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Arts and Cultural Strategy

Last updated on: 09-Apr-2021

4. Priorities

The council is committed to ensuring that the cultural offer of the borough reflects its diversity and vibrancy. This strategy is the first step towards achieving this and the priorities that have been identified are as a result of our engagement with our residents and our artists community.

Delivering on those priorities with a detailed plan and time frame throughout the life of this strategy will support the cultural assurances within the corporate plan.

Growing a cultural and creative community

Gravesham is home to some incredible artists and arts organisations who, in turn are working with our communities to expand our offer making it accessible, vibrant and interesting and makes everyone feel included. We will work with our regeneration partners to establish arts and culture in our built environment. We will embed our cultural vision in our policies and develop our community through in the following ways.

  • Continually explore opportunities for arts and culture around the Borough
  • Establishing overarching recognition of the value of arts and culture in the borough throughout council policy. Striving to reinforce the cultural agenda centrally as a vehicle for stronger place making and community cohesion.
  • Develop a cluster of ‘Make it’ spaces for artists to make, exhibit and present work as well as develop their own artistic practice. The work on this has already begun with the St Georges and St Andrews arts centre
  • Establishing a new theatre space for Gravesham that is fit for purpose and provides a cultural community hub for the borough whilst ensuring high quality accessible creative content. Part of the St Georges regeneration programme
  • Developing a cultural environment that is no longer solely confined by access to buildings and venues. Responding to the pandemic to ensure our plans are resilient and flexible.
  • Establish an Artist in Residence Scheme – we will establish a scheme for artists to work in Gravesham with our community developing their practice and giving our residents and visitors high quality experiences and opportunities.
  • Develop the skills and diversity of our cultural workforce and that of our partners
  • Create a volunteer network to support cultural events and the heritage sector and to enhance knowledge and enthusiasm for our assets.

Partner comment - To have a reputation as a destination for lovers of the arts, such that people will travel here for major events and be happy to visit knowing they will find something of interest on offer.

Supporting and developing artists and creatives

Gravesham is home to many exciting artists and creatives with many more planning to relocate to the area. We wish to make a home for artists where they are central to the place making and success of the borough.

  • Establishing a grant funding programme for local artists and creatives that can make a real difference to the work that is produced. We will do this with meaningful grants for artists to make work in Gravesham that has relevance to our community.
  • Supporting local artists through grants and resources to work in partnership with GBC culture to leverage in funding from other sources to support work developed in and for Gravesham. This strand of work will be to exploit the opportunities that are on offer to ensure that we are driving our cultural agenda and bringing significant additional value to the community.
  • Working with our creative businesses and partners to help freelance practitioners grow their practice and take SME’s to the next level supporting sustainability.
  • Create a directory of assets, artists and creatives to establish joined up thinking within the sector, greater inclusivity for all groups and better understanding of the offer in the community. We will build on the Gravesham Arts Salon model to encourage our artists and creatives to work in partnership both within the borough and over the borders to bring great experiences to our community.
  • Ensuring that the live experience remains central to the programme of events at our venues whilst learning from and embracing digital platforms and ‘comet’ thinking. This sector has been stricken exponentially with the pandemic and we are committing to identifying new ways to deliver the live experience.

Resident comment - Attendance by diverse vibrant communities, fun events for families/ young children, promoting trust and creativity.

Establishing a vibrant and aspirational arts and cultural events programme.

Building on the work that has been established over a number of years we have the opportunity to create a festival town. With the pandemic making outdoor activity the most secure option for audiences we will develop that into annual festivals of events.

  • Building on existing programmes to establish an annual festival of arts and culture in the summer months
  • Accessing other funding streams to build in resilience and sustainability of our offer.
  • Ensuring that the diversity that defines the borough is reflected in all our activities
  • Encouraging and supporting the enthusiasm for accessing culture across new platforms to develop live/as live festivals
  • Creating a culture card that offers residents access to cultural events and activities and embeds knowledge of the sector.
  • Ensuring all events are working towards and low carbon borough

Resident comment - Build on the strong legacy of community events and support creativity and cultural cohesion within the borough.

Enhancing and promoting our assets and heritage

  • Embed creative delivery and learning opportunities into our open spaces, built heritage locations and River. Creating new ways of interpreting our unique heritage
  • Developing an annual series of events that showcase our unique heritage in an innovative way, becoming part of our annual festival programme.
  • Enabling our built heritage locations to enhance the visitor experience by developing exciting and engaging displays, exhibitions and interpretation

Residents comment - Thriving. Lots of history but forward looking too. Genuine preservation and celebration of our architecture and heritage.

Developing our children and young people creatively

  • Working with youth groups to ensure that our young people are given the chance to work effectively within the creative sector.
  • Developing specific funding stream of grants for young people which can be used to leverage in funding from external organisations.
  • Working with schools and young people to develop artists in all genres for the future; encouraging new working practices and including digital platforms
  • Working with artists and creatives in the borough to develop an educational/learning offer within the cultural delivery programme.
  • Working with schools to enable all young people to experience live/as live performance through our programmes and workshops

Resident comment - I would love to think there would clearly be on offer thriving examples of arts, theatre, film, learning the above, using our outside and inside spaces for all ages, possibly including work with local schools and other education establishments. For all ages and cultures in Gravesham to offer and share combined entertainment. We have so much we could learn from each other. I look forward to it.

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