During 2021/22 we worked closely with North East Lincolnshire Council (NELC) and key stakeholders to develop a Creativity Strategy to underpin and drive forward creative activity in the area.
Our first action was to conduct a detailed desk based review of strategic documents to gain a clear understanding of the context for the study.
Stakeholders were key to the development of a place specific plan and a variety of methods were used to engage with people across a broad range of specialisms that intersect with creativity. These included arts and culture, heritage, wellbeing, regeneration, education, independent business, community development, voluntary sector and visitor economy, amongst others.
Consultation included 121 virtual and phone conversations, small group conversations, a series of zoom forum cross sector workshops and a focused day exploring creativity with officers from across NELC departments as part of the talent and leadership internal training programme.
At this time there was also regular dialogue with National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England representatives, both bodies having strategic interest in the area as a priority place. Following the consultation stage the draft Creativity Strategy was developed and gained Cabinet approval in March 2022. The strategy was funded by NELC, Arts Council England and National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The strategy outlines nine “Stories” that will be considered in future arts, culture and heritage work:
- The role Grimsby, Immingham, Cleethorpes and the Wolds play in the world
- The Sea
- The Coast
- Green space, The Wolds, ecology and biodiversity
- Sustainable energy and environmental responsibility
- Welcoming visitors
- Food and drink
- Local people, industry, trades, innovations and achievements
- Historic buildings, public spaces and landscapes
The strategy is focused on how creativity can be used as a way to learn about, understand and share stories with others. The Creativity Strategy outlines a five year framework and sets out key ambitions grouped under three key themes:
- Creativity for all: including increasing the amount and visibility of creative activities in the area, focussing on equity, diversity and inclusion, involving young people and bringing generations together;
- Creative economy: including developing the next generation of creative people, securing funding, supporting creative individuals and businesses;
- Creative working: including embedding creativity in everyone’s lives, taking advantage of digital technology, striving for quality, working in collaboration and learning from others.
In terms of supporting the delivery and activation of the strategy we worked with NELC to develop a role description and terms of reference for a newly established Creativity Board for the area. We managed the board recruitment and selection process and have supported the initial meetings of the group. In parallel to this we have been developing a series of 3 socially engaged artist micro commissions which will start to engage communities in dialogue with the themes of the emerging strategy, prior to its public launch later in 2022.
Image Credit: The Twilight Hour, Festival of the Sky – Cleethorpes, by Periplum, Photo: Tom Arran.