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We will redefine and promote our culture and our leisure and entertainment offer, based both on our heritage and on our positive, modern outlook. Our new cultural compact will involve creative education, development and investment in arts and culture, enabling more people of all backgrounds to actively participate all aspects of culture, from celebrations of our maritime and leisure heritage, to music, food, dance and theatre, in support of our aspiration to become a City of Culture.

Culture is an integral part of our lives, contributing to learning, health and wellbeing, economic and social regeneration, place making and community spirit. Culture defines who we are, how we live our lives in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. Our culture is not just shaped by our internationally-acclaimed Symphony Orchestra or our varied events programme, it is our outdoor way of life, our access to the sea and nature, our commitment to carbon neutrality and to being a place of kindness, safety and inclusivity. It is who we are.

We are delivering the recommendations of the 2019 Cultural Enquiry, which identified three major priorities for development and investment in culture. These are:

  • culture and talent: embracing creative education, building a creative workforce, championing diverse cultural expressions and enabling people of all backgrounds to actively participate in the cultural life of their communities and the conurbation
  • cultural infrastructure: with a commitment to building cultural capacity, leveraging the excellence of existing hubs, venues and organisations, and boosting Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole as a place that produces and hosts great art and culture of international significance
  • culture and place: embedding culture as a tool for planning, with a focus on nurturing distinctive neighbourhoods, dynamic town centres, accessible and imaginative public realm, urban mobility, and an attention to social cohesion, health and wellbeing and environmental sustainability.

We are investing £750,000 enhancing our cultural offer. £500,000 of this has created anew Festival Coast Live! event programme to animate our resorts and public spaces for the next three years. A further three-year funding package provides £150,000 in 2021/22 to set up an arm’s length Cultural Compact, which will drive forward a multi-sector approach, covering business, health, education and voluntary organisations, as well as the cultural sector.

The Cultural Compact will provide long-term strategic leadership, supporting cultural organisations and local partners, enabling whole communities to engage and participate in cultural life and engaging with national government and agencies on key initiatives and programmes.

Through the Cultural Compact, we will develop a Cultural Strategy and Delivery Plan, involving our communities and groups with protected characteristics – such as young and older people, disabled and Black and Minority Ethnic communities – who are under represented in cultural activity. This work will also support diverse recruitment to the Cultural Compact and its wider stakeholder group.


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