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Arts Council chief executive to visit Cumbria

Darren Henley (courtesy Sunderland Echo)

The chief executive of the Arts Council will meet representatives from Cumbria’s artistic and cultural industries during a tour of the region organised by the University of Cumbria early next year.

Darren Henley will see for himself work underway in Carlisle aimed at developing the city as a cultural hub, hear how plans to develop the historic Ambleside campus are taking shape and consider the value and potential of the respected Institute of the Arts.

The two-day tour will also include visits to Tullie House and other Carlisle cultural venues along with a visit to Stanwix Theatre where students from a wide range of disciplines will present a showcase of their work.

A public meeting will be held at the university’s Brampton Road campus to consider existing plans within Carlisle and highlight opportunities to develop the city’s visibility and prominence as a cultural and creative hub. ‘Creative & Cultural Carlisle’ will also look at the role the University of Cumbria should play to achieve this.

During a visit to Ambleside, within the county’s newly created World Heritage site, Mr Henley will examine the work and plans of the Lake District National Park Partnership and meet other members of the county’s cultural sector. Designer and environmentalist Vivienne Westwood visited the site earlier this year and the university is keen to develop the vibrancy of the campus – the only one in a national park.

“We want to explore and promote the role of the university in arts and culture in Carlisle, Ambleside and beyond,” Prof Mennell said. “As our graduation ceremonies prove time and again, the university’s Institute of the Arts has a long and enviable track record in developing students who go on to achieve success in their areas of practice. What more can we achieve as a university working collaboratively with our existing and future partners?”

The tour takes place on January 11 and 12 and follows this autumn’s launch by the University of Cumbria of a three-year plan. The document highlights the need for the university to be recognised as a catalyst for regional prosperity and pride.

A former managing director of Classic FM who was appointed OBE in 2013 for services to music, Mr Henley joined the Arts Council in 2013.

“We believe that working together with our partners in education, local government and the cultural sector is imperative to creating an environment where everyone in the community can take part in and experience arts and culture,” Mr Henley said. “I’m very much looking forward to being back in Cumbria in January to visit some of the many cultural venues and sites which are already doing so much to bring great art and culture to the communities here.”

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