Your Voice Focus Group - What's the Next Big Idea for Doncaster's Arts and Cultural Horizon?
Join fellow business leaders to hear more and discuss what is being done on a local, regional and national level, for Doncaster’s arts and cultural landscape, the benefits it brings to business and the local economy and if/how it needs to be improved.
The meeting will be held on Thursday 3 August from 11am to 12.30pm at the Holiday Inn A1(M) Jct 36, in the Cusworth Suite within Warmsworth Hall (the older building set down from the main hotel).
Firstly, Andrew Erskine, Senior Associate at Tom Flaming Creative Consultancy, will present on Doncaster Council’s £15 million plan for a new building to house the town’s museum, art gallery, archives and digital creative hub spot and discuss how it can be used to benefit business.
Secondly, Deborah Rees, Director of Cast, will lead a discussion on ‘How can the culture sector better engage with business?’ and ‘How can businesses/organisations be supported to provide volunteering opportunities, apprenticeships, work placements & internships’.
Thirdly, Dan Fell, ceo of Doncaster Chamber, will ask the question, ‘What’s the next big idea for the town’s arts and cultural offering that will positively impact on business, skills, education, and the local economy.
This focus group aims to start a genuinely open and collaborative conversation about your thoughts, experiences and ideas about what the national, regional and local government and providers need to get right to drive Doncaster as a renowned arts and culture hub to encourage national and even international inward investment, give young people more transferable skills for being work-ready, and put Doncaster on the map as a great place to live, work and play.
Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership
In previous focus group discussions, it has been highlighted by local businesses that the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper and the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership’s (SCR LEP) Strategic Economic Plan somewhat lack the recognition and funding that arts and culture might have in relation to their importance to growing skills and education, and inward investment in Doncaster. Locally, the Council and other organisations, including Cast, are aware of the importance of the arts and culture and are keen to put pressure on the SCR LEP to address this need.
New multi-purpose arts and culture building
Doncaster Council is working to grow the 'cultural quarter' close to Cast and the Civic building. They are planning to build a multi-functional building on the location of the former girl’s grammar school in Waterdale, that will contain a new library, gallery, museum, archives, cafe as well as other spaces for business, community, educational and performance use. It will replace four existing buildings and is intended to deliver a range of benefits to the town, residents and visitors as part of the ongoing regeneration and improvement of the town. They are especially keen to understand the added value that the building will bring to businesses in the town from an economic, social and cultural perspective. As part of the process of developing the vision, the Council is keen to hear from the perspective of Doncaster business leaders and their organisations as to what a building could deliver and how it might support your activities.
Press release on future iconic building.
In January 2017, Cast announced that 2016/17 was their most successful year since opening; selling 20% more tickets than the previous year and ticket income being up 23%. This made it a record-breaking result with over 90k people attending the theatre throughout 2016. Hundreds of young performers from local groups performed at Cast in 2016 which accounted for 25% of all tickets purchased. The theatre also runs an educational programme for schools that offers in-depth educational resources and workshops linked to the curriculum, offering schools and teachers creative ways of exploring classroom subjects, enhancing student experience and developing young people’s creative skills. They are keen to discuss with businesses other opportunities to engage.
What’s the next big idea?
Four years ago when Chamber members last met to discuss “What’s the next big idea for Doncaster to grow the local economy?’ who would have thought that we would now have an international airport, national award winning wildlife park and the National College for High Speed Rail. What’s next? A rail link to Doncaster Sheffield Airport, PGA golf course, University Technical College… what else does Doncaster’s arts and cultural scene need to benefit, business, education and the local economy need?
We hope you can join us for what promises to be an insightful discussion with other business leaders.