The Committee was provided with an update on the current status of the ten-year cultural strategy, A City Imagining, which included proposed key actions in 2021/22 aligned to the implementation of year 2 of the strategy.
The Committee was reminded that, at its meeting in August 2019, the final ten-year cultural strategy for Belfast A City Imagining had been agreed. This included draft implementation plans for a three-year period to be reviewed and finalised on an annual basis.
The Director of Economic Development and Senior Manager - Culture and Tourism explained the current status of the Cultural Strategy, research that had been undertaken and the delivery of funding and awards.
The Senior Manager - Culture and Tourism advised that, despite the challenges of Covid-19, significant progress had been made in delivery against strategic targets in 2020/21. She confirmed that a detailed annual report would be submitted to the Committee in due course following the completion of end of year monitoring and evaluation. She then provided a summary of work which had been undertaken to date under the following themes:
· Investing in cultural sector;
· Sectoral Developments;
· Cultural Participation and Engagement; and
· Strategic Initiatives.
She provided also a summary of the key commitments and priorities of the Cultural Strategy for 2021/2022 and highlighted the process of the Pathfinder Scheme which was outlined in the report.
She clarified that the activities outlined in this report would be resourced from the 2021/22 budget for the Culture and Tourism section of the Economic Development division of the Place and Economy Departmental budget, in line with existing approvals, and a breakdown of specific areas of spend were included in Appendix 1.
During discussion, the Director of Economic Development and Senior Manager - Culture and Tourism answered a range of questions in relation to the need for building capacity in the LGBTQ community, the options to progress the Gig Buddies scheme, social clauses and accessibility measures, and music trails.
The Senior Manager - Culture and Tourism advised that the draft application for the UNESCO City of Music status would be presented to the Committee in June 2021, and officers would investigate potential opportunities for social clauses and accessibility initiatives.
In response to a Members query regarding further changing places facilities in cultural venues to ensure accessible tourism, the Senior Manager - Culture and Tourism suggested that this could be examined as part of the work being undertaken with partners, the Department for Communities and its Access and Inclusion Fund.
After discussion, the Committee:
I. Noted the contents of the report and progress against the delivery of the cultural strategy priorities;
II. Agreed the actions for 2021/22 as set out in the report and in appendix 1, including the budget implications at 3.42 to be met from existing departmental budgets;
III. Agreed the recommendations for Pathfinder awards as set out at 3.14, with further detail included in appendix 3;
IV. Noted that the draft application for the for UNESCO City of Music status would be presented to Committee in June 2021, and officers would investigate potential opportunities for social clauses and accessibility initiatives; and
V. Noted that changing places facilities in cultural venues could be examined as part of the Department for Communities access and inclusion fund.