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Dancing and music performance in Ealing

Ealing set for a creative change

Ealing Council announced a new cultural manifesto and action plan for the borough today (31 March 2023) which will aim to boost local arts, culture and creative industries.

Cultural manifesto event 31 March 2023
Left to right: Cllr Peter Mason, Cllr Jasbir Anand, Justine Simons OBE, Tonya Nelson

The manifesto and five-year action plan for cultural change in the borough was designed by the council with a culture task group including a diverse range of sector representatives, Arts Council England, the Greater London Authority’s culture team and the University of West London.

The plan was set out at an event in Acton today, packed full of creative talent such as: UFO Steelband, Blues Dharma fusion band, Bollywood dancing from Punjabi Theatre Academy, an Ealing Film Festival screening, Hip Hop MCs, DJ Chantz, as well as featuring a live work-in-progress graffiti art by Fibz The Creator, and three mosaic pieces and clay work by another local artist Carrie Reichardt. The winner of a schools’ video competition was also announced at the event.

What the council will do

The manifesto adds to the council plan by providing a framework for how the council will deliver its cultural commitments to residents by:

  • Fighting inequality – introducing more diverse types of art in the borough. Local culture hubs in all seven towns will increase community empowerment, activism and cohesion by responding to local need and talent
  • Creating good jobs – through the Cultural Education Partnership with Ealing schools, skills providers and employers. Stimulate business growth and create flexible entry and progression routes into the creative industries though upskilling workshops and career videos (Creative Enterprise Zone, New Gen festival)
  • Tackling the climate crisis – making our events and festivals more environmentally sustainable.

Reflecting your views

Last year, the council travelled with a creative installation to each of the borough’s seven towns to encourage local people to have their say in shaping this cultural manifesto, through an arts and culture survey. This also included focus groups with young people, people with learning difficulties and those whose first language is Punjabi, Arabic, Somali or Polish – a snapshot of the borough’s wonderfully diverse communities.

Residents said that:

  • Arts are extremely important because of benefits on wellbeing
  • They take part in arts, culture and creative activity (78.7% respondents)
  • Cinema, workshops, community art is what most residents are engaged in
  • The most common reason why people don’t take part in arts, cultural or creative activities is lack of time
  • More Ealing residents participate in arts outside of Ealing rather than within the borough.
Female performer at the cultural manifesto event on 31 March 2023

Paving the way

Ealing Council’s leader, Councillor Peter Mason, said: “Our cultural manifesto is an ambitious plan to not only unlock the potential and creativity of everyone living in Ealing, but also to make it easier for the arts and culture sector to thrive.

“We have already achieved things we are incredibly proud of, such as investing in our heritage buildings Gunnersbury Park Museum and Pitzhanger Manor and Gallery; setting up a Cultural Education Partnership so all our children and young people can access great art; adopting an arts charter for our schools; distributing half a million pounds in grants to our creative and digital businesses; opened a creative Enterprise Zone in North Acton and Park Royal. We can’t wait to build on these successes together with our residents, partners and creatives.”

Embracing diversity and creativity

54% of Ealing’s population are from people from ethnic minority backgrounds, with more than 160 languages spoken. Celebrating the diversity of our communities, the cultural manifesto hopes to help more creative people, more creative places and more creative communities.

Councillor Jasbir Anand, cabinet member for thriving communities, said:  “Ealing’s art and culture is both historic and cutting edge. In the 10 years since our previous cultural strategy was developed, there have been significant changes in the cultural landscape. To ensure that Ealing will still be at the forefront of British arts and culture, we have developed this dynamic cultural manifesto so we can address geographic inequities in access to culture in our borough, and be proud of Ealing’s cultural heritage in years to come.” 

Tonya Nelson, area director of Arts Council England, said: “Creativity has the power to energise and strengthen places, and this cultural manifesto is all about ensuring creativity is at the heart of Ealing and its multi-cultural communities, as well as supporting the immense talent and potential of residents. The Arts Council looks forward to working with the council to help deliver on its mission, which rhymes with our own strategy for 2020-30 called Let’s Create.” 

Justine Simons OBE, deputy mayor for culture and the creative industries, said: “I am delighted to support Ealing Council as they launch their ambitious manifesto, putting cultural strategy at the heart of their borough. Culture has the power to inspire our next generation, bring communities together and drive the local economy. Following the successful launch of the Mayor of London’s Creative Enterprise Zone in Acton and Park Royal, I look forward to continuing to work alongside Ealing Council to support the creative industries as part of our work to build a better London for everyone.”

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