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What does Lancashire’s devolution deal mean for Arts & Culture?

The consultation process for the proposed Lancashire Combined County Authority involving three upper tier councils is now underway and the public is being asked to have their say.

If the proposals for a devolution deal for Lancashire are accepted, Government would give additional powers and funding to the Lancashire Combined County Authority – made up of Lancashire County Council, Blackburn with Darwen Council and Blackpool Council – and more control over the decision-making that affects Lancashire’s residents and businesses.

The exact implications of the proposed devolution deal on Lancashire’s arts and culture sector has not been explored as fully as it might have been, but the proposal explicitly recognises the fundamental importance of the county’s cultural and tourism assets as vital components contributing to the overall vision for the county’s growth and prosperity.[/vc_column_text]

“Lancashire’s rich cultural and heritage offer has an important role in the proposed CCA’s plans to attract and retain skilled workers, and in contributing to ‘pride in place’ in the region.” 

The proposed Lancashire Combined County Authority (CCA) intends to collaborate with local stakeholders across Lancashire to strengthen the county’s cultural assets and integrate them into the fabric of Lancashire’s identity and development.

The broader scope and context of the proposal appears to be more inclusive which suggests that culture is seen as part of the overall strategy for economic development, community well-being, and quality of life in the region. In this way it aligns art and culture with broader objectives related to innovation, skills development, transport, climate change, digital infrastructure, housing, and local governance.

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What could this mean for you?

If you live or work in Lancashire and you’re an arts student, a freelance artist, a cultural business/venue owner, or an employee of an arts organisation, you may have questions or opinions on what the plans for culture could be within the final devolution deal proposal.

For example, arts students may have questions or opinions on what provisions the proposed CCA could make to help Lancashire attract and retain artistic talent within the county to support career pathways and job creation in the arts and culture sector.

Freelance artists may wish to comment on what the proposed CCA could do to increase support for initiatives that nurture creative and digital skills and foster entrepreneurship within the arts and cultural sector.

Cultural business and venue owners and employees might want to direct questions and opinions on how the proposed CCA could bring about a strategic, joined up and equitable approach to investment in cultural events, festivals and initiatives that align with their objectives.

You may also have thoughts on the advocacy and actions the proposed CCA could take to support more inclusive and accessible cultural spaces and programming across the county and to ensure representation and participation from Lancashire’s diverse communities.

If your practice is community based, you could have suggestions for how the proposed CCA could use arts-based interventions to address social challenges, such as isolation, mental health issues or bridging the gaps within communities.

These are just a few example talking points you might consider commenting on in the consultation questionnaire. You may have other interests and concerns that are important to you and that you would like to highlight.

Share your thoughts

From now until Friday 26th January 2024, we invite you to weigh in on Lancashire’s proposed devolution plans.  It’s crucial that Lancashire’s cultural voice resonates strongly to ensure its value and ongoing role in a devolved Lancashire receives rightful acknowledgment and appropriate investment. Let’s ensure the devolution deal adequately addresses your needs and aspirations as a member of Lancashire’s arts and culture sector.

Paper surveys

If you are unable to access the consultation digitally please visit your local library to request a printed questionnaire, or call 0300 123 6782.

Alternative versions

If you require an alternative version of the survey such as braille or another language, please email [email protected].

Find out more

If you would like to know more about the devolution proposals, you can drop into any of the planned consultation events that are taking place across Lancashire this month:

  • Thursday 11 January – 6pm to 7pm in Fleetwood Library, North Albert Street, Fleetwood, FY7 6AJ
  • Monday 15 January – 1pm to 3pm in Blackburn Central Library, Town Hall Street, Blackburn
  • Monday 15 January – 6pm to 7pm in Burnley Library, Grimshaw Street, Burnley, BB11 2BD
  • Monday 15 January – 6pm to 7pm in Chorley Library, Union Street, Chorley, PR7 1EB
  • Tuesday 16 January – 5pm to 7pm in Blackpool Central Library, Queen Street, Blackpool
  • Wednesday 17 January – 6pm to 7pm in Lancaster Central Library, Market Square, Lancaster, LA1 1HY
  • Thursday 18 January – 6pm to 7pm in Garstang Library, Windsor Road, Garstang, PR3 1ED
  • Thursday 18 January – 6pm to 7pm in Longridge Library, Berry Lane, Longridge, PR3 3JA
  • Monday 22 January – 6pm to 7pm in Colne Library, Market Street, Colne, BB8 0AP
  • Monday 22 January – 6pm to 7pm in Skelmersdale Library, Southway, Skelmersdale, WN8 6NL
  • Wednesday 24 January – 6pm to 7pm in Fulwood Library, 294 Garstang Road, Fulwood, Preston, PR2 9RX
  • Thursday 25 January – 6pm to 7pm in St Anne’s Library, 254 Clifton Drive South, Lytham St Annes, FY8 1NR
  • A drop in event is also planned for the Rossendale area and further information will be published once this is arranged.
Text kindly supplied by Arts Lancashire, the strategic voice for the county’s independent arts and culture sector.

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