The Arts & Culture Focus Group
The Arts and Culture Focus group was established to shine a light on the work of practitioners, organisations and current and potential users of Arts, Culture and heritage in the county. Since its first meeting in October 2020, this Lieutenancy group has consulted with a number of different people and organisations involved in arts and culture in Surrey; held a webinarin June 2021, which was attended by 120 representatives of the sector; and founded the Surrey Cultural Partnership (SCP), which had its first meeting in January 2022.
Since then, the SCP has agreed as its purpose: ‘to ensure that everyone in our county has the opportunity to participate in, engage with and contribute to extraordinary cultural activity, whoever they are and wherever they live’.
The SCP members – 20 representatives from different art forms, heritage, education, local authorities, local communities, business and creative industries – have given themselves three priorities, to:
- build a countywide collaborative ethos across the sector;
- develop a Cultural Strategy for Surrey;
- attract new investment into cultural activity for Surrey.
Thanks to generous independent funding, a project co-ordinator, Jodie Sadler, has been appointed to support SCP and to help develop the Cultural Strategy for Surrey.
Ways in which these three priorities are being taken forward include:
- Work is in progress to establish a Cultural Leaders’ Forum.
- A project has been established to connect the arts and heritage, with young people and with the huge number of amateur arts and culture groups in Surrey.
- A second sector event, building on the Lieutenancy Arts and Culture Webinar in June 2021, is being developed.
- A presentation has been given to a number of Surrey’s Arts Societies and their views sought on the development of the cultural strategy.
- The idea of a LinkedIn arts, culture and heritage network is being explored.
- SCP is considering setting up a series of sub-sector groups so that participants feel their voices can be heard and that they can feed into the development of the strategy.
- The SCP Co-ordinator is joining Surrey Arts Partnership (the strategic alliance of nine local councils who work together to shape and deliver a cultural offering for the whole county) for their meetings, to discuss shared strategic objectives.
- The SCP is proposing a Surrey Cultural Strategy based on developing and investing in the impact of the arts, culture and heritage on mental health and wellbeing; supporting and advocating the impact of arts and culture in reducing crime and building community; and evaluating the impact of arts, culture and heritage in the county.
- New investment
- A conversation is starting between the SCP, the Community Foundation for Surrey, the Arts Council and Surrey County Council to explore ways of increasing investment for the cultural sector in Surrey.
- An approach to key Surrey philanthropists who are supportive of the arts, culture and heritage nationally is being considered.
Surrey County Council, a member of SCP, is progressing work on Cultural Mapping Surrey. Below is the SCC link for any cultural organisation, venue, individual or those running creative activities – or anyone who is aware of a cultural activity in the local community – to complete the form and get added to the new interactive map: https://surreycc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/GeoForm/index.html?appid=b9332ec49aa440cca6568ec99f19edb2
The map went live on 25 July, residents and visitors have access to the county’s diverse and exciting cultural offer. This is the link https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/culture-and-leisure/culture The next meeting of Surrey Cultural Partnership is on 20 September