Bridging Gaps and Localising Neighbourhood Provision: Reflections on Cultural Co-design and Co-production
Birmingham City Council (BCC) administers a city of 1,085,400 residents (BCC, 2014a), divided into 10 districts of approximately 100,000 residents, each district containing four wards. Birmingham City Council Culture Commissioning Service (CCS) are part of the Economy Directorate and fall within the Culture & Visitor Economy Service. Birmingham’s 2010-15 Cultural Strategy (Birmingham Cultural Partnership, 2010: 4) outlines the multi-faceted benefits of participation in arts and culture:
However, two reports prior to this strategy (Ecotec, 2010; Vector Research, 2011) revealed that many areas in the outer districts of Birmingham had poor levels of participation in culture and neighbourhood activities. Five main barriers to participation were identified: high cost of participation; lack of awareness of amenities and attractions; perceived cultural elitism; public transport deficiencies and issues of distance (as many of Birmingham’s cultural venues are based within the city centre); and community safety concerns – in some areas people do not feel safe in their neighbourhood and would not look to engage with local activities (Ecotec, 2010).