It is a strange period to be working at the moment… time seems to extend forever, but also roll on like the proverbial express train…
At the end of March, GJG Consultancy had to put our work on hold. We are working with Medway Council and the Medway Cultural Partnership on the development of a 10-year cultural strategy for Medway. Having completed the first stages of our work, we were just about to launch on a round of public consultation: we wanted to explore emerging themes with a broader audience. These themes are the areas where the strategy will support culture to have the best impact in Medway. That phase was going to involve many face-to-face conversations in town halls – something that now is not possible.
So what to do? Consultation is of great importance, but so too is the need to complete this work. At this challenging time, it is all the more critical that there exists a framework for the council, cultural partners and funders to consult as Medway begins to plan beyond the pandemic. We need a route map to help us protect and to develop the sector and the role of culture beyond 2020.
So, our plans have changed. We have had to move the consultation online. To help people get an overview in advance of completing feedback, we have created a two page Interim Consultation Summary which you can find at the Have Your Say page of the Medway Cultural Strategy website. You can feedback using the survey.
In terms of the completion of the strategy, we will be hosting online Theme Workshops. These workshops can be booked online through the links below. They will allow us to work with Medway Cultural Partnership members, other stakeholders and any interested parties to explore the themes and to define in detail how the theme will have the best impact on Medway.
Theme workshop 1: Connectivity, Monday 22nd June 2020, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Theme workshop 2: Shared Ambition, Thursday 25th June 2020, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Theme workshop 3: Spaces and Places, Monday 29th June 2020, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Theme workshop 4: Grass Roots Up, Wednesday 1st July 2020, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Theme workshop 5: Community Engagement, Tuesday 7th July 2020, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
These are times where plans and ideas are shifting, and, because of this, the first action plan for the Medway 10-year cultural strategy will only last for 18 months. That’s a timeframe long enough for actions to be delivered but also sufficiently short that as new information emerges and changes happen, a new Action Plan will be able to take its place.
The pandemic has shown how, for many, there is a real need for cultural engagement to help inspire us, help us have fun, bring us together with other people and make sense of the world around us. It is clearer than ever that we need to build a future where everyone can access arts and culture. Medway’s Cultural Strategy is the flight path for that change, and we look forward to working with you to make that happen.