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View of St Paul's Cathedral

Throughout history, the City of London has been a place where commerce and creativity have thrived side by side. As well as being one of the world’s oldest and most important trading hubs the Square Mile has fostered over centuries the long-term growth of arts and crafts, learning, public entertainment, green spaces, marketplaces, fairs, and pageantry.

The City today has the most vibrant ecology of cultural organisations, creative businesses and practitioners anywhere in the UK. We may be a global city but our cultural organisations are also grounded in a strong sense of place and want to serve the diverse people of the city they inhabit. Our definition of culture is broad and inclusive; it exists in both the buildings and heritage of our great institutions as well as our streets and the informal cultural spaces in between. It is for everyone, not just a narrow elite, and is a powerful driver of social mobility.

Our vision

We want to seize a once in a generation opportunity to reposition the City as a world capital for commerce and culture, harnessing the power of arts, heritage, learning and libraries to make the Square Mile far more open, creative, resilient and entrepreneurial. We will work collaboratively with cultural partners to drive social and economic change and contribute to a thriving city.

The City has a unique combination of roles

  • A major investor in an extraordinary cluster of diverse cultural organisations with considerable profile, reach and influence in London, the UK and abroad
  • A convening power that brings together cultural partners in the City with other stakeholders to achieve personal, social and economic impact – being greater than the sum of our parts
  • A landowner and planning body which can embed creativity into the urban fabric and act as a beacon of place-based regeneration
  • A long term custodian of heritage but also a facilitator of innovation, creative talent and new entrepreneurial ideas
  • An independent voice speaking about the role of culture at regional, national and international levels

Our values

  • We believe in the power of innovation and creativity to generate wealth for people and communities in a long term, sustained way – commerce and culture are intertwined throughout the City’s history
  • We expect the City and our cultural partners to be open, communicative, responsive and welcoming to a diverse range of people, businesses and visitors
  • We are a global, flexible and cosmopolitan city yet have a strong sense of pride in our place, history, neighbourhoods and identity
  • We value cultural learning and engagement as an essential part of the cultural experience, but also the transformative personal, social and economic impact this can have
  • We recognise and embrace the diversity of London’s culture and champion the excellence and innovation that this diversity brings
  • We prioritise areas under our direct control but are mindful of our responsibility to work with others to support and connect with the wider needs of the capital and the UK
  • We seek to be joined up, agile, experimental and generous in our approach as a catalyst and convener

Read the Cultural Strategy (5MB) in full

Our objectives

  1. Transform the City’s public realm and physical infrastructure, making it a more open, distinct, welcoming and culturally vibrant destination
  2. Develop Culture Mile in the north west of the City which will become an exciting destination for London and act as a catalyst for change across the rest of the Square Mile
  3. Support cultural excellence in a range of fields and champion an ethos of creative risk taking, innovation and artistic citizenship
  4. Support the delivery of the City of London’s Education Strategy by nurturing an exemplary Cultural Education Partnership, Culture Mile Learning, and enable our worldleading institutions to cultivate the creativity, skills and knowledge of the next generation
  5. Become a leading centre of the digital and creative economy and unlock the creative potential and resilience of individuals and businesses using our estate and resources
  6. Promote our cultural, heritage and creative strengths in the UK and abroad
  7. Better promote our world class culture and heritage offer and use our wealth of outdoor spaces to widen its appeal to a more diverse audience, enabling communities in the City and beyond
  8. Work better with cultural organisations to build their capacity and engage with City businesses and employees, so that they can become more resilient
  9. Play our part as a catalyst and convener in supporting and connecting with the wider cultural ecology of the capital and the rest of the UK
  10. Develop clear leadership on culture: working with cultural partners to develop our skills, to align our objectives, develop performance measures, communicate our impact and build our capacity to be more than the sum of our parts