We asked, you said, we did

We asked

As part of Barnet Council’s campaign to become London’s 2027 Borough of Culture, a ‘cultural canvas movement’ was launched in the summer of 2023, inviting residents, students, artists, community groups, businesses and anyone with a current or past interest and connection with Barnet to share their ideas on transforming Barnet into a Borough of Culture.

The ’Our Barnet Canvas’ consultation was carried out from August to October 2023, comprising two major surveys and a number of events and workshops.

You said

We received 689 responses to the online questionnaires which ran for eight weeks from August to October. Almost 80% of responses were from Barnet residents.

We received 732 responses to the schools questionnaire, aimed at pupils aged 14 and above and teaching staff, which was open from 18 September to 3 October. 579 responses were from students and 153 from members of staff.

We held eight engagement workshops between July and September with the Arts&Culture Network, and with wider arts, culture, heritage, community and faith groups in the borough, hosted at artsdepot, Middlesex University and the RAF Museum.

We ran pop-up workshops at Barnet Pride in the Park and Urban Gamez, Grahame Park Estate Colindale.

We set up A Borough of Culture Bid working group, made up of around 20 arts, culture, heritage and community partners across the borough. Individual sessions were also run with specific groups and forums such as the Barnet Youth Board, Barnet & Culture for Youth Steering Group, Youth Advocates and students at Middlesex University.

Overall, support for the bid was high, with 82% saying they support Barnet’s bid to be the London Borough of Culture 2027.

We did

The key themes that emerged from the engagement programme were summarised into six sets of challenges and opportunities, to be addressed within the Borough of Culture bid and throughout the borough’s wider cultural strategy:

Cultural Infrastructure, Provision & High-Profile Events: Barnet needs a more ambitious cultural offer for its communities, to create an exciting culture-led place identity, and to build a cultural visitor economy.

Sleeping in Barnet, Living in London: residents leave the borough to seek cultural experience and / or careers in the creative industries, for example: 68% of respondents had been to the theatre outside Barnet but just 19% within; 60% had seen live music elsewhere, but only 23% here.

Place Perceptions & Pride: local people likely identify with their local town/neighbourhood rather than with London Borough of Barnet area.

Growing Grassroots Culture: grassroots providers need support to grow their ambitions and skills, strengthening partnerships, networks and capacity to support arts and culture in the community.

Connecting Communities & Towns: Barnet’s tradition of sanctuary and interfaith tolerance was celebrated throughout engagement. However, participants spoke of a lack of cultural activities celebrating and promoting Barnet’s diversity.

Underused Assets & Unknown Histories: Barnet has a rich history; the home of flying heritage, early film, and London’s oldest tree alongside an archives service with collections dating from 1600. Respondents spoke of the opportunity to celebrate more and uncover heritage and history of the borough.

In November 2023 we submitted our bid for London Borough of Culture 2027 and the winners will be announced in March 2024.

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