This report provides an update on the development of the borough’s new ten-year Cultural Strategy.
Thomas Dodd (Arts Officer) presented the item updating the Committee on the development of the new borough-wide Cultural Strategy which was due to be published in the first quarter of 2023. Paul James (Activist Group, a consultancy supporting work on the strategy) and Melanie Nock (Executive Director of HF ArtsFest) were also in attendance.
Paul James (Activist Group) gave a short presentation on the work undertaken to date and the next steps. He noted that the aim was to present a full working draft of the new cultural strategy for feedback and comments by members in March 2023.
Councillor Adam Peter Lang asked how the Council was engaging with young people. Paul James said an engagement event had been planned at a local school. Two other schools had expressed an interest in holding engagement events.
Councillor Jackie Borland asked how engagement would be balanced between Hammersmith and Fulham, especially given the stated focus on heritage. Paul James said the intention was for it to be even-handed between the north and south of the borough.
Councillor Liz Collins noted that the cost-of-living crisis had affected the viability of some arts projects in the borough and asked if the Council could explore other funding sources to support them. Paul James said having a cultural strategy was a key first step in the process of unlocking funding from outside sources and that should be reflected in the action plan.
Melanie Nock (Executive Director of HF ArtsFest) asked what the relationship between the Arts Commission report and recommendations was to the new strategy. She also asked if there were quick wins that could be done in the short term. Paul James said the Arts Commission’s recommendations were the starting point for the strategy but there was still more engagement to do before an action plan could be produced.
Councillor Borland asked if all of the borough’s arts groups would be included in the engagement process. Paul James said more groups were being engaged than for the original Arts Commission report. There would also be a generic survey open to everyone and he encouraged members to share it widely when it was released.
Melanie Nock underlined the importance of the smaller arts organisations in the borough. She said it would be welcome, following a long period of engagement, to see more concrete action being taken.
Councillor Sharon Holder (Cabinet Member for Public Realm) addressed the Committee and noted the following points:
· She asked that the Youth Council took part in the engagement process
· She felt it was important to ensure Fulham residents were fully engaged and suggested officers do an event at the Fulham Christmas market.
· She asked officers to ensure that disabled people’s groups were engaged
· There was no mention of tourism, and she asked officers to look at how to market what the borough has to offer (e.g. black history trails).
The Chair made the following points:
· Co-production with disabled residents was a focus for H&F and he asked that disabled people’s groups be fully engaged.
· He asked for some thought about who owned the strategy and how it could be promoted.
· He asked officers to think about how the tourism offer linked to the industrial strategy – and, given the wealth of arts venues in the borough, how to promote local venues and activities to people visiting London.
David Pack (Strategic Head Industrial Strategy) said tourism was an important strand of the industrial strategy and noted that in the New Year there would be a dedicated officer looking at the visitor economy. The cultural strategy and industrial strategies would become further aligned over time as the industrial strategy was refreshed.
Councillor Ashok Patel noted that the Bhavan Centre in West Kensington had not been consulted despite being a major hub for Indian arts, culture and education. Paul James said he was in touch with them, and they had been invited to an engagement meeting.
The Chair summed up the discussion. He thanked officers, Paul James, and Melanie Nock for attending.
That the Committee noted and commented on the report.