also recognises that culture in the city’s outer boroughs receives less investment than in the inner ones, although Arts Council England (ACE) and the Heritage Lottery Fund have done much to address this over the past four years.

The strategy should consider the whole of London, including the outer boroughs, says Sharon Ament, the director of the Museum of London, a major partner museum. She adds that the GLA can play a role in communicating the cultural offer and get behind the city’s overall cultural brand.

Ament says the work of museum development officers, with support from ACE, is critical, as it gives borough leaders confidence in the importance of culture.

The Cultural Metropolis report fails to reference the findings of last year’s Rebalancing Our Cultural Capital report, which showed the disparity in per capita funding between England’s regions and London.

But a GLA spokesman says redistribution misses the point, as a culturally vibrant London benefits all of the UK, and should be seen as part of an inter-dependent whole.

Erica Davies, the director of the Ragged School Museum in Tower Hamlets, which has seen its local authority grant cut from £70,000 to £3,000 over the past decade, believes the key for smaller organisations is finding a way in which to leverage funding from the corporate sector, something the GLA could help to broker.

She says she has seen little evidence of the “Olympic bounce” trumpeted in Cultural Metropolis’s list of achievements. For many smaller museums, the only strategy that matters is to find a way in which to survive.

Cultural Metropolis: forward plan


  • Cultural Tourism Strategy and toolkit.
  • Report on economic and social value of London’s cultural and creative industries.


  • Support for second phase of the Tate Modern extension.
  • Ongoing host meetings for London Arts and Culture Forum.
  • Ensure cultural and creative industries are embedded in regeneration plans.
  • Support Olympicopolis project and cultural district in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
  • Develop cultural hub in City of London, involving Museum of London and Barbican.

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