Arts Council England has awarded Northampton £20,000 for the creation of a Cultural Board to build on the strong offer which already exists.
A group of partners, brought together by Northampton Borough Council, submitted a bid for the Cultural Compact backing which will fund a role to assist in the development of an ambitious vision for the town.
Building on the already vibrant scene in the county, this new body will provide the leadership to embed culture in the DNA of Northampton at a critical moment in the town’s political and economic development. It will support other initiatives already underway, such as Northampton Forward which has culture at the heart of its planning for the improvement and revitalisation of the town centre.
Marking a step change in the ambition of the town, the Cultural Board make Northampton a destination of choice in which to live, work and study, and with the continued development of the Cultural Quarter, to attract world-class talent from the creative sector and promote the town as a visitor destination. A renewed sense of place will build stronger communities and allow Northampton to retain its finest emerging talent.
Cllr Anna King, Northampton Borough Council Cabinet member for community engagement and safety, said: “We have significant assets in this area – from Royal & Derngate to The Deco theatres, an unrivalled shoe collection at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery to the fantastic Rennie Mackintosh house at 78 Derngate.
“This provides an extremely strong base to build on and with the expertise and enthusiasm involved in this project, I have no doubt at all that we have the capacity to create something really special in Northampton.”
Jo Gordon, CEO of Royal & Derngate, added: “This initiative will see key representatives from education, heritage, the visitor economy, and the creative industries work in partnership with Northampton Borough Council and other private and public stakeholders to forge a bold vision for our often overlooked town, helping us to reposition Northampton as a major creative centre, where talent, ideas and enterprise come together.”
Peter Knott, Midlands Area Director for Arts Council England, said: “Culture and creativity have a powerful effect in improving lives and wellbeing, developing communities and unlocking the economic potential for towns and cities.
“Northampton is a place of opportunity with a great history of industry and creativity, and we look forward to seeing the impact the Cultural Compact will bring to the town as it builds stronger communities and new networks across a broad range of partners.”
The newly formed Culture Board will shortly be seeking an exceptional individual to help it establish, drive, manage and co-ordinate its activities. Further details of the role and selection process will be announced in the near future.