E&E Letters | Arts at the centre of the our communities?

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14 April 2016

Shame about lack of arts plan

I note that Ed Vaisey [Minister for Culture – Channel 4 News, 05 April] wants to “put the arts at the centre of our communities.”

What a shame that Exeter City Council does not want to do the same.

S. Broom

2 thoughts on “E&E Letters | Arts at the centre of the our communities?

  1. E&E Letters | 21 April 2016
    Arts at the centre of the our communities

    Like your correspondent S Broom [Shame about lack of arts plan, Letters, 14 April], I too have read Ed Vaizey’s “The Culture White Paper”, the first major discussion paper on arts and culture from a Government since Jennie Lee’s revolutionary and visionary “A Policy for the Arts – First Steps” 50 years ago.

    Where I differ from Mr Broom is in the conclusion he makes – I believe Exeter City Council has been putting arts at the centre of our communities.

    Named as one of the top five priorities in the City Council’s five year strategic plan, culture is seen as a key contributor to future prosperity and growth in Exeter.

    In 2013, Exeter City Council worked with Exeter Cultural Partnership to develop a 5 year action plan to work in partnership to contribute to a city where a vibrant cultural life enriches the experience of everyone living in, working in and visiting Exeter.

    When launching their “50p for Culture” campaign, the National Campaign for the Arts highlighted that Exeter was just one of only 3 local authorities [the others being the City of London and Middlesborough] invested more than 50p per person per week in the arts, culture and heritage.

    Here in Exeter we are fortunate to have 5 arts organisations that are recognised by Art Council England to be of such benefit to overall arts offer for the area and the UK that they are designated as a National Portfolio Organisation and play a vital role in helping ACE meet its mission of great art and culture for everyone. 5 of a network of only 850 across the country here in Exeter.

    So thank you Exeter Northcott, Exeter Phoenix, Bike Shed Theatre, Theatre Alibi and Kaleider for making arts part of the community here in Exeter, and having a reach greater than the boundaries of the city.

    In addition, RAMM is one of of ACE’s 21 Major Partner Museums and often collaborates with partners from various sectors – such as community groups, health organisations, and local charities – to bring people together with museum objects to spark conversations and creativity.

    But it doesn’t end there.

    Theatre companies like Le Navet Bete, an award-winning internationally touring troupe of clowns based in Devon, receive funding from the City Council.

    Let’s not forget that the City Council has a Small Arts Grant Scheme, where grants of up to £750 are available to artists, arts organisations, community groups and promoters, enabling them to bring arts to the heart of our communities.

    Last weekend I joined over 50 culture makers and arts consumers in the Corn Exchange to discuss many topics that covered the arts and Exeter. It’s a shame Mr Broom wasn’t present to be at the centre of this conversation.

    And let’s not forget, that the city council are to consult on a future for that very same Corn Exchange – could a new venue rise on the site of the current 500 seat auditorium?

    So in conclusion I believe that ECC have put arts, culture and heritage at the heart of the community, and that heart is beating strongly in Exeter.

    Paul Bull
    Labour candidate for St Thomas
    [and freelance theatre sound designer]


  2. E&E Letters | 28 April 2016
    Plan for a pool is the problem

    My thanks to Mr Bull [Arts at the centre of community, Letters, 21 April] for reminding us of the many cultural establishments and ongoing activities throughout the city, and also for highlighting the support and backing given to these projects by Exeter City Council.

    In my letter [Shame about lack of arts plan, Letters, 14 April] I was thinking of the council’s decision to build a swimming pool in the city centre rather than a multi-purpose cultural venue than most people seem to believe would better serve their needs, and which would be a focal point of cultural to enhance the city.

    I should have been more specific. I apologise.



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