A Place-based Cultural Strategy

After months of consultations, conversations and stakeholder engagement across the city, Exeter’s first Place-based Cultural Strategy is now published. The Strategy is co-owned by Exeter City Council, ensuring that culture is embedded in the plans that will shape the city in the future. Culture is one of the five priorities in the City Council’s five-year strategic plan, acknowledging it as a significant contributor to the city’s prosperity and growth.

The Strategy was commissioned by Exeter Culture in partnership with Exeter City Council, University of Exeter, InExeter (Business Improvement District), Exeter College and supported by Arts Council England. It was developed by Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy, a leading international consultancy for the creative economy that offers strategy and policy leadership across the creative, cultural and arts sectors.

Exeter is at a pivotal and critical time in terms of cultural development. Many cities at a national level have recognised the role culture can play in place shaping. Cities such as Hull, Liverpool and Bristol have used culture as a regenerative force that has significantly changed the face and perceptions of these cities.

Exeter is a place that has many of the raw ingredients to develop a thriving and vibrant culture offer, but it is not currently playing to its strengths, maximising collaborative opportunities and setting its ambitions high enough. It has a good level of organisations receiving core funding from Arts Council England. The city also boasts a Council prioritising culture, an impressive independent arts scene, strength in heritage assets, a Russell Group University with a new Arts & Culture Strategy, and an award-winning College of Further Education. These two institutions provide a mix of further and higher education students as consumers and creators of culture. If these partners can come together around a shared cultural agenda, Exeter can achieve major developments for culture for its residents, businesses and visitors alike.

One clear and consistent steer from consultees is that we must be distinctive to Exeter, maximising our unique assets. From this, the city has developed these Themes with Tom Fleming. Exeter as a:

A. City of Culture and the Environment
B. City of Culture and Wellbeing
C. City of Heritage Innovation
D. City of Creative Making
E. City of Cultural Literacy and Learning

There were also some recommended cross-cutting priorities that the city needs to focus on to be successful in the delivery of its Strategy. These include improvements around partnerships, internationalisation, communications, evaluation, and the relationship with business. The Strategy contains some specific actions for each themed area. These will be reviewed and evaluated annually. It is essential that this document is a ‘living strategy’ that can flex and adapt as the city changes accordingly. The content of this Strategy has come from the cultural sector and key stakeholders, and as such the delivery of the key actions are the responsibility of this collective group.

You can download both the condensed booklet and the full-length versions of the Strategy here:


About Tom Fleming
Creative Consultancy

Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy is the UK’s leading international culture and creative economy consultancy and research agency.  Set up in 2002, it offers strategy and policy leadership through research, evaluation, collaboration and advocacy, and has played a formative role in cultural and creative economy policy and strategy development for cities across the world.

With a portfolio spanning over 80 countries, 200 cities and countless institutions and creative details, TFCC’s technical expertise and strategic thinking helps position culture and creativity at the heart of society. For a list of projects, please see www.tfconsultancy.co.uk

Exeter Culture is pleased to be working with Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy to deliver this project.