Consortium of arts groups across Leeds calls for cultural sector to help shape a devolution deal for the region

A consortium of arts organisations in Leeds is launching a social media campaign today to make the case for cultural investment through a devolution deal for the city.

Monday, 13th July 2020, 6:00 am

The arts and cultural sector of Leeds are joining forces to encourage people to use their voices to shape the future as the deadline nears for consultation on West Yorkshire’s devolution deal.

Campaigners say the the cultural sector offers an insight into the everyday lives of everyday people in the city and that they should use their voice during this consultation to help shape the future of the city.

Leaders of the five West Yorkshire councils have secured a devolution deal with Government, which will see an historic transfer of powers and investment from Whitehall to the region. It will give local control of at least £1.8bn of funding to be spent on the things that matter to the people of West Yorkshire.

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Consultation on what the deal should include ends on July 19 and leaders of two of the biggest cultural movements in Leeds have put their voice behind more focus being placed on the arts sector.

Ruth Pitt, is chair of Leeds 2023. It was created back in 2014 as the city embarked upon a journey to become the European Capital of Culture. However, in the light of Brexit, it was decided that work already done should continue and culminate in an international year of culture in 2023.

She said: "Never before have we experienced the value of creative activity as keenly, as we continue to feel the shockwaves of this pandemic. Lockdown has highlighted the huge contribution the cultural sector makes to the whole of the UK, economically, socially and culturally.

Ruth Pitt is the chair of Leeds 2023.

“Creative talent has been nurtured for decades both in Leeds and across West Yorkshire, so we are now home to an enviable and diverse ecosystem of artists, small independent groups and major national organisations. Collectively the sector offers a wealth of perspectives on the everyday lives being lived by people in all our communities, and we are ready to add our distinctive voice to the challenges that lie ahead in shaping our future."

Richard Mantle, General Director, Opera North added: “Devolution is a unique opportunity for the people of West Yorkshire to have a say in shaping their future. At Opera North we use music in classrooms, theatres, homes and public spaces to entertain and inspire, telling stories that reflect the people and places we serve.

“We encourage anyone who enjoys the work we create to have a say now in this consultation process, ensuring our thriving and diverse cultural industry continues to help define our region, bringing economic value but more importantly enriching the lives of everyone who lives here.”