Post COVID do local Cultural Trusts hold some clues for the future of cultural leadership in our town and cities?
Cultural Trusts come in many shapes and sizes across England. Some emerged to protect local authority cultural assets, set free to operate outside the constraints of local government austerity-driven cuts. Others were set up to lead large DCMS-funded projects such as the Great Places Scheme. Whilst others appeared through a coalition of interested stakeholders in a city or town. Whatever their birth, a Culture Trust can play a critical role in local cultural leadership. Now perhaps more than ever as we emerge from the cultural rubble of the last year. The idea is far from new. The 1953-54 annual report for the then Arts Council of Great Britain urged local authorities to set up "Civic Arts Trusts". These trusts would gather data, fill gaps in programming (through pilot projects), and look to raise additional funds for culture in cities.