Global Village Development

ECDP is committed to energising and supporting diversity in arts and heritage across the East of England, and this includes the festival and events sectors that are such an important pat of region’s cultural makeup.

There are so many events, fetes, festivals and fairs that provide engaging and participatory cultural experiences for communities, as well as employment and career development opportunities for creative practitioners. Nationally the festivals and events sector is under pressure financially at all levels. We understand that the sector is dynamic and will adapt and change relating to opportunities and challenges; but the current situation looks concerning whether this relates to commercial festivals, those supported by the public sector or run entirely by volunteers.

We run our own events and take part in festivals, and have done for many years. This includes our Global Village programme and the well-established Festival of Thetford & Punjab. As part of our National Portfolio Programme funded by Arts Council England (ACE), we have set out the role we can play in relation to our own events, but also in relation to the wider sector in the Eastern region. We have called this the Global Village Development Programme and it addresses ACE’s Dynamism Outcome, focusing on our own programmes and looking out across the region.

We want to discover more about the sector and understand diversity in terms of talent, programming, partnerships and promotion. We believe greater diversity will benefit the sector, making it more resilient, relevant and responsive. This will also enable us to advocate better and make the case for more investment.

So far we have undertaken research about the festival and events sectors across Essex, Suffolk Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire. We are now collaborating with the East Anglian Festival Network on a survey which will, we hope, provide us with more information and insight and enable us (and others) to understand what kind of support might be needed (funding, partnerships etc.). We will present our findings later in the summer and also at the East Anglian Festival Network Show in Huntingdon in October 2024.

If you put on events and festivals in the East of England, we’d appreciate five minutes of your time to fill in the survey!