Warrington’s bold, five-year vision for cultural growth has been set out.
The Cultural Framework 2020-2025 highlights ambitions to make Warrington’s cultural scene vibrant, thriving, diverse and – importantly – inclusive, so that everyone can reap the benefits of having access to high-quality cultural activities across the borough.
The new framework sets the vision for a varied cultural programme that aims to excite, engage and inspire. Led by Warrington’s Culture Board and delivered in partnership with key cultural and community groups, alongside the council, the framework is set to build on the town’s blossoming cultural and events programme, with a particular focus on nurturing cultural talent in the town.
The six key goals in the framework are:
• To develop a place-making strategy, which creates a cultural brand for Warrington and highlights the centrality of arts and culture to the borough as a whole, to individual communities within it and to the town centre.
• For Warrington to be a welcoming place for cultural practitioners to experiment, create, collaborate, champion and lead our cultural growth and to produce the highest quality offering for Warrington and beyond.
• For Warrington to be an incubator for talent, providing opportunities for professional support and learning.
• To promote and recognise the connections between creative and cultural activity, and how a strong creative and cultural scene can support improved social, health and wellbeing outcomes.
• To harness creative technology and digital platforms, to support Warrington’s buoyant economy and shape the town’s arts and culture to be more accessible, dynamic and diverse.
• To commit to developing our existing assets into attractive, thriving venues which make a valuable and recognisable contribution to Warrington the place.
Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, Chair of Warrington’s Culture Board and Cabinet member for culture at Warrington Borough Council, said:
“We are seeing Warrington’s culture, arts, leisure and music scene really start to fulfil its potential.
“In recent months, and indeed ever since our UK City of Culture 2021 bid, partners across Warrington have delivered some stand-out cultural activities and exhibitions. We hosted Luke Jerram’s magnificent Museum of the Moon which attracted more than 11,500 people, the Technically Brilliant Art pop-up gallery in Golden Square and of course began our pioneering partnership with theatre company Not Too Tame, which will see them reaching out to communities who wouldn’t normally attend theatre productions.
“We also have a number of other exhibitions and shows that attract many thousands of people a year, a nationally recognised music festival in the Neighbourhood Weekender, treasured architecture in Walton Hall and Gardens - and we’ve given rise to some artistic gems like the Unseen Artist Eric Tucker.
“It’s clear that over recent years Warrington has been something of a cultural sleeping giant, and this framework sets out our ambitious plans to raise the game and take what’s on offer to the next level.
“Music and creativity are very special to me, and many of my relatives are involved in the arts – whether performing, teaching, composing, recording, painting, designing or crafting. My grandfather was a bandsman during World War II and later became a semi-professional musician on the light-entertainment circuit. I know first-hand, through my own experiences of playing music and teaching performing arts, how culture, music and the arts can boost health and happiness. It’s our vision that on a broader scale across Warrington we develop a cultural programme which makes a huge contribution to people’s wellbeing and brings people closer together.
“This vision is something for everyone to get behind and celebrate. We want to make sure people are proud of what Warrington has got to offer. This framework will set the tone for our town’s cultural future.”
The Cultural Framework was approved by Warrington’s Culture Board and subsequently ratified at the Council’s Cabinet meeting on Monday 9 March. You can read the full Cultural Framework 2020-2025 on the council website at warrington.gov.uk/cultural-framework