The Town Centre Cultural Quarter has received a boost with the appointment of a producer who will deliver a series of cultural events and activities from early summer 2023 to March 2025.
Paul Ackerley, Creative Director of Creative Across Sussex, has been appointed to produce the first stage of the Cultural Quarter programme – one of 10 Towns Fund projects in Crawley. He will be working with the Cultural Quarter Steering Group, which has representatives from town centre-based business, cultural and heritage sectors.
With a budget of £200,000 the programme will aim to attract more footfall, test out and unlock new spaces including vacant and underused locations and deliver activities for a vibrant town centre, helping new business growth in the cultural and creative industries.
The second stage of the Cultural Quarter programme will use the pilot pop-up events to steer the development of feasibility studies and delivery plans. This will culminate in a Cultural Quarter Masterplan for the town centre by March 2026.
Paul Ackerley has a background in arts development, creating and leading theatre, music and visual art events throughout Europe. A former Arts Council England officer, Paul led West Sussex’s Ahead of the Game London 2012 Games Cultural Olympiad and he is currently a Senior Lecturer at the University of Chichester Conservatoire.
Paul said: “I love working in partnerships with other creatives. So much of my work has simply been about opening a door and showing a new view. Everyone else then makes it stunning.
“I’m especially excited about working with Crawley. I’m originally from Coventry and I think a love of ‘new towns’ is in my DNA. They are wonderfully diverse and always up for stuff. I’m really boarding a moving bus with the Crawley pop-ups, there’s so much vision and energy behind it already and I hope to help ignite some more of those very special cultural moments in the coming months.”
Councillor Chris Mullins, Cabinet member for Wellbeing, Crawley Borough Council said:
"Paul’s appointment is an important step in the development of a Cultural Quarter in Crawley. I’m looking forward to seeing the events and activities in the coming months and years.