Emerging from early consultation on this new Culture & Heritage Strategy for Reading there were strong messages that the town’s vibrant cultural offer was not as visible as it might be. Recognising the strategic significance of this issue to Reading’s continued success and reputation the Local Strategic Partnership (LSP) adopted ‘Cultural Life’ as one of its priority areas for further work alongside the existing Cultural Partnership.
The consultation discussions generated a huge amount of energy, enthusiasm and commitment. What emerged from this enthusiasm and the acknowledged need to raise the profile of cultural activity in the town is the concept of a ‘Year of Culture’ for Reading, owned and delivered by local people and organisations under the umbrella of the Cultural Partnership and championed by the LSP (and all its constituent organisations). To help take this forward a joint LSP/Cultural Partnership workshop on Cultural Life was held, where input was gathered for developing a proposed “Year of Culture 2016”, linked to the aspirations of the developing Culture and Heritage Strategy.
The Year of Culture 2016 is seen a means of showcasing, enhancing, promoting and increasing engagement with the wide range of activities, events and networks that exist in the many fields of arts and heritage, all linked to promoting the wider attractiveness and prosperity of the Reading area. This will ultimately change perceptions of Reading and leaving a legacy of continued cultural excellence and reputation.