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How artists are the leaders of reviving high streets - and should artists work to SDG goals?

How to revive town centres in a sustainable way is one of my key interests. Both personally and professionally. ⁠

Since Covid affected the UK, this longstanding problem has become urgent, as we’re seeing huge retailers shut their doors, leaving high streets in the doldrums and inflating our unemployment statistics. ⁠⁠

We need creativity and innovation to bring people back to the high street - but if it’s not just for shopping, what is that magical factor that’ll do the job?⁠

As luck would have it, my brother and sister-in-law - Kwesi Johnson and Maya Alexander - founded @theculturalassembly which focuses on doing just this through creativity and giving the community the power to create their own projects. ⁠

The Cultural Assembly was created in response to the growing recognition that a vibrant arts and cultural sector contributes directly to a healthy and stable society.⁠ The organisation is made up of international performers, directors, producers, creative individuals and the public.⁠

The team facilitates amazing people-led experiences for communities, organisations and business across all art forms and mediums, using technology and immersive storytelling to engage in a meaningful way, and develop authentic engagement for arts and business.⁠

I had a chat with Kwesi and Maya on Instagram - here it is.

We explored a few related issues - artists can work to meet Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN; communities should be at the centre of town centre revival; and how to negotiate rent for empty spaces in the high street.

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