Championing arts and culture in the Sheffield City Region was the focus of an event hosted by Mayor Dan Jarvis yesterday (Thursday 29 November).
Experts in areas including music, heritage and tourism gathered at Barnsley’s Digital Media Centre to discuss how they can work together to inspire the next generation of artists, attract visitors and grow the region’s cultural economy.
Speakers included Mayor Jarvis and Pete Massey, Director for Northern Economy and Partnerships at Arts Council England (North).
Mayor Jarvis said: “Our region is home to nationally-significant assets including galleries, museums, the largest theatre complex outside of London, and the soon-to-be-reopened Wentworth Castle Gardens.
“We also have a thriving music scene, a talented community of artists, sculptors and makers, and hugely successful tourist attractions that bring in visitors from across the whole of the UK.
“If we work together and combine this expertise, I believe we can be more than the sum of our parts. That’s why I am delighted to support this event; bringing together people who are experts in their fields to share knowledge, explore opportunities to work together and, ultimately, raise the cultural profile of our region on a national scale.”
Yesterday’s event was the latest in a series of initiatives organised by the Mayor to champion the Sheffield City Region’s excellence in arts and culture.
Earlier this month, the Mayor and South Yorkshire council officials met with Sir Gary Verity, of Welcome to Yorkshire, at Cannon Hall Farm to explore ideas around collectively promoting the region’s tourism offer.
The Mayor also visited Hull last week to learn more about the city’s experience of being the UK City of Culture in 2017. As part of his manifesto, Mayor Jarvis pledged to enter a Sheffield City Regional bid to be the next UK City of Culture, in 2025.
Working in partnership with UK Music, Mayor Jarvis has also successfully created the first Music Board to meet outside of London, bringing together artists, venues, music businesses and festival organisers to help shape and grow the region’s music industry.
The new Sheffield City Region Music Board, which met for the first time in November, aims to harness the talent and ambition of all those who are passionate about music, from primary school-aged children right up to established musicians.
Michael Dugher, CEO of UK Music, said: “Dan Jarvis is a passionate champion of our creative industries and has shown real leadership in setting up the first meeting of a Music Board outside of London. It has been a great success in London. It’s time other parts of the country had the same.”
Attendees at yesterday’s meeting came from organisations including Museums Sheffield, S1 Artspace, Barnsley Civic, Sheffield Creative Guild, Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust, Wentworth Woodhouse, Cast theatre in Doncaster, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the University of Sheffield, all four of South Yorkshire’s local authorities, and more.
Laura Bennett, Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) board member and digital consultant, said: “This event was a fantastic gathering of cultural institutions from across the Sheffield City Region, encompassing art, museums, theatre, cinema, literature, sculpture, and plenty more besides.
“There was fervent agreement that not only does culture enrich our quality of life, but that it also is a driver for growth in and of itself – not as an afterthought, but front and central to any economic development agenda.
“We found plenty of common ground across a huge diversity of organisations, together creating an ambitious vision for culture in Sheffield City Region, a place where culture and creative industries touch every person from every walk of life. I look forward to working with others around the region to make this vision a reality.”