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inspiration and culture in Bedforshire

The Bedford Culture Network identified the need for better communication to ensure schools have awareness of cultural provision. Just 5.2 percent of schools have achieved Artsmark (Artsmark wish to have 50 percent to have Artsmark status by 2015). The goal of Culture Map is to encourage social mobility for young people through cultural provision via schools. Eleven areas of Bedford town are among 10-20 percent most deprived nationally. Almost 20 percent of children in the Borough are raised in income-deprived households, rising to more than 50 percent in parts. Here are some examples of a few similar ideas

The project is  inspired by The National Trust’s  '50 Things to do before you are 11 3/4' project, it is designed for teachers in Bedfordshire and will include a ‘cultural entitlement list’, and could signpost onto Culture 24 and Culture Street.

Through collaboration with schools, cultural providers and young people, the team will create a web-based ‘culture map’ searchable database of Bedfordshire culture providers. Alongside this will sit a ‘cultural entitlement checklist’ for young people aged 0 - 19. The checklist will encompass a wide range of experiences that young people can progress through, such as ‘seeing a theatre show’, or ‘performing on stage’ and will be developed in consultation to ensure that it is engaging, robust and relevant to (but not restricted to) the curriculum.

The culture map and checklist will provide a practical resource for schools as well as create an effective marketing tool for the local cultural organisations. It would be supported by a full social media campaign. It will be mapped across the Arts Award qualification and will include examples of how cultural activities can be used to approach different areas of the curriculum by subject/Key Stage.



The project has attracted confirmed funding from Bedford Borough Council and The Royal Opera House Bridge. A sustainable funding model for beyond the life of the funded activity is a priority. After initial set up run on costs would be approximately £18,000 p.a.

Bedford Borough Council have specified that they would like to measure the impact on schools in wards of high deprivation to address child poverty so future funding is a possibility. Bedford Culture Network members would be willing to pay an annual contribution (c£50) for inclusion on the map, attendance at network meetings and joint advertising of services to schools. A sliding scale of fees and services is possible. A joint approach would attract economies of scale and cultural providers would be encouraged to shape services to meet curriculum needs.

The Culture Map lends itself to national roll-out if delivery partners were found in other locations.


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