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Creative Wakefield – Our Priorities

Gemma Colley

Creative Wakefield – Our Priorities

Posted in Editorial

An update from Dr Steven Michael OBE, Independent Chair Creative Wakefield.

Since joining the Board in 2023 I have had the opportunity to meet with many of the extraordinary and inspirational creatives who were born or raised here or hail from further afield but are now living or working in our district drawn by the creative vibrancy of this place and its people. I have also taken time to consider and reflect on the strategic role of Creative Wakefield as the only Cultural Compact in West Yorkshire.

So what do Cultural Compact’s do and what are they all about?

Cultural Compacts are funded by DCMS via Arts Council England. Put simply they are multi-sector partnership networks that bring together different sectors – culture, business, health and education – with a shared aim to harness the power of culture to improve places and the lives of the people who live there. Our compact, Creative Wakefield, is supported by the Arts, Culture & Leisure Service at Wakefield Council.

So how are we working together to make an impact for this place and it’s people?

Following an extensive period of research and engagement we have identified 3 priority areas – Creative Health, Creative Digital and Public Art. We believe the combined impact of these 3 areas will bring about significant benefit creating opportunity for the people of Wakefield district by improving wellbeing, growing our economy and supporting community regeneration .

Creative Health

The work already delivered by Compact partners has already brought about positive change. We aim to take this to the next level by gathering combined evidence of impact. Our ultimate aim is to establish Wakefield as a national centre of excellence in this field.

I am pleased to announce that we have recently entered into a strategic partnership with the School of Arts & Humanities, University of Huddersfield. Their work Cultures of Creative Health, strongly aligns to the ambitions of Creative Wakefield and we have been involved in their recent research  “Building community research consortia to address health disparities”.  The first phase of our partnership is a co-commission for a focussed enquiry that will gather robust evidence of the impact of creative health work across Wakefield district and producing a series of case studies. You can read more about it here Co-Commission – Creative Health in Wakefield – Evidence of Impact – Creative Wakefield.

We are working to formalise a partnership with Creative Minds, the nationally recognised NHS innovation hosted by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. We are also seeking to align and support to the emergent strategy being developed by West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the Integrated Care Board.

We’re planning a network gathering themed around creative health for the autumn and will be sharing more news and updates on this activity in future blogs.

Creative Digital

We are keen to work closely with industry, last year we hosted an event at Tileyard North and I’ll be attending the ALT International Symposium at Production Park on 15th April. I look forward to learning more about the ground breaking work of our creative digital experts, visiting XPLOR – the world’s first research & innovation centre for entertainment technology & production, and welcoming national and international visitors to our home.

Public Art

We have worked closely with the Public Art Steering Group and were excited to see the launch of the new Public Sculpture Trail. We are keen to continue supporting this important work.

Our Year

In all three areas we seek to support and connect to the activities of Our Year 2024.


I look forward to meeting and chatting with many of you on 15 April. You can also get in touch at any time just email:

Warmest wishes,


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