Arts Council England (ACE) has published a three-year delivery plan that includes 54 “priority places” that need increased development time for the funder to grow cultural investment.
In each of priority places, the funder will collaborate with local authorities as well as cultural and community organisations to “identify the change they would like to see through culture”.
They include Brent in London, Mansfield, South Tyneside, Slough and the New Forest. Another town selected for priority attention is Swindon, where the council has just approved plans to close its museum and art gallery building in spite of local opposition, with the intention of developing a new cultural quarter in the town.
The arts council said it had identified the areas by looking at previous investment levels as well as data such as the 2019 English Index of Multiple Deprivation. It believes that despite low investment, the opportunity for increasing culture and creativity is high.
“They are all places where there is a will to make a positive difference and to effect a real change,” said Darren Henley, the art council’s chief executive officer in a recent blog.
“At the same time our commitment to these places does not diminish our existing, and future plans, across the country to support those communities that are already showing how a rich and diverse creative and cultural offering can be truly inspiring and nurturing for everyone.”
He added: “By 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish, and where every one of us has access to a remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences.”
Delayed for more than a year due to the pandemic, the delivery plan runs from 2021 to 2024 and will be updated annually. It aims to set out a roadmap to implements ACE’s 10-year Let’s Create strategy, which was published in January 2020.
The strategy's four investment principles are ambition and quality, dynamism, environmental responsibility, and inclusivity and relevance.