Agenda item

Cultural Consortium Update


Simon Walters (Director for Communities and Environment) introduced the item with an overview and background on the purpose of the discussion which was to receive an update on the creation of a cultural consortium following a successful award of funding to the University of Lincoln. 


During consideration of the presentation, the following points were noted:


  • Collaborative work with the University of Lincoln and key cultural delivery partner, Zest Theatre, had started over a year ago
  • There had been a significant number of events over the last six to eight months to drive culture within the City
  • Further to the engagement of 1,094 young people by Zest Theatre between January and March 2022, a framework of six maxims became the steer for a new cultural compact for Lincoln
  • The cultural programme had been funded by Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) and had enabled the build of cultural talent at grass-root level
  • The grant received was for a total of £102,000
  • The ambition was for creative commissioning, working with young people to invigorate the High Street with a contemporary interpretation of its history and future
  • Frequency Festival, the International Festival of Digital Culture had been very successful and had enabled connection with the public through interaction with key heritage sites and engagement with historic stories and materials
  • HAZ funding enabled expansion and visibility of the festival programme within the City which welcomed over 15,000 visitors over the four day period
  • In July 2022, 12,000 visitors attended Lincoln’s 1940’s weekend which featured a 1940’s inspired shop window advert trail, curated by a local artist, Emma Taylor
  • An event entitled ‘South of the Tracks’ showcased a diverse line-up of live music from talented Lincolnshire acts to celebrate Lincoln’s High Street post Covid-19
  • The event recorded 14,740 engagements during a six hour period. It was anticipated that the event would return next year
  • The City of Lincoln Council (CoLC) grant funded Pride which attracted more than 6,500 people over the course of the day
  • In addition to increased footfall within HAZ areas, online interaction with the HAZ logo branded posts on social media reached a combined exposure level of over 2,400 accounts
  • An event entitled ‘Festival of Street Theatre’ was enjoyed by over 500 people, right in the heart of the City Centre in April 2023
  • Lincoln Christmas Market 2022 experienced the largest attendance on record with over 320,000 visitors to the four day event. Social media engagement included a reach of 882,236 people in the two week lead up to the event
  • Funding had been provided for a Christmas light trail which would also feature in Christmas 2023 plans for the City. In addition, Lincoln Business Improvement Group (BIG) funded the installation of a large, illuminated reindeer on the waterfront
  • ‘Trailtale’ incorporated the use of an app that helped direct visitors across the City to experience walking through Lincoln’s hidden high street histories. The total app downloads/users exceeded 3,000 for the City
  • Significant investment had helped create a local art consortium entitled, ‘A Mash Up!!’ to build capacity
  • Legacy work included:
    • £1.4M project within the Lincoln Town Deal Board Programme, to digitally enable the City centre using cultural activity as the driver
    • £250,000 events programme per annum legacy from the Christmas Market
    • ACE Cultural Commission for the City, in progress
    • NPO status for key partners – building capacity with infrastructure bodies for the cultural sector


The Chair thanked Simon for his hard work, informative presentation and welcomed comments and questions from the Committee. As a result of the discussions between Members, the following points were made:


Question: Had the UK Shared Prosperity Funding (UKSPF) bid for funding for the Barbican been successful?


Response: The UKSPF fund was significantly oversubscribed and the bid for funding for a bespoke outdoor space for young people had not been successful within the first wave of funding. It was hoped that the bid would be considered within future waves of funding.


Question: How was involvement from local artists secured?


Response: Local artists involvement was secured through Mash Up!! Which was extending its reach regularly. In addition, though Toby Ealden, Zest Theatre who had connections within local culture. Partnerships played a key role in increasing reach as part of a cultural compact.


Question: Was a bid for ‘City of Culture’ still a consideration?


Response: A bid for ‘City of Culture’ could be further considered within the Council’s new strategic plan, Vision 2030. However, the level of investment required to secure the status of ‘City of Culture’ was estimated to be approximately £20M, which was currently beyond the Council’s resources. It may be useful to consider a countywide approach that focussed on a collective area. It appeared, from previous conversations that whilst there was an appetite to work collaboratively on arts and culture, a bid for UK City of culture was not a key focus for many neighbouring areas at present.


Comment: Members were pleased to learn of events south of the railway line and the consideration that had been given to the historic heritage of the City further to the Guildhall and the Cathedral.


Question: Lincoln’s famous Christmas Market was cancelled due to safety concerns. Within the budget, was there plans for Christmas events?


Response: The budget agreed by the Executive mandated consideration of events spread across the whole year to enable everybody to benefit. Information and further details would emerge in the near future with regard to a sizable offering for Christmas 2023 and for the full year. The engagement exercise was extensive and events that would fall within 2023 had been arranged. Work would soon begin on events for 2024.


Comment: Other areas around the country such as Sheffield and Manchester were very good at nurturing and retaining their own talent.


Response: Lincoln missed a forum to bring cultural offerings together. The cultural compact would come in later in the year to bring together local talent.


Question: Would Christmas Lights be installed between Tentercroft Street and the Railway line? There was an opportunity to make the area a cultural space for pop up events.


Response: There would be Christmas lights installed in the area. The use of the space for pop up events became difficult as there was no power and nothing to feed off of within the area. The mechanics of it for events were difficult. The Cornhill area had pop up power points. The contract awarded for the Christmas lights had been to a local supplier – a new Christmas lights provider that would install and take down the lights. We have been provided with a design for the lower high street however the caveat was that power needed to be sourced. Lincoln County Council had been amenable with helping.


The Chair gave thanks to Simon Walters for the information provided and for the work carried out for residents within the City.


RESOLVED that: -


  1. The Democratic Services Officer be tasked with circulating information regarding Frequency Festival to Members, further to the meeting


  1. The content of the presentation be noted with thanks.