Arts council england announces commitment to kirklees as one of 54 priority places nationally

Let's create places where talent thrives

Today, Arts Council England has announced that Kirklees will be one of 15 priority places in the North where they want to develop new opportunities for investment. Part of the publication of its three-year Delivery Plan for 2021 – 2024.

What does the plan include? 

Arts Council England’s three-year Delivery Plan sets out a detailed roadmap to implement the vision of their strategy Let’s Create: by 2030 England will be a country in which the creativity of each individual is valued and given the chance to flourish, and where everyone has access to a remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences.

The Delivery Plan highlights where there are opportunities for investment, collaboration, and progress.

The publication of the Delivery Plan follows the Government’s unprecedented £1.96 billion Culture Recovery Fund, administered by the Arts Council and other bodies.

Driven by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, with the backing of Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak, the Culture Recovery Fund is the biggest one-off investment in culture from the Government in history, providing a vital lifeline to save our cultural sector and help organisations prepare for reopening.

Is this a result of the pandemic?

Let’s Create was written just before the pandemic, but the vision still holds true and if anything is even more critical now.

Creativity and culture can, and should, play a part in helping level up the country.

To help make this vision a reality the Delivery Plan names 54 priority places across England. Arts Council will work closely with these locations to develop new opportunities for investment, both from the Arts Council and other partners.

Across the North, from Barnsley to Blackpool, South Tyneside to Kirklees, County Durham to Wigan, and Barrow-in-Furness to the Tees Valley, priority places recognise the need for cultural investment, and it will give more people the opportunity to enjoy high-quality cultural experiences in their communities and neighbourhoods.

Kirklees is at the beginning of an exciting cultural journey.

This West Yorkshire district has ambitions to put culture at the heart of place transformation and economic strategy. Kirklees Council’s 10-year Blueprint masterplans for Huddersfield and Dewsbury offer ambitious long-term visions for place, with culture set to regenerate the high street and town centre.

Kirklees is building towards its Year of Music 2023, celebrating its world class music offer, with partners such as Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Grand Northern Ukulele Festival and Music Education Hub, Musica Kirklees.

Since the beginning of the pandemic Kirklees has received £2,124,271 investment from the Arts Council through the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.

How have these places been chosen? 

The criteria is based on a review of current public investment and opportunities to engage with creative and cultural activity. Each of the priority places are ambitious to drive positive change through culture.

In the last decade, the Arts Council has significantly shifted its investment outside of London. The aim in Let’s Create is to increase focus on specific places underserved in the past. Priority places are just one of the ways in which the Arts Council is committed to levelling up by strengthening cultural and creativity opportunities in a targeted way.

Councillor Will Simpson, Cabinet Member for Culture and Greener Kirklees said:

“We are very pleased that Arts Council England (ACE) has selected Kirklees as one of its priority places. We look forward to working with ACE to achieve our considerable cultural ambitions, like the Year of Music 2023 and the development of the Cultural Heart in Huddersfield Town Centre.

“Together we can create opportunities for our communities to be more creative, attract investment in to Kirklees, and engage with a wide range of cultural activities as we rebuild from Covid.

“By placing culture at the heart of our community and economic regeneration plans – and with the support of ACE to attract the investment required to deliver – we can ensure that our communities can not only recover from the events of the last couple of years, but thrive as we move forward, together.”

 Pete Massey, Director, North, Arts Council England, said:

“I am pleased to see Kirklees announced today as one of our 15 priority places across the North. The launch of our Delivery Plan, which sets out how we’ll implement our new 10-year strategy Let’s Create, and the announcement of our priority places will see us working closely with partners across Kirklees to ensure that creativity and culture can play a key role in levelling up across the North.

“The Government’s Culture Recovery Fund has provided a lifeline to arts and cultural organisations during the pandemic. It is important that we now continue to invest in the cultural sector to ensure everyone across the country can access art and culture no matter where they live. The launch of our Delivery Plan and announcement of a set of priority places shows our commitment to this.

“Kirklees is a place with a rich cultural history and strong musical presence. It is fantastic to see the ambition of Kirklees Council and the sector to grow the region’s cultural offer. I look forward to working with partners across the culture sector and in the local authority in Kirklees as they begin to realise their cultural plans.”

Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, says

“Artists, arts organisations, museums and libraries have found creative new ways to serve their audiences and communities since the start of the pandemic. Our new Delivery Plan shows how we’ll work with them to build on that spirit of imagination and innovation as our society reopens. It’s particularly exciting to be focusing on our 54 priority places over the coming years, as part of the Arts Council’s commitment to play its part in delivering on the government’s programme of levelling up. We’re looking forward to nurturing dynamic new partnerships with local people and organisations in each of these locations.”

You can find out more about the 54 priority places at Arts Council England and read more on the Delivery Plan