Barking and Dagenham, Newham named priority areas by Arts Council

Darren Henley, chief executive of the Arts Council England

Arts Council England chief executive Darren Henley. - Credit: Arts Council England

Arts Council England (ACE) has identified Barking and Dagenham and Newham as priority areas for cultural investment over the next three years.

The boroughs are among 54 “priority places” across the country named in ACE’s delivery plan for 2021-2024, which is published today (Thursday, September 16).

ACE will work closely with these locations to develop new opportunities for investment, both from the public body itself and other partners, aiming to give more people the opportunity to enjoy cultural experiences in their community.

ACE director for London, Tonya Nelson, said five boroughs across the capital - including Brent, Croydon and Enfield - were chosen following a “detailed, data driven approach”.

She said: “London is home to world-leading museums, music venues, theatres and much more.

“Despite this, there remains so much potential, which our new priority places programme will untap.

“These boroughs present significant opportunities to bring arts, culture and creativity to even more Londoners in our city.

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“Being a priority place will give a boost to current ambitions and encourage further collaboration between cultural organisations and stakeholders resulting in a richer cultural offering.” 

Priority places were chosen based on a review of current public investment and opportunities to engage with creative and cultural activity.

Each were recognised as being ambitious to drive positive change through culture.

The delivery plan for 2021-2024 sets out a detailed roadmap to implement the vision of ACE’s strategy Let's Create, which aims to increase focus on specific places under-served in the past.

ACE chief executive officer Darren Henley said: “Artists, arts organisations, museums and libraries have found creative new ways to serve their audiences and communities since the start of the pandemic. 

“Our new delivery plan shows how we’ll work with them to build on that spirit of imagination and innovation as our society reopens.

“It’s particularly exciting to be focusing on our 54 priority places over the coming years.

“We’re looking forward to nurturing dynamic new partnerships with local people and organisations in each of these locations.” 

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