Cultural Plan Workshop

A new vision for creativity and culture set to boost the Solent’s economy

Exciting progress is being made on the Solent Cultural Plan that is set to boost the cultural and creative economies, with a second round of consultation events to be held in February. These follow an initial round of workshops that took place in December 2023, where a range of businesses and organisations involved in arts and culture in the Solent region took part.

Solent locals working in the visitor economy, creative and cultural sectors are invited to review an initial insights report, informed by the first round of conversations. Solent Partners aim to share with all creative and cultural stakeholders to ensure that it reflects an accurate picture of current challenges and opportunities in the region.

Solent Partners Chair, Rachael Randall, said: “We are delighted to be working with Arts Council England to create the Solent Cultural Plan, bringing together our rich culture and exceptional local talent to build a stronger, more integrated and visible cultural presence. The creative industries and cultural sector are a significant contributor to the Solent economy and are vitally important in creating a place where people want to live, work and visit.

“The Cultural Plan workshops proved to be a huge success, and we hope to build on the enthusiasm that people working across the creative and cultural landscape brought in December, in these follow up workshops in February. All involved can see the benefit of a Solent-wide collaboration and there is huge support for a cultural transformation.

We hope to see even more organisations connected with the cultural and creative sectors in the Solent region take part in this second round of workshops, building on connections made so far, and driving development, investment, and best practice in the future.”

The Solent Cultural Plan will be produced by Solent Partners in close collaboration with Arts Council England and the region’s creative networks. The plan will generate a new era of creative excellence and stimulate the cultural economy for many years to come.

Phil Gibby, Area Director, Arts Council England, said: “We are delighted to be working with Solent Partners for the first time, alongside key local authorities in the area on a new Cultural Plan. Together we are developing a new vision for arts and culture that’s sure to deliver social and economic benefits for years to come.

“Our investment includes £20,000 in match funding for a programme of work that will investigate the role of culture in the Solent economy and strengthen the offer to business, residents, and visitors. This initiative supports our 10-year strategy Let’s Create – bringing high-quality cultural experiences to every doorstep in England – and we can’t wait to see it in action.”

After taking part in the Cultural Plan workshop, Dr Roy Hanney from Solent University, commented: “Great workshop, it really felt like we were starting something, so really glad I could take part.”

Wendy Wyatt, from World Cities Culture Forum also took part and she said: “Thank you so much for an interesting session. I welcome the opportunity to be a part of future discussions. As a resident in the Solent area, I understand the breadth and depth of cultural and creative talent in the area – it’s immense! I hope the Cultural Plan helps to give the sector the recognition and support it deserves.”

The initial insights report that will be reviewed in February has been built on a huge range of data and literature related to the culture and creative industries across the region, with the support of cultural development experts the Intelligence Agency and CTConsults. Collaborative work also took place with 35 relevant stakeholders, and presentations were made to key organisations including Creative Network South. CTConsults will now lead on this second round of workshops to share emerging priorities for the Solent Cultural Plan.

The Solent is a recognised Creative Industries (CI) growth cluster, with around 4,500 businesses and 40,000 jobs, generating £1.5bn GVA. Growth in the sector is predominantly in digital, software development, web design, digital marketing and a fast-emerging cluster around games and interactive entertainment, sound design, and film. Around 65% of CI businesses are very small and have an annual turnover of under £20,000.

To book a place on the workshops, to review the development of the Solent Cultural Plan, being held in February, go to our events page.

To keep up to date with the how the Solent Cultural Plan is developing, and to hear about other work of Solent Partners, click here to sign up for regular online magazines. 

Solent Partners, supported by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, is the new, re-energised partnership that will bring local industry, academic and civic leaders together in the Solent. It aims to provide what’s needed to deliver the kind of prosperity, profitability, and sustainability that’s only possible when energised leaders come together. 

Find out more about Solent Partners online on our homepage.

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