I’m at the seminar on cultural planning at Creative Scotland offices in Edinburgh today and run by Napier University. I’ve summarised below some of the key issues from Greg Baeker and Sally Hun from Toronto. You will recall we used some of Greg’s work and you have read the Baeker report as part of the cultural planning course.
A round up of Greg Baekers’ talk this morning on cultural planning. Cultural assets being leveraged to aid regeneration in deprived communities in cities but also in the rural communities. Baeker talked too of the creative rural community. This seems to fit well with many of our Scottish creative communities which are identified as creative places and/or spaces, as can be seen from Creative Scotland’s Place partnerships and Creative Place awards for Scottish Communities. The examples from Canada are inspiring to see the joined-up approaches of not only the national agencies for the arts and culture but local authorities and city planners. They link the cultural economy with both the creative industries and the cultural industries, recognising that these are not just one sector. We have witnessed the same dilemmas over the terms of creative industries, suggesting they are only businesses where the cultural sector tends to lend itself to including third sector organisations and social enterprises. Festivals and events both rural and urban Baeker argues are key cultural assets for cities that are often overlooked and seen as an added extra or as something for local communities or private sectors. These areas can add significantly to the overall cultural offering of cities and locations, as many of you have talked about in our seminars and workshops. I’m heartened to see this as a key agenda point (not least since I am a Professor that looks at events and cultural policies) for our city policy makers. Toronto uses cultural mapping and in policy terms refers to the outputs as creative cultural gains as this is the language the fits best with politicians and policy makers in justifying spending in these areas.
We went on to hear from Sally Han, Senior Cultural affairs officer from the city of Toronto and project manager for Making Space for Culture. She outlined the Creative Capital Gains report that Toronto adopted to invest in culture as a way of meeting the city’s overall strategic objectives. $250m of city money that was more than matched by the private sector to make projects happen. Business leaders and cultural leaders got together over a ten year period to make strides in building work and development of a cultural plan for the whole city in 2003. Benchmarks for the city of $25 per capita as a benchmark for spending in the city since they were behind their American counterparts. A decade on, cultural tourism, cultural development and enterprise all come under one portal now. She highlighted that government support is still key to sustainability and private sector is seen as more than just the icing on the cake, but it is additional spend. The City need to use the cultural assets to change infrastructure and access to the city and venues to help people engage. She stressed events like @TO2015 help leverage cultural spending and investment. Added to that Toronto has a strong knowledge economy with 7 Universities in the city engaging in the Creative Industries helps enormously. Policy makers and national arts agencies @creativescots need to see the benefit of engaging strategically with Universities with creative and cultural schools and departments as these are the people that are most often linked to our creative practitioner, artists and planners.
Will hear more from the screen industries and academia later today.