Peterborough Cultural Strategy

As a city, Peterborough has suffered from a lack of confidence in its cultural and heritage assets. Post ‘new town’, the city is continuing to evolve and change with significant regeneration planned under a developing strategic city framework. The challenge is to ensure that culture can support city development in a way that benefits all its diverse communities and strengthens and promotes the cultural and heritage offer to visitors.

Peterborough Cathedral Square

We have been engaging stakeholders in a deep dive assessment of the city’s cultural and strategic stakeholders to understand the key challenges and opportunities. Digital industries are growing, wider cultural and creative industries have not yet been fully supported and there is a lack of affordable workspace for arts and creative professionals. Peterborough struggles with low paid jobs, low educational attainment and homelessness yet is within the Oxford to Cambridge Arc, an area of significant economic strength.

Diwali festival

Peterborough is looking to maximise opportunities for employment and learning for the whole community, with Phase One of a new University planned to open in 2022. The Cultural Strategy will include how to expand opportunities for young people to access pathways to creative and cultural skills.

Consultation is also underway towards a new Business Improvement District for the City Centre.  We are liaising to advocate for business support for increased cultural activity in and around the public realm including existing and new festivals, as well as looking at how to build cultural capacity for activity outside of the city centre.

“There is so much happening in Peterborough that once drawn together into a strategic plan can add up to so much more than the individual parts, to create a stronger cohesive city identity.”

Susie Gray
Must Farm Finds, Cambridge Archaeological Unit

We take a broad definition of culture. As well as supporting local cultural providers such as theatres and theatre companies based in the city, we see environment, heritage and landscape as part.

Peterborough’s rich heritage landscape includes Nene Park, Flag Fen and the ‘John Clare Country’ initiative to protect surviving fragments of Clare’s countryside making this accessible to local people. Notably, in 2016 the ‘bronze age Pompeii’ finds from the remains of two houses were discovered at a quarry site in Peterborough. We will support the Museum’s ambition to present these in the city, potentially attracting international visitors.

In 2019 Peterborough City Council declared a Climate Emergency. We will be talking with stakeholders to determine how the cultural strategy can support city ambitions to mitigate and raise awareness of environmental challenges.

Blink, Vivacity 2019

We have been commissioned by a new strategic partnership comprising Peterborough City Council, Vivacity (the council’s charitable partner for culture and leisure) and Arts Council England SE. The strategy is being created with and for the city including substantial engagement with stakeholders.

We are midway through this 18 month long project, having undertaken considerable stakeholder engagement. The strategy development process is due to complete by September 2020 with a strategy launch. The brief also requires production of an action plan, and a funding and resource plan.


Peterborough 2019-ongoing
Client: Peterborough City Council, Vivacity & Arts Council England SE

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