Labour Metro Mayor candidate Dan Norris today launched his ‘Culture Covenant’ at a summit with leading figures from the region’s creative sector and Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Minister Alison McGovern.
With live performance venues, museums and galleries shuttered and productions put on hold, Bath and Bristol’s normally thriving cultural sector has been particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The summit discussed how since lockdown there has been a collapse in working hours across the creative industries and a 30% fall in jobs in music, performing and visual arts.
Metro Mayor candidate Dan Norris announced that if elected he would create a ‘Culture Covenant’ locking in guaranteed support for the arts from the combined authority investment fund.
He said: “Culture is so important to the wellbeing of the West of England. It’s critical to local jobs and the economy and to boosting our health and wellbeing. At today’s summit I heard some awful tales about how performers are struggling but also inspiring examples of innovative online productions. But nothing will replace seeing, hearing, feeling and experiencing plays, art and music in the flesh. I want to ensure as Metro Mayor that there is local support to enable our amazing, world-beating creative industries to get back on their feet which is why I’m proud to unveil my ‘Culture Covenant’ today.”
Bath-based Hilary Strong, Director of Making Theatre Gaining Skills, an arts-based training enterprise said “the revival of the cultural sector depends on dynamic regional strategies to ensure that local theatre, galleries and concert halls are properly supported and that young people get the opportunities they need to access a career in the arts. This event was a really important step in the right direction”.