Cranbrook in Common: A cultural development strategy 2016 – 2026

Ruralrecreation with Ginkgo Projects and consultant Mary Schwarz have helped the people of Cranbrook and East Devon District Council put together a cultural development strategy for the new town of Cranbrook, Devon, which will grow to a population of around 20,000 in the next 10 years. Planning for culture in Cranbrook has been about improving quality of life for residents and nurturing local talent for the future. Most importantly culture is what people share together, which is why this strategy is called Cranbrook in Common.

“Building from the community to develop a distinctive Cranbrook identity, creating the town’s own traditions.”

Culture is an integral part of the creation of healthy, sustainable and desirable places to live, not an optional extra. When planned, culture, as part of shared social exchange, can shape places for the better as positive, healthy and desirable environments to both work in and enjoy life. Ignoring culture can lead to ill-health, antisocial behaviour and places where no one wants to go.

Cranbrook in Common maps the existing cultural activity in Cranbrook, looks at the surprising history of this place and asks the residents of Cranbrook how they see their future (artists Blind Ditch helped in this consultation process, creatively engaging with young people in particular).

In a time of austerity the strategy looks at how culture works across sectors and benefits the economy, the environment, education, health and the community’s well-being. Finally, drawing on the expertise of a wide range of stakeholders concerned with Cranbrook, a new model for culture emerges which starts with PEOPLE and builds through SKILLS and ACTIVITY to create a cultural INFRASTRUCTURE that will be relevant and flexible in years to come.

“Generating a sense of the possible, the positive.”

The cultural vision for Cranbrook, shaped by the people who live there, is to build  a unique, desirable place to be, one brick at a time, to make a place that celebrates local identity and embraces global opportunity, supports cultural innovation and creates a sustainable future for all.

Download Cranbrook in Common or find out more at the dedicated website cranbrookculture.net  

Commissioned and funded by East Devon District Council. With Ginkgo Projects and Mary Schwarz.

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