Dallas–Pierce–Quintero

Watford Cultural Strategy

Our aim with this Cultural Strategy has been to assist in defining a cultural narrative for Watford at a time when the borough is undergoing significant change.

How to create a healthy cultural ecology

Today many people associate the town with Watford Football Club, the town’s resident premier league football club, which, like the Harry Potter Experience, draws huge numbers of visitors. However the challenge remains how to encourage these visitors to explore other cultural and leisure experiences on offer, of which there are many. Watford punches far above its weight in cultural terms. It is home to three professional theatre companies, all of them part of the Arts Council of England’s National Portfolio, uniquely for a small town.

A new Cultural Strategy for Watford
A new Cultural Strategy for Watford
A new Cultural Strategy for Watford
A new Cultural Strategy for Watford
A new Cultural Strategy for Watford
A new Cultural Strategy for Watford

In our work with Watford we have used the term ‘culture’ as an umbrella term, including the creative industries, arts and cultural organisations, and sectors from visual and digital art, to theatre, film, music, dance, literature and fashion, with some crossover into the realms of sport and leisure.

Our work has developed through numerous conversations with the town’s cultural leaders, the community arts network and with the general public. And whilst the majority of the town’s cultural venues are centrally located, our boundary has been the whole borough; many of the hidden gems are to be found in Cassiobury Park, places of worship, education, community centres, bars and local pubs.

Our vision document summary diagram

From farming and brewing, to silk, paper making, engineering and printing, Watford has always been a place of making and production. Now Watford is at the heart of Hertfordshire’s international film, TV and media industry where, alongside Warner Bros Leavesden, over 1000 creative media companies are based.  With this strategy we build on Watford’s story of production to inform its cultural narrative and make its rich heritage more visible in Watford’s public spaces for more people to discover.

Imagine Watford is an arts festival that brings the streets of Watford to life
Imagine Watford is an arts festival that brings the streets of Watford to life
Imagine Watford is an arts festival that brings the streets of Watford to life

“Our ambition is to grow sustainable opportunities for creative enterprise, cultural provision and participation for our local communities, business and visitors which will, in turn, strengthen Watford’s appeal as a creative destination.”

Juliet Quintero
Dallas-Pierce-Quintero

We were commissioned following a public tender and interview.  The commission was extremely fast-paced and from our appointment we have worked intensively with the council to test our approach and ideas with stakeholders and end users, through workshops, meetings and two public open days when we curated a mobile consultation event to test responses to cultural life in Watford.

 

“D-P-Q have been outstanding in the delivery of a new Cultural Strategy for Watford 2018-2025. They developed strong rapport amongst our cultural leaders and drew out our opportunities, strengths and areas of improvement. The final strategy and action plan gave us a clear way forward.”

Gary Oliver
Watford Council

In addition, an online questionnaire has helped to inform local’s needs and ambitions for the town, which has changed significantly within the last 20 years.

The final strategy, which takes a holistic view of what is needed to create a healthy cultural ecology, incorporates public art and public realm proposals, and has been able to input into the brand strategy development work.

Watford, Hertfordshire
2017
Watford Borough Council

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