Community Manager
29 Oct, 2021
From the Summit to Ignite Chelmsford Labs

Hot off the press!

Our first cross-sector lab will be on the theme of  ‘using arts and culture to reinvent the City Centre’ and held at the start of December.

We began the year keen to start action planning to deliver our ‘Towards 2040 shared cultural vision’. ‘Talking to a lot of partners and community groups it was clear the landscape had shifted post-covid and there was a need refine the vision to reflect Chelmsford’s local nuances and priorities. As a first step we decided to hold a summit to check-in with people:

  • How have things changes since covid?
  • Are there different priorities/concerns?
  • What are our shared priorities now?

The Summit

Held at Writtle University College in July the Summit gathered a cross sector group of strategic leaders and influencers.

Feedback was that people had valued conversations with a diverse group and felt energised and motivated. There was excitement about Chelmsford’s potential, lots of agreement on what was needed and a desire to see this translated into action and funded. The summit reinforced that:

  • Chelmsford isn’t short of ideas and energy
  • The benefit of developing a shared vision/ambition for Chelmsford
  • A desire to maintain the partnership work coming out of the pandemic
  • Agreement on the value of culture
  • We need to get better at sharing, communicating and making more of our assets

Several priority themes for Chelmsford emerged from the discussions. These were:

  • Reinventing High St/city centre
  • Making more of our Waterways
  • Arts and health
  • Young people’s voice/representation
  • Raising the profile of local creatives/promotion of activity (including funding and promotion support)
  • Improving Collaboration
  • Access to space and assets
  • Connecting the rural and urban (city/district)

Provocations Panel

Members of Ignite Chelmsford Partnership, Cultural Development Trust and Chelmsford City Council met to review the key themes identified from the summit. Together we agreed four priorities which we will work on collaboratively through a ‘lab’ process to develop related projects and actions.

Priorities were selected with reference to the following criteria:

  • Ability to deliver
  • Potential for funding/partnerships
  • Importance to city/strategically
  • How much of a shift they could unlock

Through this process a priority list was agreed:

  1. Reinventing the City Centre and High Street
  2. = Enhancing waterways
  3. = Access to Space and assets (joint 2nd place)
  4. Young People’s voice/representation

Next Steps

  1. Our first lab on the theme of ‘City Centre and High Street’ will be held in December at the new ‘Top Shop space’ with a view to running 3 more labs around the remaining priorities in Spring 2022.
  2. We will be looking for interested partners, projects and participants for each theme so please get in touch if you would like to be involved by emailing Cultural Partnerships Manager
  3. We recently put out a tender for some narrative work to help tell the story of Chelmsford and pleased to announce we’ll be working with Grafik Language. More on that soon!
  4. We will publish the Towards 2040 the shared Cultural vision document – weaving in the provocations and refined objective as areas of focus.

The Ignite Chelmsford Summit was funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

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