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Insight Paper: the role of cultural strategies in local cultural decision making

Updated: Apr 19

How are cultural strategies supporting increased local cultural decision making amongst citizens and local stakeholders? Who is and isn't included in the development of cultural strategies?

In this Insight Paper, we share key take-aways from the second in a series of Knowledge Exchange sessions hosted as part of 'the future of local cultural decision making' - an open policy development programme bringing 25 UK-wide partners together to explore how devolution and increased local decision making will impact on the creative, cultural and heritage ecosystem in different kinds of places.

The session was chaired by Professor Dan Ashton, Professor of the Cultural and Creative Industries in the Department of Art and Media Technology at Winchester School of Art at the University of Southampton. Dan recently published a comprehensive report on cultural strategies in the UK making him the perfect chair to guide us through the conversation!


We invited speakers from three internal partners alongside their respective external collaborators to contribute to the opening panel:

  • Georgina Roby (Culture & Events Service Manager, Wigan Council) and AL and AL (Independent Artists and authors of The Fire Within – Wigan’s Cultural Strategy) introduced the context in which the creation of a new cultural strategy for Wigan emerged and outlined the five stages of a five-year plan (research, engagement, launch, delivery and evaluation), sharing learnings as the strategy moves into the evaluation stage.


  • Erika Clark and Christine Osborne (Creative Programme Manager and Partnership Officer, Belfast City Council) provided an rich overview of the journey of Belfast’s cultural strategy, starting from its inception in 2017 as a bid for European Capital of Culture to the (ongoing at the time of publication) delivery of Belfast 2024.

  • Kate Brindley (Cultural Development Consultant, Sheffield City Council) and Tom Agar (Associate, Fourth Street) explained the background conditions for the development of Sheffield’s cultural strategy and took us through the extensive citizen engagement processes that will inform the strategy's ongoing development.


The paper captures some of the implications for policy that emerged during the roundtable discussion between the core partners and speakers that followed. These will be fed through into our growing body of evidence to inform the policymaking process set to begin later this year.

We'll be publishing more Insight Papers like this as we move through the programme, inline with our open approach to policymaking processes. If you'd like to be kept up to date with how the programme is developing, please sign up to our newsletter on our home page or visit the programme hub here.

Please do share this paper with your colleagues and networks and get in touch with us at if you have any questions or comments. We'd be delighted to know your thoughts!


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