Hammersmith & Fulham Council's Bid for London Borough of Culture 2019/2020

We believe in the transformative power of the arts and culture. After all, Hammersmith and Fulham is the place where The Who cut their teeth as a live band, Dr Who first stepped into the Tardis, and a who's who of actors (including Benedict Cumberbatch and Chiwetel Ejofor) learned their craft as performers.

Today, the arts in H&F continues to be at the forefront of cultural excellence and innovation. It’s home to world class artists and arts organisations. As importantly, the arts give a fresh voice to a host of communities from across the borough, ensuring that the culture offer reflects the vibrancy and diversity of the city we live in.

Culture in Hammersmith and Fulham is extraordinary: but we want it to be bigger, better and louder.

This is what Hammersmith & Fulham will do as London Borough of Culture:



Creating the Culture Capital of west London in H&F.



Producing the best art and enabling the best artistic talent to grow.



Ensuring everyone has their lives enriched by the arts.



Ensuring everyone gets involved — we want you to be part of it.

London Borough of Culture

Inspired by the UK City and European Capital of Culture Programmes, London Borough of Culture will put culture at the heart of the community, celebrating the unique and distinctive creativity, character and diversity of London’s people and places.

It is a chance for boroughs to be bold and imaginative, working collaboratively across their communities and with artists, to tell their local stories.

If successful with our bid to be London Borough of Culture, H&F will present a landmark year of events and activities for all residents, providing a huge boost for the local economy. This will include:

  • Arts, comedy and music festivals.
  • Free events for local residents.
  • Employment and training for young people.

The benefits of taking a fresh approach to the arts will be substantial, and will be felt by residents and businesses across the borough.

Our vision for Hammersmith & Fulham — set out in our recent Arts Strategy — is to become:

  • One of the country’s most popular destinations for people to participate in and enjoy the arts
  • A place in which greater creativity and innovation thrive and the arts are experienced by more people from a wider range of backgrounds
  • A place where local residents and cultural organisations drive more clearly how the council supports the art, ensuring that every penny of arts funding is even more focused than now
  • A place where the arts are at the centre of a dynamic local economy, fostering local jobs, businesses and economic growth.

Major Cultural Venues
Population of H&F
Growth of Knowledge Economy Employees in London between 2013 and 2016
London Knowledge-Based Employment as a Percentage of all Employment (New York is 27%)
Of Creative Businesses in H&F are 'Motion Picture, Video and Television Related Activities'

How Will We Do It?

In Hammersmith and Fulham, we believe in doing things with residents, not for them. In 2016, we spoke to residents and organisations across the borough to inform H&F’s first Arts Strategy in over ten years. The ideas you shared will form the bedrock of our bid, structured around three key ideas.



We want to develop Hammersmith & Fulham as a thriving borough for the arts and promoting it as a creative and exciting place to live in, do business in and visit from within London, across the UK and overseas.



We want to stimulate artistic achievement and support adults, children and young people from a wide range of backgrounds to create, produce and perform excellent art of all kinds.



We want to ensure that residents from diverse backgrounds get more opportunity to enjoy and participate in a variety of types of art which challenges and inspires them and promotes their health and wellbeing.


Further Information

+ About Destination

We want to develop the borough as one of the country’s leading destinations for the arts. This will tie in with the council’s separate strategy for economic growth, building on an existing large group of TV and media companies in the borough and exploiting new opportunities to regain the borough’s leading position for culture, media, the arts and digital media.

The borough is a successful innovation district as defined in the GLA’s recent report ‘Spaces to Think’ by virtue of its arts and technology sectors. A snapshot by H&F Council’s Insight and Analytics team of creative industries in the borough shows that scientific, technical, information and communication industries dominate.

We will build on and add to the innovative work already taking place across Hammersmith & Fulham.

This will involve:

  • Seeking to support and grow existing arts provision and capacity by identifying ways to boost the national and international profile of the borough as an arts destination, promoting more effectively the wealth of arts activities taking place in Hammersmith & Fulham locally, London-wide and nationally.
  • Working with the existing arts infrastructure to attract high profile and internationally acclaimed arts performers and attractions to the borough.
  • Supporting and stimulating the dynamic diversity of smaller arts activities that form an integral part of developing the borough as a beacon for the arts.
  • Local economic value: The council will seek to achieve more employment, apprenticeships and contracting opportunities for local residents and businesses in the arts, entertainment, leisure, media and creative industries as a priority.

