8. 2e - Thriving culture and heritage
"Exeter’s culture is unique and constantly evolving. It encompasses our shared histories, our personal identities and stories and our city’s heritage from the Iron Age to present day along with our thriving community of creative art practitioners.
We will do everything we can within our scope to celebrate, support and enable our shared culture to thrive."
Cllr Laura Wright, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Culture, Corporate & Democratic Services
For a city of its size, run by a district council, Exeter has a high proportion of National Portfolio Organisations. It has received consistently high levels of revenue investment for cultural facilities and activity from Exeter City Council and Arts Council England. It is home to one of the best regional museums in the country.
Exeter has also recently been given Cultural Compact status, which delivers cross- sector engagement and helps unlock opportunities to those working in the cultural sector.
There are challenges ahead, but Exeter is well placed because of its strong roots, core investment and flourishing partnerships. Those working in the Creative Arts, Culture and Heritage have shown perhaps the highest level of innovation and resilience in recent times. We must continue to support those working in culture with matched enthusiasm.
On large scale projects, The University of Exeter’s Civic University Agreement and Creative Arc investment is leading the way. Through this work and a potential uplift in funding for the Liveable Exeter programme, the city is on track to embrace the culture of our community in ways a public body hasn’t done before.
Under its UNESCO City of Literature status Exeter has become known nationally and internationally as a city of stories. We will work with the charity in new ways so the written word will be used to improve life for everyone.
In 2019 the city was awarded UNESCO City of Literature status, recognising 1,000 years of unbroken history around reading.
- Arts Council ‘Priority Place’ designation
- Moving from delivery to enabling and facilitation
- Uncertainty around National Portfolio Organisations
- A flourishing night-time economy
- A need to balance cultural ambition with the national funding picture and local financial challenges
- A need to support Visit Exeter as a vital mechanism for promotion of our events, business and cultural offer
How we will address this priority - headline actions
- Continue to support the Exeter Heritage Partnership Network to be the voice of Exeter’s heritage institutions, working in partnership to lead inclusive, inspirational and thought-provoking heritage activities, which encourage both residents and visitors to engage with the story of Exeter’s 20000 year history.
- Apply for the next year of National Portfolio Organisation funding and an uplift for our work with the University of Exeter on the Creative Arc.
- Deliver the Royal Albert Memorial Museum’s strategic plan.
- Listen to what is important to our communities and amplify those voices into planning strategy, including Liveable Exeter locations and the City Plan.
- Publish a public art strategy and deliver on the actions.
- Support the Northcott Theatre with their use of The Barnfield Theatre as an additional city centre attraction.
- Create and deliver a new tourism strategy for Visit Exeter members.
- Deliver a new service level agreement for The Custom House and utilise its potential through Exeter Canal and Quay Trust.
- Provide a varied programme of events at The Corn Exchange and improve the building and facilities.
- Fully understand Exeter’s night time economy and bring that understanding into any discussions and decisions around culture of the city.
- Use the upcoming skills strategy to listen and facilitate new opportunities for young people starting out in the creative industries.
- Support our National Portfolio Organisations following the new round of funding.
- Work with UNESCO City of Literature to deliver a strong memorandum of understanding, leveraging every possibility of this world class status.
- Facilitate and deliver key events in our open spaces.
- Continue to support the Exeter Heritage Partnership Network to be the voice of Exeter’s Heritage institutions, working in partnership to lead inclusive, inspirational and thought-provoking heritage activities which encourage both residents and visitors to engage with the story of Exeter’s history.