Agenda item

Northern Devon Culture Strategy 2022-2027

Report by Museum Manager (attached)


The Committee considered a report by the Museum Manager (circulated previously) regarding the Northern Devon Culture Strategy 2022-2027.


The Museum Manager highlighted the following:


·         The report introduced “Flourishing Culture” the draft Northern Devon Culture Strategy prepared by Consultants Things Made Public with Arts Council funding for North Devon and Torridge District Councils.

·         Flourishing Culture had been developed for the district councils of North Devon and Torridge as a vision and action plan for the development of the cultural sector over the next 5 years.

·         This was the final draft, and final adjustments were being made in consultation with Torridge District Council. The first draft was presented to Northern Devon Futures on 25th April 2022.

·         The Council was currently working on an application to Arts Council’s Cultural Development Fund, with a submission date for EOI of 29th July 2022.

·         Achieving a vision of thriving creativity and culture across the region would require building on the strengths and addressing the challenges of Northern Devon’s cultural landscape. To achieve this the Culture Strategy for Northern Devon focused on two main themes:


Ø  Culture – Helping Places Thrive takes inspiration from the region’s landscape to support a cultural offer that is as unique, diverse, celebrated and generous as its natural surroundings. This theme explores culture that is expressive of place, connects people to where they live, is protective of the environment and is distributed across the whole region. It recognises the built heritage of our towns and the need to support their role as the beating heart of cultural activity.


Ø  Culture – Helping People Blossom builds on a long history of culture passing between people in Northern Devon, from skills being shared through the generations, to ideas travelling the world through trade. This theme explores how everyone in Northern Devon has opportunities to connect with one another, develop their creative potential, increase their mental wellbeing and experience great culture.


·         The themes were further developed into a series of priorities and suggested actions, supported by case studies from other parts of the UK and abroad. These included a focus on outdoor arts and festivals, digital and community activity, protecting the environment, talent development, national and international connections and improving visibility.

·         The Strategy recommended that those steps were achieved by establishing a Town Team for Culture in Barnstaple, Bideford and Ilfracombe. It identified Ilfracombe as the place with the greatest potential to benefit from cultural investment through this process.

·         In Barnstaple a Culture Team had already been established as part of Future High Streets. The Strategy supported an application to the Cultural Development Fund to support the creation and delivery of a more detailed Culture Plan for Barnstaple, and work on this was now in progress.

·         Adoption of a Culture Strategy was a precondition for application to certain Arts Council funding streams.

·         The Culture strategy was now at final draft stage and nearing completion. In order for its adoption to coincide with funding opportunities, it was requested that this be delegated to officers following receipt of final amendments.

·         When delegating the adoption of the final draft this endorsed the creation of a Northern Devon Cultural Partnership to work in close partnership with Arts Council England to ensure that there was a clear delivery plan for this Strategy.

·         North Devon’s status as an Arts Council Priority Place and Torridge as a Levelling Up Culture Priority Place meant that now was the right time to be seeking funding for culture.

·         The Council was considering an additional application to Arts Council’s Place Partnership Fund.

·         The strategy had been developed in line with North Devon Council and Torridge Council policies and in collaboration with stakeholders from across the cultural sector as well as the environment, business, community and education sectors and the general public. It set out the value that culture brought to Northern Devon, the aspiration for what it could be and a set of priorities for raising the ambition, sustainability and impact of culture in all its forms in Northern Devon.


The Committee commented that it was nice to hear something positive for the Council.




(a)  the Culture Strategy currently at final draft stage be noted;


(b)  power to approve the final Strategy be delegated to the Head of Place, Property and Regeneration in consultation with the Leader and Lead Member for Economic Development and Strategic planning policy, following the conclusion of discussions with Torridge District Council; and


(c)   the creation of a Northern Devon Cultural Partnership to support the delivery of this Strategy be endorsed.


Supporting documents: