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Cultural investment key to the future of our cities
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Cultural investment key to the future of our cities

New enquiry finds new opportunities for culture in cities

Jonathan Todd

Chief Economist

Jonathan is an economist with over a decade’s experience in impact assessment and evaluation, and high-level policy experience, particularly within the cultural and creative sectors.

Jonathan Todd - Chief Economist | BOP Consulting

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Arts Council England


Projects Sectors

Yesterday we were at the launch of the Cultural Cities Enquiry report, for which BOP were the working and research partner.

This UK-wide enquiry brought together cities, UK Arts Councils and leaders from the cultural, education, design, development, hospitality and technology sectors to investigate how culture continues to improve and enrich the lives of cities.

The overwhelming conclusion of the report was that smart investment through cultural activities can bring enormous benefits to our cities and their people across the UK. There is a huge opportunity to grow investment in culture across the UK, attracting and supporting diverse and talented people and ensuring that our cities thrive through social and economic growth.

The first key recommendation in the report was the creation of Cultural City Compacts

These will bring together civic leaders and partners from culture, business and education to make best use of resources and secure the social and economic benefits that come from embedding arts and culture in civic life.

These Compacts will deliver against local priorities, such as regenerating high streets and post-industrial quarters, establishing creative clusters, developing tourist revenue, supporting local creative talent and building civic engagement.

The other three recommendations were:

  • Corporate Social Venture Funds - These will act as local vehicles for social investment into culture and creative organisations

  • Creative Talent Pathways - The creation of coordinated approaches for the development of creative talent to meet local needs, which government could support by making apprenticeship levy rules more flexible

  • Cultural property assets - Making strategic use of cities’ cultural property assets to revive high streets and city centres, as well as help prevent displacement of cultural activity after urban regeneration.

Debate about the UK’s future is intense. Our culture and our places are vital to this. While these debates continue, the Enquiry offers practical ways forward.

We will be exploring these four recommendations further in a series of forthcoming blogs.

Cultural cities UK

Enriching UK cities through smart investment in culture.

The purpose of this report is to consider how we can radically increase the ability of our cities to use culture to drive inclusive growth.

Project Report

Cultural Cities Enquiry

Building on our contribution to the second edition of the report in 2018, BOP has led as the Data and Research partner on this report to help find out how policies can protect people working in the creative and cultural sectors.

UNESCO's Re|Shaping Policies for Creativity Report – Addressing culture as a global public good


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Arts Council England

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Inter-American Development Bank - IDB

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European Commission

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The Royal Society for Arts (RSA)

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British Council

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Arts Council England

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The Reading Agency

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Creative Scotland

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Related Projects

Strategy and Policy Design

Jonathan Todd - Chief Economist | BOP Consulting

Jonathan Todd

Chief Economist