Looking Through The Cultural Strategy For London

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 103 months ago
Looking Through The Cultural Strategy For London

Photo by Pgd from the Londonist Flickr pool
The things you do to pass a rainy afternoon. We spent ours flicking through all 200+ pages of the Mayor's new draft Cultural Strategy for London to see if there was anything in it. And despite being obsessed by the ArcelorMittal Orbit (aka the Intestines / Giant Spaghetti / Scoubidou), it's got some interesting stuff in there.

For a start, the GLA is looking at introducing a "Londoner's card" to create incentives for us to use local services and culture - from the way they talk about "harnessing new technology" it sounds like some kind of cultural Oyster card. It's all very vague at the moment; more details in 2011.

There's budget chat, of course. Should we be worried about the bit that says "The GLA is involved with a number of initiatives... which are addressing the efficiency of local cultural services, such as libraries, museums and archives"? But on the other hand, the strategy seems to set Boris at odds with his Tory pals in government by staunchly defending public funding for the arts:

Ironically, national government policies for the cultural sector which are fixated on instrumental arguments and measurements risk leading to an underestimation and misunderstanding of the actual long-term social and economic value of the subsidised cultural sector... the role of public funding for culture is closer to that of research and development, providing risk funding and the freedom to experiment that markets find it difficult to maintain.

And that's from a Conservative Mayor.

There's no mention of the Rise Festival but plenty of the Story of London, which looks like it's here to stay and will be used to bolt on any aims for engaging the outer boroughs in the arts or encouraging diversity and heritage. And speaking of outer London, there's going to be a concerted effort to widen participation in festivals and cultural events right across the city. Of course, it should be noted that everything included in the Strategy has to be achieved by negotiation and co-operation - there isn't one overarching cultural body for London (and Boris has no intention of creating one), so this is one massive buttering-up job.

Despite all the policy and investment stuff, however, the thing that will stay with us is the factoid that one in ten of all holiday decisions are partly based on destinations people have seen in films. (Someone tell Mike Leigh to stop shooting on council estates immediately.)

Last Updated 08 June 2010