We plan to do this by:

  • Growing the number of visitors and ensuring our visitor economy is well supported working with hotels, tourism and culture agencies as well as key arts venues and attractions.
  • Using land development opportunities wisely and supporting the growth of strong clusters of firms across the broad creative industries. We will also work closely with key anchor arts and media businesses to maximise the co-location of complementary and ancillary businesses in borough.

+ About Creation

A successful bid to be London Borough of Culture would give us the funding to enhance the experience of living and working in the borough and boost the local economy by stimulating artistic achievement and supporting adults, children and young people from a wide range of backgrounds to create, produce and perform excellent art of all kinds.

There is a thriving arts scene in Hammersmith & Fulham, with many nationally recognised organisations as well as individuals producing high quality art. We want to make it easier for individual artists to find affordable space in which to live and to develop, create and perform excellent art.

We also want to help them find customers and audiences. As regards to larger arts organisations, we want to support existing ones to achieve greater artistic creativity and reach. The focus must be on artistic excellence. We also want to pay particular attention to artists, organisations and businesses who encourage audiences and users to expand their horizons and explore new ideas.

This activity will dovetail with the borough’s draft Local Plan, which seeks to protect and enhance the borough’s attractions for arts, science and technology and the creative industries.

This will involve:

  • Working with landowners, developers and property owners to provide affordable studio space for artists and creative industries.
  • Developing libraries as a cultural resource and space in which people can create and connect, in line with national (Arts Council England) policy and the council’s own ambitions. We will use the funding to develop a programme of cultural creativity which uses libraries both as spaces to animate and as venues which can reach a different demographic. We will link this work to health promotion activities, which are already a successful feature of what libraries offer.

+ About Inclusion

We want to ensure that residents from a wide range of backgrounds get more opportunity to experience and participate in a variety of art which challenges and inspires them and promotes their health and wellbeing.

Hammersmith resident and arts pioneer William Morris, from a lecture on the decorative arts in 1877, said:

“I do not want art for a few, any more than education for a few, or freedom for a few”

While there are many opportunities for residents to enjoy, create and perform high quality art in the borough, with an active arts education offer from early years to higher education, we know that numerous residents do not access the arts for a variety of reasons, including cultural and financial.

We want to work with local groups and partners to reduce and remove the barriers to participation, whether actual or perceived. Within both formal and informal education, we want to expand young people’s horizons and stimulate their imagination, ambition and sense of the possible by giving them exposure to forms of art they would otherwise be unlikely to access.

We want to ensure that residents are aware of the wealth of arts and creative industry skills and employment opportunities in the borough – and that they know the access routes to development, training, working and running businesses in this thriving sector.

We also want to support the vast range of grassroots (or community-led) arts that are active across our borough. These groups help make arts accessible to residents from all backgrounds.

And we want to ensure that more people are able to benefit from the therapeutic effect of the arts on health, wellbeing and social inclusion. A number of studies have demonstrated that people who participate in the arts as audience members are more likely to report good health. This has the added benefit of saving the public purse money.

We further want to promote arts activities in unusual spaces to reach out to different audiences and people who wouldn’t normally participate in the arts, to promote activities that are for all abilities and require no specialist equipment or knowledge, just a willingness to have a go.

Who's With Us?

Back the Bid and Share Your Support!

Get in touch with us to back the bid, register your support or share your thoughts and ideas.

Share on social media, using the hashtags #HFCulture and #MyLocalCulture.

Come to one of our London Borough of Culture meetings:

  • 13 November (5pm-7pm) at the Lyric Hammersmith in the Orr Room
  • 16 November (7pm-9pm) at Hammersmith Town Hall in the Small Hall
  • 21 November (2pm-4pm) at Hammersmith Town Hall in the Small Hall.

Back the Bid!

Culture and Art in Hammersmith & Fulham

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Town Hall, King Street,
London, W6 9JU