The whole ArtReach team is excited to see the launch of the Leicester Cultural Prospectus, but no one more so than Managing Director Simon Brown. In this blog post, he discusses his experience in the city over the years. 

When I first came to Leicester a number of years ago, the ‘Welcome to Leicester’ booklet I received as a student described the city as “inclines towards the bland”. Some may feel that it is still a description that fits, however my experience is that it is far from that, and it is a vibrant city with a great range of festivals and arts and heritage venues. 

Recently there has been a drive in Leicester led by the local authority to show what culturally the city has to offer, and a variety of locally based cultural organisations (including ArtReach) have been showcased in a Leicester Cultural Prospectus. 

Though ArtReach delivers work across the country it has had its main base in Leicester for many years, and started Journeys Festival International in the city seven years ago. ArtReach has also delivered editions of Night of Festivals in the city, linking with the Rugby World Cup in 2015, marking the 70th Anniversary of the partition of India and Pakistan in 2017, and in March in its new form (Liberty Festival UK) it will be delivered alongside Light Up Leicester, a new light festival in Leicester. 

It has been great that work in the city has been recognised by the Arts Council with so many National Portfolio Organisations being based here, and it has been good to see those organisations working together in various ways. ArtReach has had some fantastic links with other locally based National Portfolio Organisations including the Global Kitchen project with Soft Touch Arts, Look Up project Stamp to Elsewhere with Leicester Print Workshop, and New Walk Museum Takeovers. 

There is far more cultural activity going on in the city than can be captured in one booklet, however the prospectus does give a great reflection on the positive work happening here.

You can read the full prospectus and enjoy the accompanying video on the Visit Leicester website here.