Culture Secretary announces Cultural Renewal Taskforce

Cancelled festival

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Oliver Dowden, has announced that he will chair a new Cultural Renewal Taskforce aimed at helping to stage a recovery for the UK’s recreation and leisure sector following the coronavirus crisis.

He will be joined by representatives from the arts, cultural and sporting worlds as follows:

  • Tamara Rojo (English National Ballet)
  • Alex Scott (former England international and Arsenal footballer and now a sports broadcaster)
  • Sir Nicholas Serota (Arts Council England Chair)
  • Edward Mellors (Mellors Group Events)
  • Neil Mendoza (Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal, entrepreneur, publisher and philanthropist)
  • Lord (Michael) Grade of Yarmouth (TV executive and former Chair of BBC and ITV)
  • Baroness (Martha) Lane-Fox of Soho (Founder of LastMinute.com)
  • Mark Cornell (Ambassador Theatre Group)

Five new ministerial-led taskforces

In total, five new ministerial-led taskforces have been set up to develop blueprints for how and when closed businesses and venues can reopen safely, following publication of the UK government’s National Covid-19 Recovery Strategy.

The taskforces will support the renewal of DCMS sectors and help develop new Covid-19 secure guidelines for the reopening of public places and businesses where and when it is safe to do so.

The focus of the groups’ work will be on:

  • ensuring that Covid-19 secure guidelines are developed in line with phasing ambitions and public health directions, building on existing (work settings) guidance and providing intelligence and sector-specific expert input
  • developing creative solutions, including digital solutions, to drive the return of sectors while maintaining consistency with medical advice
  • agreeing and ensuring alignment of all relevant sectoral guidance
  • providing key sector stakeholders direct access to ministers

The Cultural Renewal Taskforce

The Cultural Renewal Taskforce will look to see how creative new approaches could help sectors thrive in future, building on existing channels of government support (like the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants, a 12-month business rates holiday and £200 million of emergency public funding through Arts Council England, Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund).

The first meeting of the taskforce will take place on Friday 22 May. It will then meet on a weekly basis supported by eight working groups chaired by DCMS Ministers, which will include representatives from key sector bodies and organisations. The groups will focus on areas like sport, entertainment and events, museums and galleries, heritage, tourism and libraries.

Oliver Dowden said:

‘We are determined to do all we can to help our sectors that are such an incredible part of British life in their recovery. The taskforce is made up of some of the brightest and best from the cultural, sporting and tech worlds. Experts in their fields, they’ll be instrumental in identifying creative ways to get these sectors up and running again.’

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