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Arts 'could boost recovery in small cities'

1st November 2010

The arts could be effective in stimulating the economies and regeneration of the UK's smaller towns and cities, a new discussion paper has argued.

Bigger Thinking for Smaller Cities, published by Regional Cities East (RCE), examines how arts and culture can boost local economic growth and improve community spirit.

The study highlights the example of Colchester-based visual arts organisation firstsite, which is expected to draw in around 1.5 million visitors in its first ten years and sparked the development of a new cultural quarter in the city's St Botolph's area.

In addition, the research used Luton's UK Centre for Carnival Arts to show how the diversity of local communities can be celebrated and relationships between residents of different backgrounds can be improved through shared cultural interests.

Neil Darwin, director of RCE, which is a partnership of six smaller cities in the east of England, commented: 'Arts and culture have a central role to play in smaller cities, where a high quality of life and intimate networks help creative industries to thrive.'

The RCE was founded to help Peterborough, Luton, Ipswich, Norwich, Colchester and Southend-on-Sea develop new ways of creating jobs, building affordable homes and improving economic growth by collaborating, rather than pursuing their own agendas.
 

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