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.