Arts and Heritage
Our Northern culture is diverse and distinctive. Our culture should be celebrated and made accessible to all, not locked away as the preserve of the wealthy.
We will follow Germany’s example and institute a 50+1 rule so that no investor has more say over how a football club is run than its fans and players. These clubs are often the heartbeat of their communities, and the time is long overdue for them to be put into community ownership.
We will also provide funding to local clubs for all sports and protect sports grounds by bringing them into community or council ownership.
We will foster local artists and writers of all kinds by offering grants for public artworks, providing council-owned spaces for workshops, events, and studios, and requiring local property owners to make long-term vacant properties available at heavily discounted rates. We will also provide guidance for local creatives who want to set up co-operatives, and where possible we will work with local institutions to fund long-term residencies. We will also work with local street artists, not against them, by preserving street murals and commissioning new ones where wanted by local communities.
We will enable local independent journalism by providing startup grants to new local media organisations, and we will fund them by using their advertising space for public information campaigns (organised by the civil service so as to continue irrespective of criticisms or endorsements of the government). This will include independent online journalism that serves local areas, and will not include newspapers or websites owned by national corporations.
We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to participate in the arts. To give everyone that opportunity we will fund new arts centres and programmes in rural areas and towns: too many arts institutions are based in large cities, and we must redress this imbalance. We will also fund outreach programmes to make those cultural experiences only available in our major cities available to all.
We will preserve Northern heritage and make it accessible to all by increasing funding for museums, art galleries, community art studios, theatres and music venues. Too much of the culture of the North is not kept in the North due to current funding inequalities, leading to the transfer of important works and collections to other parts of the country.
Recognising What We Owe
We will work with local libraries, museums, galleries, universities, and archives to review their collections’ connections to the historic injustices of colonialism and the slave trade. We acknowledge our part in that history, and will aim to follow the lead of the University of Aberdeen in repatriating artefacts, and reviewing what we celebrate in our public monuments.
We believe that academics should be able to pursue research free from government interference. The backlash that researchers at the National Trust and other institutions have received for bringing our history of colonialism to light is wrong. We oppose any attempt to make academic funding reliant on following government guidelines.