Posts Tagged ‘derby city council’

Proposed cuts to arts and culture could threaten future business investment in Derby

Friday, October 28th, 2011

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I speak for us all at Katapult when I say that we were shocked and hugely disappointed to read that Derby City Council are proposing to make drastic cuts to arts and culture in our city. The plans show the intention to completely withdraw funding to two of the city’s key venues, QUAD and Deda over the next four years. Alongside other cuts to cultural and community organisations, this sends out a very concerning message about our city, its ambitions and its future.

The ‘Revenue Budget Proposal’ acknowledges that these venues will now need to source alternative funding and/or become self financing. These organisations were never supposed to be solely commercial venues and would never have received Arts Council Funding if that were the case.

The 2009-2011 Cultural Strategy for Derby ‘Action Plan’ outlined its vision in ‘ensuring that the importance of culture in the economy of the city is better understood’, which is now just one of many points which seems contradictory.

Culturally incredible progress has been achieved in Derby in recent years. Format has been internationally recognised as a leading photography festival and Derby Feste, founded by Keith Jeffrey (QUAD) and Stephen Munn (Deda) attracted over 25,000 people to the streets of Derby last month. This demonstrates the potential for cultural activities and their associated opportunities.

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As well as the social impact, businesses in the supply chain to these venues will be directly affected. QUAD spent £377k with local suppliers in 2010/11, ironically this is more than Derby City Council invested in the venue. Between them, QUAD and Deda have generated millions of pounds worth of international profile for the city, helping to attract new investment. Drastic cuts not only devalue these organisations and their impact, but demonstrate a lack of understanding over the social and economic benefits that culture plays in the development of the city.

It’s certainly important to Katapult, which is why we have invested in and supported cultural activities in the city. A strong cultural offer is key to attracting and retaining creative professionals which is important to our business.

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A city to invest in?

The cuts raise a wider discussion on the future of Derby’s city centre. We know that Derby is home to some strong and established businesses that provide the economic backbone of the city and we hear great things about the city’s industrial strength. However, every top-drawer city has more to offer than industrial heritage.

By further developing the cultural offering – more independent bars, shops and restaurants for example – we could increase footfall, encourage localised spending and help attract new business to the city. It is only through long term commitment and investment that success will be achieved.

The Council states that it expects to make a loss in rental income from Derby’s indoor markets of £210,000 in 2012/2013 and a review of markets will take place to understand the pressures faced. This provides a perfect opportunity for the Council to work proactively with independent and creative retailers on finding a potential solution to these pressures.  The aim should be to produce a more attractive retail offer in line with the type of markets found in nearby cities such as Leeds and Birmingham.

Reports such as the Centre for Cities ‘Shifting the Gears’ claim that Derby must reach out beyond its borders and its traditional industrial base to grow. Shouldn’t now be the time that the city looks to further invest in the creative and cultural industries: the third fastest growing sector in the UK?

The short-sightedness of the council makes businesses like ours concerned about the future of our city.  Culture is a vital aspect of an aspirational city, not just a nice-to-have.

Here’s how you can make your voice heard and support the ‘Save Derby Arts and Culture’ campaign:

1)      Get informed about Derby City Council’s specific plans by looking at the budget proposal
2)      Fill in the feedback form. The section relating to arts and culture cuts is under the ‘Neighbourhoods’ section. You have until Friday 18 November to do this.
3)      Send your stories in a polite email to Derby City Council leader Philip Hickson and deputy leader Hilary Jones.
4)      Share your stories on the Facebook page Save Derby Arts and follow the campaign on Twitter @SaveDerbyArts
5)      Write to the Derby Telegraph with your stories and ask the editor Steve Hall and entertainment editor Nigel Powlson to run a campaign.
6)      Support the organisations affected by the proposed cuts by going to their events and exhibitions, eating and drinking in their cafes and bars and taking part in their participatory projects.

Author: Dawn Foote, Managing Director

Christmas Playground now open for all!

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Wooden Car - Toyota

The Christmas Playground was officially launched last night to the partners (santas helpers) and everybody who was involved with the project (elves), and most importantly to a large and very excited group of children!

At a VIP event in the BOX at QUAD, with mulled wine for the grown-ups and candy canes for the kids, Katapult’s Dawn (dressed as an elf) thanked everyone for their contribution. The video of Andrew Frost sculpting the toys was shown for the first time, and will now be repeated regularly on the BBC Big Screen throughout the duration of the Christmas Playground and can be viewed here http://www.christmasplayground.co.uk/elves-workshop

Everyone was then led outside to the Market Place where the sculptures were unveiled one by one by the partners. One of the first children to play on them, Scarlett Roe,10, of Allestree said: “they’re really brilliant. It’s clear a lot of work has gone into them…And young children can play on them with older children while adults will like how they look.”

The children continued to play on the toys until they were dragged off home for tea which is the way we hope it will continue to be!

For more information please see the press release: www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/news

You can check out the pictures from last night on the Christmas Playground Flickr account

www.christmasplayground.co.uk

The Christmas Playground is launched!

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Christmas Playground

It’s finally here! The Christmas Playground, created and led by Katapult, will be officially launched this afternoon at a festive VIP event.

The playground features a range of giant wooden sculptures crafted by sculptor Andrew Frost to celebrate Derby’s heritage, culture and diverse community.

The Christmas Playground will connect communities, the private and public sectors and local arts organisations through this absorbing attraction in Derby’s Cathedral Quarter, the cultural heart of the city.

There are a number of sculptures representing key partners in the project including two penguins (University of Derby), a car (Toyota), a train (Bombardier), a jet engine (Rolls-Royce), a soldier (Derby City Council) and a bear (Royal Crown Derby).

Once the festivities are over, the sculptures will be moved to the Royal Derby Hospital for the recreational enjoyment of the hospital’s community and visitors.

Katapult’s Managing Director, Dawn Foote said: “The project is unique to Derbyshire and will bind its world-class manufacturing and creative industries, which are key to Derby’s heritage and make-up.”

Derby City Centre manager Melanie Allen said: “Derby’s Christmas Playground is an excellent showcase of usable public art. I am sure that the children will love climbing over the wooden toys while parents take a moment’s relaxation from Christmas shopping in Derby.”

And Martin Langsdale, Chair of the Cathedral Quarter management group said: “The Christmas Playground fits in perfectly with the Cathedral Quarter’s ethos as an area that is individual, diverse and inspiring.”

After months of planning and designing, Katapult are really looking forward to unveiling the toys to the project’s partners and the public in the playground later today. There will be University of Derby choir carol singing, plenty of mince pies and mulled wine and Rammie Claus for the kids!

Please read the full press release at www.derby.ac.uk/news

For more details about the project and activities in the Christmas Playground visit the website: www.christmasplayground.co.uk

Herbert’s Dream launches Derby Feste

Monday, September 7th, 2009

Derby Feste was officially launched at Derby Museum & Art Gallery on Friday with a few words from Stephen Munn from Deda and Helen Osler from Derby City Council.

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Image Credit Seamus McKenna

We then gathered outside where we were greeted by four tall, mysterious figures who led a growing crowd up to Cathedral Green. At Cathedral Green, they then transformed into huge unearthly beings that magically lit up and performed a dancing ritual which culminated in the release of a huge ball of light into the sky, bright enough to light up the entire Green. The Close-Act characters then led people off into the market place for the big street party.

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Image Credit Seamus McKenna

We all enjoyed the Derbyshire Volunteers Ceilidh Band who got everyone up and dancing in the market place, some of us got quite confused with the moves! The centre was buzzing with people all enjoying the continental feel that had spread over Derby.