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About Culture Richmond

Culture Richmond is a new vision for culture in Richmond upon Thames. It sets out how our arts, library, parks and sport & fitness services will enrich the lives of those who live in, work in and visit our borough.

Over the next ten years we aim to be ambitious, inclusive and responsive. Culture Richmond has been developed during an extraordinary time in world history; the COVID-19 pandemic has affected almost every aspect of daily life; exacerbating existing inequalities and greatly impacting physical and mental health and wellbeing. And yet, out of the challenges and changes we have experienced have come opportunities, innovation, creativity and community spirit, new ways of living, working and travelling,1 and it is these we want to embrace.

Addressing the impact of COVID-19 on our borough is not our only challenge. In 2019 Richmond Council declared a Climate Emergency; we also have an ageing population; a need to seek out new ways to support our young people and a responsibility to address inequality, whilst ensuring we are making the most efficient use of our resources. Continuing to offer value for money will be essential in what is going to be a challenging and uncertain time for local authorities.

Over the next ten years our cultural services will need to be agile and ready to adapt and respond to changing environments and local, national and global challenges. Our arts, library, parks and sport & fitness services will work together, and with other council services, to maximise resources and explore new models of delivery so that culture can be a valuable mechanism for us in tackling key issues and supporting the success of our borough. 

The benefits the arts, libraries, green and open space and sport and physical activity have on people, place and the economy have long been proven. Our task over the next decade is to find new ways to better utilise our existing assets and services while supporting the growth of culture and creativity in the borough to meet the challenges we face and contribute to a thriving and resilient local ecology.

It is in this spirit that Culture Richmond has been developed. Our aim is that by 2031 Richmond has an innovative, diverse and accessible cultural offer which seeks to empower, enable and inspire and contributes to the growth and success of our borough, communities and people.

View Culture Richmond 2021 to 2031 executive summary (pdf, 1.7 MB)

What do we mean when we talk about culture in Richmond?

We know from conversations we have had as part of the development of Culture Richmond that the word culture is extensive and means different things to different people. Many people told us that they think culture should enrich lives; broaden horizons; be inclusive and bring people together, but we also recognise that the term can be alienating and feel elitist and exclusive to some, which is exactly the opposite of what we want our services to be.

For the purposes of setting out our new vision, when we talk about culture in Culture Richmond we are referring administratively to the activities and areas of work that sit within the arts, library, parks and sport & fitness services, which include but are not limited to; the performing arts, visual arts, museums & heritage, public art, film, parks, highway verges, allotments, conservation, playgrounds, libraries, literature & literacy and community sports, fitness and physical activity. As technology and cultural forms shift and develop, so will our services.

Whilst our definition of culture does not specifically include the creative industries, we recognise the close alignment with culture and are committed to building those relationships and contributing to the borough’s creative industries through Culture Richmond.

Next: Methodology


  1. Residents reported feeling connected to their local community and more appreciation for their local area, with changes to behaviour including 50% of people shopping more locally; 50% of people using their car less; 73% of people walking more and 39% cycling more

Updated: 11 October 2021

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