A review of arts projects in a number of cities around Northern Britain shows that they can be effective in combating social exclusion by building long term pride in communities and in the people who live in them.
Culture Makes Communities is a conference presented by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in collaboration with the West Yorkshire Playhouse. It will demonstrate to leading decision-makers the value of resourcing these projects by exposing them to creative achievement as well as providing the arguments and understanding to take action.
Mark Fisher MP, Minister for the Arts, will deliver the Opening Address. Other speakers include Jude Kelly OBE, Artistic Director of the West Yorkshire Playhouse and Catherine Graham Harrison, Trustee of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Jenni Murray from the BBC will chair the event.
The day will also include testimonies in the form of presentations exploring successful creative ventures from a range of community groups and showing how these have transformed people (See Editors Notes). Barrie Rutter, Artistic Director of Northern Broadsides, will introduce these presentations.
Richard Best, Director of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said: 'In our extensive programme of research on disadvantaged estates it has become increasingly clear that cultural projects can play a vital role in empowering people and contributing to sustained regeneration.'
'We are delighted to be hosting this unique and important event,' comments Jude Kelly. 'As individuals, as communities and as a nation, we need to define who we are - and to shape who we would like to become. For that reason we need to view culture as an essential touchstone in community development - the first evidence of where our imaginations are leading us.'