This publication is the final report of the Commission on Culture and Local Government, exploring the contribution of local culture, the barriers it faces and the four cornerstones that are essential to a healthy local cultural ecosystem.
Culture, heritage and creativity are essential to our future national prosperity and wellbeing. During the pandemic, people turned to culture for solace and connection. Local cultural services such as libraries, museums, theatres, and arts centres
reached out to communities in lockdown to address isolation, support mental wellbeing and provide educational opportunities.
As we move towards recovery, we face a new set of challenges: a growing cost of living crisis and the prospect of recession; pressure on public services; rising inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic; climate change, and global instability. Under these circumstances it would be tempting to dismiss investment in cultural services as a luxury we can’t afford. But for the same reasons, these services have never been more important. Cultural services, organisations and practitioners bring people together at times of crisis and celebration, they provide support and social connection, create jobs, develop new adaptive skills, and underpin empathy and critical thinking.
The Commission on Culture and Local Government was established to explore the important contribution local culture can make to what is currently described as ‘levelling up’ and its role in responding to the ongoing impact of COVID-19. Its aim was to bring national, regional and local actors engaged in local publicly funded culture together to communicate the unique role of council funded and supported culture and to set out a vision for its future in the context of place.
The findings of the Commission have led to the creation of Cornerstones of Culture, the final report ‘Cornerstones of Culture', exploring the contribution of local culture, the barriers it faces and the four cornerstones that are essential to a healthy local cultural ecosystem.
Each section takes you through the final report, alongside an accessible executive summary.