Council Launches London Borough of Culture Bid

Hammersmith & Fulham aiming for role in 2025

A montage of cultural events and venues in Hammersmith & Fulham

December 5, 2023

Hammersmith & Fulham Council has launched a late bid to become the London Borough of Culture for 2025.

It is teaming up with local arts and community organisations to raise the flag for culture.

One theme for the year, if the bid is successful, will be Where Culture Connects, signifying that the aim of the term will be to bring on board those who feel excluded from the cultural life of the borough.

Residents will be encouraged to form ‘Connecting Communities’ in their immediate area to organise cultural activities.

The aim would be to spotlight overlooked talent of artists from diverse backgrounds, including artists with disabilities (through the Joy of Liberty Festival), and artists from under-represented groups under the banner We See You.

Young people would co-produce programmes through the council’s Youth Voice programme, and the council would host a major youth culture summit to debate.

The council wants the programme to have a truly internationalist outlook with another theme being Connecting to the World.

It says in its statement announcing the bid, “We believe it has a unique ability to bring people together. We want to amplify that during the year.

“We are already fortunate to have a distinctive mix of historic cultural heritage that has so well connected people in the borough to each other for so long.

“Working with the local cultural community, we now want to take this even further by opening up H&F and, as the London Borough of Culture, connect people of all backgrounds with this richness to the rest of London and the world beyond.

“We have a stunning lineup of activities planned should we win the bid.”

Residents can register their support for the bid by clicking here.

If successful, the borough will receive £1.35 million to help host events over the course of the year.

The programme was initiated in 2017 and currently Croydon is the London Borough of Culture with Brent, Waltham Forest and Lewisham having been previous winners.

Waltham Forest was the first winner and it claims to have attracted 500,000 visitors and left a legacy, with Fellowship Square becoming a cultural hub of festivals and programming. In Brent a worldwide audience of 13.3million tuned in for a podcast series created by young people in the borough and for every £1 spent by Brent Council, it says an additional £2 was raised from other funders. In Lewisham, the council says there was £1.1m in additional spend in the local area and more than 8,000 young people were supported with training and careers advice to access jobs in the creative sector.

Hammersmith & Fulham will be up against neighbouring boroughs Wandsworth, which announced its bid back in June and Ealing as well as Newham, Greenwich and Havering. The winners are expected to be announced early next year.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said of the borough of culture programme, “It has shown us the genuine power of culture to transform people’s lives, reimagine areas, raise confidence and create civic pride. It has brought diverse communities together, given grassroots creativity the chance to shine and shown how culture can inspire and unleash the potential of young Londoners, leaving a long-lasting legacy. I look forward to seeing the creativity of our boroughs shine through in their bids as we work to build a better and fairer London for everyone.”

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