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Arts and Cultural Strategy

Last updated on: 09-Apr-2021

3. Context

To develop and deliver a strategy during a period of turmoil and upheaval is to be given the opportunity to see the world anew, to recognise our strengths and our abilities and to emerge with a flexible and visionary plan for our future. In order to ensure that we are aligned across the borough, the nation and the sector we have created the arts and culture strategy paying particular attention to the strategies that surround it and the responses of our residents and partners.

Strategic Position

Gravesham Borough Council Corporate Plan

The arts and culture have been established as aims within the council’s corporate plan. The vision of the overall plan is to ‘deliver a Gravesham to be proud of’ with 3 overarching objectives – People, Place and Progress. The Place objective identifies the council’s commitments to arts and culture.

Place – Gravesham has a proud heritage and benefits from a strong, diverse local community. The plan has committed to a connected community with the following cultural assurances.

  • Enhancing the borough’s cultural offer.
  • Promoting Gravesham’s arts and heritage.

Gravesham is a borough of significant cultural heritage with a strong sense of community, something that the council commits to nurture in delivering a place where people want to live, work and enjoy. The council recognizes that it has the opportunity to bring people together, helping to consult, educate and celebrate in building a cohesive community. This identity extends to the cultural sector and the council understands the fundamental role that arts and culture will play in shaping a Gravesham for the future. These commitments are brought together to embed a responsibility to further develop the borough’s physical heritage and strong arts offer.

In addition to the direct references to enhancing the borough’s arts, culture and heritage offer the council are driving forward an ambitious town centre regeneration agenda that includes the creation of new outdoor spaces as well as a performance venue including a 500 seat theatre, cinema and studio space.

The arts and culture strategy will be delivered as part of a large volume of strategic work being undertaken by the council including the heritage and tourism strategy and the Gravesham Borough Market strategy

Arts Council England (ACE)

In recent years we have worked with ACE to further enhance the arts and cultural offer in our borough. We have had success with funding for one off projects such as Gravesham Riverside Fringe and we enjoy an open dialogue with the arts council. We have created the arts and culture strategy with the new Arts Council plan – Let’s Create 2020 – 2030. We have recognised where we have the opportunity to work with our community and ACE to develop our arts and culture offer responding to the outcomes identified in Let’s Create

  • Creative People
  • Cultural Communities
  • A Creative and cultural country

Resident comment - A town where people from outside the borough would recognise Gravesend as a town that is defined in a large part by its inclusive and vibrant creative and cultural identity.

Kent County Council

Kent County Council published their 10 year cultural ambition for Kent in 2017 with the vision that ‘by 2027 Kent will be a confident, vibrant county, where extraordinary cultural activity is available that enriches and transforms the lives of everyone’

KCC have identified three key actions to support this vision

  • Create – supporting and enabling the presentation of excellent art and the growth of world class creative productivity
  • Innovate – developing original and creative ideas, encouraging creative leadership and supporting skills and learning
  • Sustain – delivering access to finance, support for businesses, smarter ways of working, and empowering entrepreneurship.

Resident comment - Culture for any age promoting creativity, alternative art/music and the town itself.

Arts Partners and Colleagues

Gravesham is home to many exciting artists and creatives and we have been very active in recent years in developing our relationships with our arts partners. The arts and cultural strategy has been formed in consultation with those colleagues to ensure that we can deliver a holistic and realistic plan for the next five years with partner and community involvement at its core.

Gravesham is home to 39 creative businesses including the Panic Rooms, a cluster of escape rooms representing the largest in the country. The London Resort is also in development which has the potential to bring more creative business into the area.

Partner comment - Gravesham [could be] a place where multicultural artists across all genres are supported to make, develop and show their work and where the cultural offer for audiences and participants is always exciting and varied.

Response to context

Make it in Gravesham, the arts and culture strategy has responded the context of our world in 2020 and developed the following key priorities.

  • Growing a cultural and creative community
  • Supporting and developing artists and creatives
  • Developing a vibrant and aspirational arts and cultural events programme
  • Enhancing and promoting our assets and heritage
  • Developing our children and young people creatively.

In developing these priorities we have listened to our residents and partners through the engagement we have undertaken and recognised the synergy with relevant strategies We believe that they represent aims that are achievable and sustainable and we look forward to delivering them with our partners and our community.

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