Ensuring young people have a voice in future developments, strong leadership and creating an environment for independent traders to thrive were themes aired during the latest Carlisle Culture Conversation.
Two leading experts told civic, business, community and cultural figures from across Carlisle to ‘be brave’ and bold as work continues to develop a cultural vision for the city.
Wayne Hemingway MBE and Nicky Chance-Thompson, chief executive of The Piece Hall Trust in Halifax, addressed 60 guests at the Conversation held in the Vallum Gallery, at the University of Cumbria Institute of the Arts, Brampton Road, Stanwix.
The Creative and Cultural Economy Conversation was the third of four inter-linked public consultation events taking place in February and March to debate different elements of how the area’s rich assets can be harnessed for future growth and prosperity.
Internationally renowned designer Wayne, an Honorary Fellow of the University of Cumbria who jointly leads Hemingway Design, highlighted how important it is embrace, and not stifle, creativity and culture in all elements of modern developments.
He also discussed how leadership is important in driving forward cultural change as is ensuring that there is cultural and artistic input plays a central role in major transformational ideas. Wayne also spoke of how creative communities have worked to transform UK and European towns and cities from Margate to Malmo whilst touching on current projects in Berwick-upon-Tweed and York.
Nicky Chance-Thompson shared the story of “The Piece Hall Effect”, describing how the transformation of a former cloth mill into a vibrant cultural corner has turned the fortunes of Halifax and the surrounding area around. Positive impacts she highlighted included rising property prices, increasing visitor numbers and the contribution made to the local economy, and the desire of young, working people to move to the area.
Nicky told yesterday’s audience: “Get together, work together and be brave and hold your vision. That is what we’ve done and we’re really proud of what we’ve achieved in Halifax.”
Dr Roddy Hunter, director of the University of Cumbria Institute of the Arts and champion of the ‘Creative and Cultural Economy’ event, told the audience that 895 people currently work in creative and cultural industries in Carlisle, a sector which equates to around three per cent of the local business population and contributes £22.98m a year to the local economy.
Afterwards, Dr Hunter said: “I’m really encouraged by the goodwill, support and the ongoing endorsement of experts like Nicky Chance-Thompson and Wayne Hemingway.
“It has also been good to have so many stakeholders and leaders of arts, culture, civic bodies and business and industry in the Vallum Gallery exploring what culture can do for Carlisle but also what Carlisle can do for culture.”
Carlisle Culture launched last month. Its four founding partners are Carlisle City Council, Prism Arts, Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, and the University of Cumbria. Arts Council England is backing the partnership.
The final of the four Carlisle Culture Conversations - Creative Learning - takes place at Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery on 29 March before work to create a strategic framework for future cultural development is developed.
Places can be booked online at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/carlisle-culture-conversation-creative-learning-tickets-56576243066
For more information, visit www.carlisleculture.org.uk