SWT Cultural Development News: August 2022

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News and Upcoming Events

Save the Date

Cultural Forum Open Day - 29th September 2022:

Join Somerset West & Taunton Council (SWT), arts and culture providers and stakeholders for an engaging day and lunch to commemorate the district's Cultural Strategy and to help us future gaze on a range of subjects and themes.

You’ll get the chance to hear about things that have been happening in the district, get updates on projects, hear from local experts, councillors and share your thoughts on things that matter to you.

A light lunch will be provided where there will be the opportunity to network and view the new Arts Hub at Flook House.

There will also be a series of round the table discussions available to join in the afternoon including information on the Somerset Wide Cultural Strategy/Local Government Re-Organisation, Creative People/Youth, Events and Town Centres, Heritage, Public Art and updates on Firepool.

Full agenda to follow at the beginning of September.

Who Is It For?

This event is designed for stakeholders, arts and culture providers and councillors who have a keen interest in how arts and culture can make a big impact in our communities, towns, villages and those who want to influence the future of the sector.

For more information and to book your place, please register here.

Cultural Strategy Impact Report

Cultural Strategy

The Cultural Strategy was adopted by SWT full Council in September 2021 which led to the creation of the Cultural Development Team (sitting under Economic Development).

Over the first six months, the team has worked hard to deliver the Cultural Strategy for SWT and has collected data to assess the ongoing impact and benefits of the strategy from September 2021 – March 2022.

Watch our video to find out how far the team and strategy have come in the first 6 months and how we are raising the profile of Arts and Culture in our communities.

Somerset Wide Cultural Strategy Update

Specialist partners have been appointed to help develop a five-year cultural strategy for the new Somerset Council that comes into being in April 2023.

Arts Council England, in partnership with Somerset’s five councils – Mendip, Sedgemoor, Somerset West and Taunton, and South Somerset district councils, plus Somerset County Council – have committed to invest in developing the strategy and have procured the services of cultural consultants, The Fifth Sector.

Since its foundation in 2011, The Fifth Sector has delivered more than 100 strategic and cultural projects, including cultural strategies and creative investment frameworks for Derby, Liverpool, Manchester, Rushmoor, South Yorkshire and Tees Valley.

Key aims and objectives of the strategy include:

  • To raise awareness and promote the role that culture and creativity can play in enriching communities and improving the quality of life, health, wellbeing and the local economy for Somerset residents, local businesses and visitors.
  • To make sure that a cultural identity for arts and culture in Somerset is at the heart of the new authority’s strategic plans.
  • To identify new job opportunities in culture and the creative industries and raise the profile of the county’s vibrant creative sector.

Cllr. Federica Smith Roberts, Somerset County Council’s Lead Member for Communities, said “The Somerset Cultural Strategy will define how, as an organisation, the new Somerset Council will deliver cultural activities to better the lives of residents and enhance our communities.

“I am delighted that work will commence through The Fifth Sector now to create a strategy ready for adoption when the new Council comes into effect in April 2023. Arts and Culture are important to help improve the quality of life, health, wellbeing and the local economy for Somerset residents, local businesses and visitors and I look forward to bringing the strategy in front of fellow councillors in 2023.”

Iain Bennett, Director of The Fifth Sector said: “This is a such an exciting opportunity to put the diversity and excellence of Somerset’s artists, creative businesses, cultural organisations and community partnerships at the heart of the new authority’s strategy and business plans.  Our approach is all about making people central to placemaking – and this cultural strategy will provide the new Somerset unitary authority with the evidence and business plan to achieve just that.”

The project will be led by the Arts & Entertainment Service of South Somerset District Council based at The Octagon Theatre and Westlands Entertainment Venue, after the area was designated a ‘Priority Place’ by Arts Council England and included within the government’s Levelling Up for Culture places.

The process will begin with an intensive review of existing arrangements followed by analysis and, in mid-September, with opportunities for people to have their say on relevant issues and topics. In October, a direct consultation will be launched focusing on issues people have highlighted as important.

SABCA Conference - 11th October 2022


Major New Conference Supports Future Planning for Arts & Culture

The Future of Arts & Culture in Somerset: Tuesday 11th October 2022

Harman Sagger, Head Economist for Arts, Heritage and Tourism at Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Dr John Wright from Centre for Cultural Value, and Dr Inge Hill from National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise and UK Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre, are among keynote speakers announced today as part of a major new conference from Somerset Arts Business Cultural Alliance (SABCA).

Entitled ‘The Future of Arts & Culture in Somerset’, the conference will explore the implications and changes that are happening in Somerset and in the arts and culture industry and how research and new ways of thinking can help better planning for the future. Aimed at arts and culture organisations and stakeholders and local authority councillors and officers, this event will take place on Tuesday 11 October 2022 at the Creative Innovation Centre, Taunton.

The conference comes at a critical time for arts and culture as research increasingly points to the crucial role arts and culture play in economic and business development, wellbeing, tourism, heritage and encouraging creativity, innovation and resilience in local communities. At the same time there is growing concern about the new Somerset unitary authority set for April 2023, and how it values the arts and culture sector and plans it will have for the sector.

Andrew Knutt, Director of SABCA, commented:

‘The arts and culture industry and its audiences have changed since the pandemic. How we do things post-covid has a bearing on the future of the sector. Plus, national agencies and local governments are starting to support and develop initiatives so this conference will paint a clear picture of that future and inspire and help organisations to move forward with confidence.”

Richard Holt, Director of Creative Innovation Centre, said:

‘We are delighted to be working with SABCA on this exciting new event which will provide organisations and policy makers with the tools and inspiration they need to support arts and culture organisations, programmes and initiatives in Somerset. At a time of great uncertainty, the arts can play a unique role in helping us to create a vibrant Somerset, and with new frameworks introduced by national government agencies, this is a timely moment for arts and culture providers and local councils to explore the powerful role that the arts, culture and creativity can play in making Somerset a great place.’

Somerset County Council Lead Member for Communities – Cllr Federica Smith-Roberts will also join organisation The Fifth Sector and Pippa Jones, Development Director of Create Gloucestershire, in speaking on a range of topics and explore how the arts and culture sector will support Somerset’s future.

The day will begin at 10.00am and is due to end at 3.00pm and delegates have the choice to attend in-person or watch the online live streaming version of the event.

For more information and how to book: https://www.somersetculture.org.uk/events/the-future-of-arts-culture-in-somerset-conference-tues-11th-oct-2022/

Upcoming events and things to do

Check out the Somerset West and Things to Do Website for details on all upcoming Events in our district.

Coleridge Unbound

Brewhouse Job Vacancy


The Brewhouse are currently recruiting for an Executive Director following the departure of Amy Bere. More information and how to apply can be found on their website: Jobs | The Brewhouse (tauntonbrewhouse.co.uk)

Applications close: 26th August 2022

New BLOG: Out and About with Caroline


Check our what Caroline has been up to with regards to all things Art and Culture in her new BLOG


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