Special Places – Culture and the landscape – Paul Bristow, Arts Council England

Paul Bristol, Director, Strategic Partnerships at Arts Council England delivered a presentation at the conference.

Key points of the presentation included:

Making special places successful places – culture and our rural communities

  • Culture is making a huge contribution to England’s rural communities
  • People living in rural areas are more like to engage with the arts and culture than their urban counterparts
  • Culture builds prosperous places – tourism and the creative industries
  • Culture builds stronger communities – shared identities, negotiating conflict
  • Culture increases wellbeing – reducing isolation, promoting mental health Wifi available

How the Arts Council makes a difference

  • We invest in arts and culture in rural communities
  • We have partnerships with National Trust, Canal & River Trust, Forestry Commission to bring art to landscapes where art is not usually found
  • Our Creative People and Places and strategic touring programmes build partnerships and audiences where cultural engagement is low
  • Our strategic programmes unlock opportunities
  • We work with LEPs, destination organisations and others to ensure culture builds prosperity
  • We work with local authorities to sustain and grow local cultural infrastructure
  • We support innovation and share good practice – Great Place Scheme
  • We invest directly into and with AONBs

Lifecycles and Landscapes – The Way

  • Funded through the Arts Council’s ‘Ambition for Excellence’ programme
  • Partnership led by Activate and includes Landscapes for Life
  • Large scale artistic and heritage project happening along all 400 miles of the Icknield Way

The Ash Project

  • ‘Urgent cultural response to the devastating effect of ash dieback in the Kent Downs’
  • Led by Kent Downs AONB, includes major commission from internationally recognised artists Ackroyd & Harvey
  • Supported with Arts Council funding

Closing quote –
‘I like that shiver that runs down my spine when I experience something. It is spirit lifting, spirit-creating and I get passionate. It is what makes your life not grey, dull and dreary. If I had to sum it up, it has certainly been the colour of my life.’
Audience member, rural touring performance

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