I know there has been quite a bit of coverage of council’s recommendations last week regarding pursuing the community’s request to move the Blackboy statue and clock into a museum, but there were other recommendations for us to consider, including the work that will be done regarding the council’s emerging culture strategy, which includes empowering communities and individuals to celebrate and share their history, heritage, culture and identity, including the district’s cultural and community diversity.
There are many stories waiting to be re-discovered, as I was reminded over the weekend when we enjoyed the inaugural Much Ado About Dursley festival, which I helped organise, bringing the stories of the town to life with actors under the old marketplace.
Drawing on the oral history project of the GL11 community hub, it was wonderful to see older members of the audience enjoying the memories of those who lived and worked in the town in the 1950s and 1960s, many of them at the Listers factory, for example the Italians who came and taught Dursley folk the delights of learning how to cook Italian cuisine, not so far removed from those households which today are welcoming our Ukrainian guests.
The mix of culture and our industrial heritage is a remarkable feature of our district and continues strongly today, with so many artists and craftspeople living and working locally.
There are always opportunities to discover their work, and the Museum in the Park has a wonderful international exhibition on at present, ‘A Thread of Light: Three Generations of Kiln Cast Glass Artists’ on display until 12 June.
Culture matters in so many ways, not only in allowing artists to follow their vocation, and to bring pleasure to many and boost our wellbeing, but also in its contribution to the local economy by bringing in visitors and encouraging people to go out and visit our local artistic venues.
Supporting our communities, and as a council working alongside them to foster better understanding of our culture and our shared history, is something very positive.