The City Corporation got its first look at an ambitious new cultural strategy for the Square Mile earlier this week, after a first draft text was presented and discussed at the culture committee on Monday. As a member of the Committee I welcomed the aim to keep London’s position as “capital of both commerce and culture”. It’s great to see different elements of the Corporation’s cultural programme brought together in one document recognising and embracing the diversity of London’s culture. Once approved it’s important that we implement this vision of an “open City” and monitor progress.
The draft strategy outlines key objectives to transform the City’s infrastructure and public spaces to make it more open, establish a support programme to stop creative start-ups being prices out of central London, and improve our education programme through partnerships with cultural institutions. The committee voted to approve the draft strategy, which will now go out for wider consultation for final approval by the Court of Common Council (the City’s main decision making body) in December. You can find the text of the draft strategy here.
A key part of the strategy is the Culture Mile – a multi-million pound investment project to transform an area from Farringdon to Moorgate into an arts hub to be a “catalyst for change across the rest of the Square Mile”. As the Corporation’s policy chief Catherine McGuinness said in July when the project was launched the Culture Mile would ensure that the City “becomes known and admired as much for being a world-class cultural destination as a leading global financial centre.”
During the committee meeting I took the opportunity to welcome the initiative to bring all the different cultural programmes together in one strategy. I emphasised that the implementation of the strategy – when approved – needs clear leadership and public scrutiny to make sure our programmes and activities going forward, as set out by the strategy, fully embrace the diversity of London’s culture and rich history of the City.
Photo: Sculpture in the City 2017