BUSINESS, council and culture leaders joined together to discuss the challenges and opportunities the city has to offer when it comes to art.

Yesterday delegates from various groups and businesses descended on the University of Cumbria’s Brampton Road Campus for a morning of discussions about how Carlisle can use its history and culture to drive the city’s economy.

Members of the public and delegates from different organisations were split into four different groups to talk about various issues relating to the city’s growth, as part of the Carlisle Culture launch last month.

The partnership was started in January of last year, with work being done behind the scenes by Carlisle City Council, the University of Cumbria, Prism Arts, Tullie House Museum and the Art Gallery Trust in preparation for last month’s launch.

Keynote speeches on the day were also given by the co-founder of Red or Dead and founder of HemingwayDesign Wayne Hemingway, and Nicky Chance-Thompson, chief executive of the Piece Hall Trust in Halifax. The four groups discussed everything from Carlisle’s key creative and cultural assets to how the creative and cultural leadership currently works in Carlisle.

The findings of the discussions will be corroborated to establish a cultural framework for Carlisle.

Speaking to the News & Star, Wayne Hemingway said: “The biggest challenge that any city or town faces at the moment is the change society is going through. Society is making the right decision to not support boring, multiple retail, which is why cities and towns all around the UK are suffering in that respect.

“That hurts town centres, it obviously hurts jobs. There are wonderful examples of places all around the UK and all around the world that are thriving and actually doing better as a result of celebrating independent retail, independent culture, celebrating that human beings like to get together socially to dance, to watch films. To do all the things in life that are better than just going blimming shopping.

“That is one of the things we have been talking about, giving examples of that and there are plenty of them. We have been talking about leadership, to make sure that city and towns have leadership, they understand these changes we are going through, to understand that there is a new generation of young people coming through who have a completely different view about what they want from life.”

Mr Hemingway continued: “There are obviously lots of things that we all want. Most young people want to own a property, they want to fall in love, they want to have a good social life, but they are doing it in a different way and we have been discussing some of those ways today.

“It is important to get this new understanding of what Millennials and Gen Zs want and are doing very successfully in a lot of places and so I think the leadership of a town is very important and it doesn’t just think in the old way.”

The University of Cumbria’s Laura Baxter, who is to lead the new MA in arts and cultural leadership said: “We found that policies could be more risk adverse.”

She added that her group decided that local decision makers often were reluctant to take risks, that the city needed to better showcase what is unique about Carlisle, that the city needed to learn from experts when it comes to looking at Carlisle’s future and that the community of Carlisle needed to be more trusting.