Culture Works, North East Lincolnshire

Set up by grassroots cultural organisations, Culture Works has provided leadership and coordination for the sector and worked with the council to push culture up the local political agenda. This case study forms part of the Value of culture - regeneration section of our online Culture Hub.


Birdhouse Projects’ theatre event. Source: Culture Works

 

Background and history

Culture Works was set up in 2016 by a collection of local individuals, artists and organisations, in response to a recognised need for greater strategic organisation of the arts and culture sector in North East Lincolnshire.

Having gained traction through positive early engagement with North East Lincolnshire Council, including supporting the development of an area cultural strategy, it has grown in size and now has 28 members, and has secured formal support from Arts Council England.

Timeline

  • 2016 – Culture Works set up
  • 2017 – Arts Council England funding awarded
  • 2018 – Cultural Strategy for North-East Lincolnshire due to be published
  • 2019 – Large-scale festival to be launched in Grimsby

Delivery of activities

Culture Works provides networking, training, sector development and links to national networks in a supportive and sharing space. It has helped a historically fragmented local sector work more closely, cross-promote work and build strategic linkages.

A key focus of early activity has been seeking to demonstrate the economic and social value of culture to the local authority and other partners. Through lobbying and engaging in dialogue with North East Lincolnshire Council, culture and heritage has become seen as a greater priority, signalled by the council’s plans to publish a new cultural strategy in 2018.

The group also works collaboratively to support larger-scale activities across North East Lincolnshire, including supporting outdoor arts programmes led by Culturehouse and working with the council to deliver a large-scale arts festival in Grimsby in 2019.


Impacts

Pound

£3.8 million secured for cultural regenerations

Geography

attracting new visitors through events such as the Grimsby Arts Festival

Footprint

developing a more distinctive identity for North East Lincolnshire

  • sector growth – by supporting knowledge sharing, joint working and cross-promotion of arts and cultural activities
  • visitor economy through support for larger-scale activity such as the Grimsby Arts Festival, the group will help attract new visitors to the area, boosting this sector
  • £3.8 million secured for cultural – the group helped secure funding for Cleethorpes from the Coastal Community Fund,for new public art, event marketing and development of a new entertainment venue
  • cultural/creative sector support – the programme has supported local artist development, supporting growth and development of these sectors
  • enhanced image – the programme has supported enhanced perceptions of the city, which the city council believes has played a role in attracting new inward investment in the city, a rise in new shop openings, and new hotel developments being planned
  • enhancing identity– Culture Works aims to use culture to develop a more distinctive identify for North East Lincolnshire.

Learning points

Grassroots leadership: without any initial funding for the project, local individuals and groups came together, recognising the gap in cultural and creative sector leadership, and have had a significant impact in raising the profile of arts and culture in public policy and coordinating more strategic working. North East Lincolnshire Council has responded positively and is working collaboratively with this new group.

Marketing strategy: Culture Works has invested in having a strong social media and online marketing strategy that reaches out to a diverse demographic and the local community. Culture Works and the council are investigating developing a culture page for the council website, led by Culture Works.

Engagement with regional and national sectors and bodies: this has assisted Culture Works in its success in securing funding and drawing on a wider set of ideas and expertise, such as through the Coastal Culture Network.

“North East Lincolnshire Council are very excited to be working with central Government on a joint deal to regenerate the centre of Great Grimsby. Culture and heritage is a key platform for the deal and ‘Culture Works’ will play a leading role in developing the cultural offer as part of the regeneration of North East Lincolnshire.”
Councillor Jane Hyldon-King, Portfolio Holder for Health, Wellbeing and Adult Social Care, North East Lincolnshire Council