Beyond the Fair City

A report will be presented to Perth & Kinross Council on 16 August 2017 setting out the next steps towards transforming the cultural offer of the area to support inclusive economic growth across Perth and Kinross. While Perth was not shortlisted for the UK City of Culture 2021, its bid, titled Beyond the Fair City, was commended by DCMS for its ambition, quality and the strength of partnership working between the Council and all sectors and organisations involved in the bid. Achievements from the bid process included:

  • Reigniting civic pride, with around 10,000 local people involved in developing the bid
  • Mobilising communities with nearly 27,000 people participating in 40 projects funded by the Creative Communities Fund and contributing over 7,000 hours of volunteer time
  •  Transforming the profile of Perth through significant local and national media coverage
  • Mobilising the business and local creative industry sector with formal bid backing from over 100 businesses including major partners SSE, Stagecoach and the Gleneagles Hotel

The bid set out to tackle the challenges driving Perth’s quiet crisis: social and geographical isolation, high in-work poverty and a lack of high-value jobs driving talent elsewhere and aimed to raise awareness of the specific challenges facing small cities and large towns across the UK, where nearly 30 million people live. Bid representatives have been asked to meet the UK Minister for Arts and Heritage to discuss these issues further. Alongside this, the Council and its partners are contributing to the development of the Scottish Government’s new National Strategy for Culture.

The report recommends further developing Perth’s branding and promotion; developing a Creative Cities network across Scotland and Northern England; delivering an exciting events and arts programme based on the strongest projects and ideas used in the bid including a festival celebrating culture in localities  across the whole of Perth and Kinross; building digital skills amongst creative industries; and developing new funding and delivery models for culture.

Councillor Ian Campbell, Leader of the Council, said: “The scale of our ambition for Perth and Kinross remains. We want Perth to be one of the best small cities in Europe, and we will use culture to increase tourism, develop higher-value jobs, retain talent and reconnect people. To do that, we need to deliver on ‘Beyond the Fair City’: reaching out to all our communities, refusing to be defined by our past, and making Perth and Kinross a fairer place for everyone.

“The Council cannot do this alone. We need expertise and support from all sectors to realise our vision. The bidding process for UK City of Culture helped to make new connections and spark ideas and collaboration. Now is our chance to pull together and become an exemplar for other, similar towns and small cities across the UK. I look forward to working with partners from business, creative industries, and the education and third sectors to prove that Perth really is the place.”

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