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Roadmap to a culture powerhouse

A new plan has been published that sets out the council’s ambitions to transform the borough by building on its impressive cultural legacy and investing in spaces for creativity.

Ealing Council’s cultural infrastructure plan follows on from the cultural manifesto that was published last year.

The new plan is a form of ‘roadmap’ that sets out proposals to build and grow the borough’s cultural sector; create new training and career opportunities; and invest in and support a thriving creative community.

Council leader Peter Mason said: “Our cultural infrastructure plan draws on what already exists across our 7 towns for culture and the arts – from our cinematic heritage and the return of cinemas to Ealing, to Pitzhanger Manor, the Creative Enterprise Zone in Park Royal and beyond.

“It also outlines how we can support the creation of more venues for the arts to thrive in places like Southall, where cultural life is teeming away, but without the spaces to showcase it – and how we can work to ensure residents across the borough can access, enjoy or build careers in the creative and cultural sectors.”

According to government figures, in 2022 creative industries in the UK generated £108billion and employed 2.3million people.

What does the plan include?

The infrastructure plan was developed after a series of workshops with the borough’s creative specialists and organisers, artists and talents from the worlds of film and music.

It lays out a set of strategic goals:

• create a network of cultural venues and facilities across the 7 towns, accessible for local people
• encourage bottom-up, grassroots cultural activities
• adapt industrial, empty or under-used spaces and buildings for cultural uses
• utilise the existing and developing transport network to connect the borough with the rest of west London and beyond
• embrace digital transformation to reduce barriers to access and build a more inclusive and innovative cultural sector

Councillor Polly Knewstub, the council’s cabinet member for thriving communities, said: “This cultural infrastructure plan is a tool to set out what we need to do to strengthen and grow our cultural facilities and organisations and help us achieve all 3 of our key missions: creating good jobs, tackling the climate crisis, and fighting inequality.”

The plan reviews the borough’s existing spaces, buildings and facilities for cultural activities. It identifies fresh opportunities to support more ‘production’ space for the making of creative and cultural work and ‘consumption’ space for the showcasing of work or holding of events. These can range from rehearsal spaces to prop-making studios, theatres to galleries and record stores.

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