NP11 and partners put culture at the heart of recovery with appointment

Clare Devaney
X The Business Desk

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The NP11 group of Northern Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), along with Arts Council England, the Environment Agency, Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, has recruited a new strategic appointment to support the development of place and culture for the North

Clare Devaney joins as strategic lead as part of the group’s aim to ensure that the North is recognised as a culturally vibrant and economically successful place by utilising cultural assets and place-based approaches.

Devaney will be based out of the Cumbria LEP and focused on positive placemaking and recognising the integral role that culture, heritage and landscape will play in driving the region’s economic economic recovery.

She brings with her a deep strategic understanding of both LEPs and the arts, culture and heritage sectors having previously worked as a research fellow and north of England associate for the Royal Society of Arts, co-leading its national three-year programme of work with the National Lottery Heritage Fund on heritage, identity and place and leading its international research programme on citizens and inclusive growth, which was co-sponsored by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. She has held senior roles at New Economy, Manchester (now part of the GMCA), The Mersey Partnership (the predecessor to the Liverpool City-Region LEP), The Manchester Institute for Arts, Health and Social Change (based at Manchester Metropolitan University) and FACT new media arts centre in Liverpool.

Devaney is also founding director of citizen-led think tank, Citizen-I, commenting on the appointment she said: “We have a rich and diverse cultural offering and significant heritage and environmental assets in the North, and we are justifiably proud of our places, our people, our creativity and talent. The pandemic has dramatically underlined the significance of space, place, culture and connectivity, and at the same time has exposed the challenges and disparities in our structures and systems.

“As we look toward recovery, there is an opportunity for us to work collaboratively as a unified pan-Northern voice to not only respond to the ‘Levelling Up’ agenda, but to utilise the significant strength of our combined assets to shape what that means in practice.

“And as we look to support new approaches to development across our cities, towns, rural centres and High Streets, this is the time for us to restate with pride and confidence the case for Northern culture, for Northern communities and for the North, particularly as people find and exercise more freedoms in terms of location decisions and work/life balance.

“This is a critical period for our arts, cultural and heritage sectors, and for our tourism and leisure sectors, and we must work with all of our collective strength to support and secure their recovery, resilience and future flourishing.

“I am hugely excited by the potential for this role and look forward to working with the NP11, with arts, cultural, heritage and environmental partners and stakeholders, and with the North’s rich and diverse communities of place, enquiry and interest in taking this agenda forward.”

Lord Richard Inglewood, chair of Cumbria LEP and NP11 board lead for place, said: “We are delighted to welcome Clare to the NP11, to fill a much needed role at a crucial time for the growth and the development of the North. With a Strategic Lead for Place and Culture in post, we are aligned to progress the levelling up agenda and create a narrative which recognises the North for its unique and diverse cultural status.”

Pete Massey, director for Northern economy and partnerships, Arts Council England, said: “Congratulations to Clare Devaney on her new role with the NP11. The appointment of a Strategic Lead for Place and Culture at the NP11 is a huge milestone for arts and cultural development in the North. Clare’s appointment signifies the importance of culture and place to the NP11 group of LEPs who recognise that the success of this sector is closely tied to the future success of the North. I look forward to working with Clare in partnership with my colleagues at the Environment Agency, Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. I personally believe that we cannot have a truly successful northern economy without a strong and successful cultural sector and it’s great to see the NP11 group of LEPs recognising this too.”

David Renwick, area director – North, The National Lottery Heritage Fund said: “We at The National Lottery Heritage Fund are looking forward to working with Clare and I’m confident that the heritage of the North will benefit from her extensive experience. She will play a crucial role in delivering a Northern strategy for place which will allow us to unleash to power of heritage, arts, culture and the environment in helping the North recover as a culturally vibrant and economically successful place.”

Catherine Dewar, regional director at Historic England, said: “We’re really looking forward to working with Clare and our other partners focussing on unlocking the economic and social potential of the amazing heritage of the North. We know how important our heritage is to northerners and we’ll work together to ensure that investment in the North makes it an even more attractive place to live, work and visit. We are a strong partnership of organisations and this is an exciting next step.”

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