I will lead a West Yorkshire Creative New Deal to ensure our creative industries are part of the broader recovery strategy.
With Sky, Channel Four, BBC and ITV all with bases in West Yorkshire, I know there is an opportunity to establish West Yorkshire as the go-to place for the creative industries in the region. We have some of the finest theatres and community groups, artists, independent production companies, dancers and musicians and once the sector begins to open, we must be ready to take the opportunity.
Research proves that people choose a cultural offer over good schools as their reason to move to an area and I know creative and cultural industries can be powerful drivers of economic activity and regeneration. A wider cultural offer will also help to retain the many clever young people who go to our universities but choose to set up their life elsewhere.
My Creative New Deal will put West Yorkshire talent at the heart of the creative industry, generating jobs and kick starting local economies. Working with partners such as the BFI, I will identify a location for a Film Studio of the North, bringing jobs, training and opportunity to our region.
The cultural offer is also central to getting more people back in our town centres. Working with local and touring arts organisations, we will utilise empty shop units for pop up and immersive experiences, revitalise heritage buildings like old mills and town halls for live performances and creative skills development and open the door for international production companies wanting to film in our beautiful locations. With this in mind, I will create a bi-annual Town of Culture award to celebrate the creativity of our towns and villages.
As Mayor, I will work with our councils and Welcome to Yorkshire to bring the world’s biggest cultural and sporting events to West Yorkshire, providing not just jobs but inspiration and lifelong memories to every one of our citizens.
I will work to create the infrastructure to support creative industry freelancers and the self-employed to access work and share skills, supporting local bids for creative hubs in empty buildings.
I will appoint a Night Czar who will focus on night time workers. This position will have oversight of the cultural industries but also work that happens at night, including our NHS, office cleaning, and logistics and driving. The Night Czar will work closely with the Mayor’s office to co-create a Women and Girls Safety Charter.