A Toolkit for Smarter Cultural Investments in Our Towns, Cities and Regions

Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP recently commissioned Culture Central to write A Toolkit for Smarter Cultural Investments in Our Towns, Cities and Regions; a report aimed at rethinking the role that public funders like LEPs play, in helping to make the most of culture across the region.

Birmingham City is arguably the strongest cluster of major arts organisations in any English city outside London – and our vibrant cultural offer goes far beyond the city centre; extending across our towns and local centres. These can be vital drivers of distinctiveness and activity, and help underscore the value that culture brings, including:

  • Shaping a distinct and desirable identity – which can stimulate investment, activity, sponsorship and media coverage
  • Sustaining footfall and drawing visitors – which can re-invigorate high streets and stimulate business and retail activity
  • Enhancing economic and social value – which can encourage developers, boost property values and invigorate local centres
  • Stimulating knowledge transfer and innovation in business – which is often driven by the growth of our cultural and creative industries.

Culture Central’s report recommends several actions that GBSLEP and other public funders should be taking now. These include the adoption of four cultural tests to ensure that cultural projects; build on regional distinctiveness, extend or create ‘class-leading’ assets, take an innovative approach to cultural investment and contribute to a cluster/ecosystem-based model.

Read the report here.

Report cover image: Rosie Kay Dance Company perform Modern Warrior at Birmingham Weekender 2017.


To hear about GBSLEP’s response to this report, and the immediate calls and investments the LEP plans to make, a joint event with Culture Central is being held on Tuesday 3 December, to discuss the issues and opportunities presented by the report. Find out more about this event.

Please contact GBSLEP for more information about their approach to cultural investments, asking for their ‘Creative & Cultural Lead’.

More on the LEP’s approach to culture and cultural assets can be found here.

More on the LEP’s wider work across the creative industries can be found here.