14th Aug, 2020

Warwick district aims to become creative centre of national significance

Ian Hughes 30th Jul, 2020 Updated: 31st Jul, 2020

A NEW vision aims to establish Warwick district as a creative ‘cluster’ of national significance by 2025.

For the past 12 months Warwick District Council (WDC) has been working in consultation with over 400 creative agencies to develop a Creative Framework which is supported by an independent creative sector impact study.

Now in the aftermath of the pandemic the council plans to use the framework to support the recovery and growth of the creative industries and is inviting local creative organisations to become part of delivering it.

The aim of the strategy is to use the district’s cultural heritage and cutting edge creative companies as a catalyst to bring about economic and social regeneration within the next five years.

The framework highlights how the district’s creative sector – which includes theatres, museums, video game studios, galleries, and creative agencies – already contributes nearly half a billion pounds to the economy of Warwick district and is integral its identity and prosperity.

WDC leader Andrew Day said: “Long before the impact of Covid-19, we were already building on the enthusiasm of the region’s creative communities, which were becoming increasingly energised by the amazing opportunities presented by Coventry City of Culture in 2021 and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

“Given the significant challenges brought about by the pandemic, and the range of unique opportunities arising in the West Midlands over the next few years, now is absolutely the right time refresh and harness this momentum by launching our framework which will bring our creative community together to realise our combined vision.”

District culture spokeswoman Coun Moira-Ann Grainger added: “Our creative offer is incredibly vibrant, diverse and essential to the economy of our region.

“During lockdown when we were all separated from our cultural venues we all realised how important this sector is to our health and wellbeing. Our wonderful cultural assets and events programmes attract hundreds of thousands of visitors to our towns and I am confident that by working together we can come back even stronger”

David Guilding, WDC arts manager, said: “We’re not starting from scratch, but celebrating and enhancing the incredible work that has already taken place in the district in recent years. None of us can achieve this alone. Every creative person and organisation has a role to play in ensuring that the district reaches its immense potential – where the creative industries can flourish and thrive.”

The framework focuses on five key strategic areas – ‘’engagement’, ‘voice’, ‘path finding’, ‘place-making’ and ‘innovation’.

Each area includes a number of priorities and suggestions on how these can be achieved, ranging from supporting grass-roots community led organisations to exploring how digital technology can be used to transform audiences’ experiences of art and culture.

To deliver such an ambitious programme of work, WDC has established a new ‘Creative Compact’ – a strategic delivery group made up of leaders from across the creative community, local universities, and development initiatives. T

It will be supported by a new Creative Forum whose role will be to give a voice to local artists, practitioners and community groups.

The Creative Framework publication, promotional film, and information on how to get involved can be found at www.warwickdc.gov.uk/wdcreativeframework

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