Mu­se­ums chief says cul­ture has a big role to play in the Pow­er­house

Chief calls for fund­ing to make Pow­er­house re­al­ity

Yorkshire Post - Business - - FRONT PAGE - BERNARD GINNS BUSI­NESS EDITOR Email: bernard. ginns@ ypn. co. uk Twit­ter: @ bernardginns

A MU­SE­UMS chief has called for greater in­vest­ment in arts and cul­ture in the North to help make the North­ern Pow­er­house a re­al­ity.

Kim Streets, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Mu­se­ums Sh­effield, said pub­lic fund­ing for Lon­don’s at­trac­tions should not come at the ex­pense of re­gional cities.

Re­search by The York­shire Post in 2014 re­vealed that the cap­i­tal re­ceived nearly four times as much Arts Coun­cil fund­ing per head as York­shire.

Ms Streets said: “There is more to be done in how dis­tri­bu­tion of na­tional arts fund­ing makes its way through­out the coun­try... es­pe­cially if we are talk­ing about North­ern Pow­er­house.”

She added that arts and cul­ture are vi­tal to the idea of a suc­cess­ful eco­nomic coun­ter­weight to the cap­i­tal.

Ms Streets said: “If we want to be that North­ern Pow­er­house, then arts and cul­ture has to be cen­tral to what makes this a vi- brant econ­omy. Why would you in­vest here?

“Why would you as a stu­dent for ex­am­ple come to this city, spend your £ 50,000 on your education, if there was no nightlife, no cul­tural life, if it felt scruffy, if it felt down, why would you do that?

“The same is true of busi­nesses which might be mov­ing from the South to the North. Busi­nesses which might be in­vest­ing here, why would you come to the North if it didn’t feel vi­brant?

“What we bring to a city like this in terms of cul­tural vi­brancy, in terms of mak­ing it at­trac­tive, a great place to move your fam­ily to, to study here, to in­vest here, is cen­tral.

“If it was just in­dus­try and no great theatre, no great parks and no great cul­ture, you would have Arts has to be cen­tral to what makes this a

vi­brant econ­omy. Kim Streets, chief ex­ec­u­tive

of Mu­se­ums Sh­effield some big ques­tions about why you would want to move your pop­u­la­tion there.”

She made the com­ments in an in­ter­view about the Year of Mak­ing Sh­effield 2016, a year- long fes­ti­val to cel­e­brate all forms of mak­ing. Themes in­clude art and de­sign, man­u­fac­tur­ing and in­dus­try, film and lit­er­a­ture, her­itage and place­mak­ing and mu­sic and per­for­mance.

The fes­ti­val will fea­ture an ex­hi­bi­tion called Made in Sh­effield, de­scribed by or­gan­is­ers as “a mini- trade show” with ex­hibits from more than 100 com­pa­nies.

Ms Streets said the Year of Mak­ing will demon­strate what Sh­effield and the wider city re­gion can of­fer the North­ern Pow­er­house.

She added: “It is say­ing we are pro­duc­ing ex­cel­lence across a whole range of ar­eas in this city, we do have global reach. It is about build­ing that pro­file, build­ing a re­ally strong iden­tity and build­ing con­fi­dence and a com­pelling nar­ra­tive for Sh­effield that says we have a role to play in that.

“It is part of that con­ver­sa­tion about fund­ing that comes from the Trea­sury to the North... it is about build­ing pro­file and say­ing we are open for busi­ness, we have got some great op­por­tu­ni­ties here, this is an out­stand­ing place to live, to work, to in­vest.”

Ms Streets said civic mu­se­ums in the North are in “peril”. She added: “There are some big risks there as we see cen­tral Govern­ment fund­ing to lo­cal au­thor­i­ties de­cline.

“We can see that a lot of lo­cal au­thor­i­ties are strug­gling to meet statu­tory re­quire­ments. We are not a statu­tory re­quire­ment.

“We do need fund­ing to make sure our cap­i­tal thrives. That can­not be at the ex­pense of our re­gional cities... We have got po­ten­tial ob­vi­ously and we are do­ing bril­liant things but it does re­quire fair in­vest­ment.”

KIM STREETS: The chief ex­ec­u­tive of Mu­se­ums Sh­effield said that arts and cul­ture are vi­tal to the idea of a suc­cess­ful eco­nomic coun­ter­weight to the cap­i­tal.

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