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Lambeth reaches for London’s cultural crown

Lambeth has launched its bid to become London Borough of Culture, a competition set up by Mayor Sadiq Khan offering winning local authorities more than £1 million of funding to stage a year-long programme of cultural events and initiatives. The award will be announced next February, giving two authorities the title of London Borough of Culture for a year in 2019 and 2020 respectively.

Announcing the competition, Khan said, “Culture is the DNA of our city. Now, more than ever, there is a pressing need to reach out to our neighbours and celebrate London’s unique and diverse culture. London Borough of Culture is a great way to do just that whilst showing the world that our cultural gems extend way beyond the centre of the capital to all corners of the city.”

A strong contender

With institutions such as the National Theatre, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Black Cultural Archives based in Lambeth, the borough already carries huge cultural clout. Lambeth’s bid,
launched in Downstairs at the Department Store in Brixton on October 17th, is to build on this rich offer and to make it more accessible to all residents.

More than 50 organisations, including King’s College London, Brixton Pound and Age UK Lambeth, plus host of individuals are backing the bid.

At the launch, Lambeth council leader Lib Peck declared she wanted the bid to ensure “every single resident, from whatever background, whatever age and whatever their circumstance” could get involved with the borough’s cultural scene. Ovalhouse Theatre Executive producer Stella Kanu said: “We back the bid in the hope that we can imagine beautiful reflective mirrors in the hidden and open spaces across Lambeth – homes, theatres, parks, libraries, back streets – and more importantly in the mind of those who are often unrepresented.”

Boroughs must submit their bids by December 1st. In the meantime, the council is looking for more people to pledge support Lambeth’s mission to become Borough of Culture by going to www.OurLambeth.london. As part of the bid process, the council will be asking residents, businesses and other organisations to contribute their ideas about what they would like to see if Lambeth wins and hosts a Year of Culture.

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