Major project launches ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ rejuvenation of Nottingham

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A major new project launched today aims to re-vision the city of Nottingham after the trauma of the Covid-19 crisis.

The Nottingham Project aims to use culture, the arts and sport to breathe new life into Nottingham. It’s being backed by the city’s universities, Nottingham City Council and big names from the world of film, TV and sport.

The cultural and creative sector has been heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. It’s led to ‘sudden and massive loss of revenue opportunities’, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The Nottingham Board for Culture and Creativity is the organisation behind the project. It’s chaired by Nottingham-born Greg Nugent, who was director of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Organising Committee. It’s vice-chair is BAFTA-award-winning actor, Vicky McClure.

Line of Duty star Vicky McClure will serve as vice-chair of the Nottingham Board for Culture and Creativity

The actor has long championed the creative industry in her home city. She says she believes ‘we have a unique and inspiring heritage as well as an exciting future, with so much incredible young talent coming through. This is the moment where we can begin to  showcase to the world just how amazing Nottingham is.’

‘In Nottingham we have seen our iconic arts and cultural institutions shut for months and facing a fight for survival’, she added. ‘What our city needs is not only a way to rejuvenate itself post Covid-19 but a plan to come back stronger than ever before.’

Other members of the board include film and TV director Shane Meadows, double Paralympic champion Richard Whitehead, Sara Blair-Manning who is chief executive of the Nottingham Castle Trust and director of Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature, Sandeep Mahal.

The board’s first major move is to ask Heatherwick Studio to help the city develop a new creative vision and masterplan. The studio was founded by the designer Thomas Heatherwick and designed the Olympic cauldron for the London 2012 Games.

Heatherwick Studio designed the Olympic cauldron for the London 2012 Games. Picture: Ian Patterson

Thomas Heatherwick says he and his team ‘can’t wait to start working closely with the people who know Nottingham best. Our intention will be to develop ways for the city to harness its rich cultural heritage and extraordinary creative talents to secure its future as one of the most creative places in the world’.

Over the summer, the studio will consult both key creative stakeholders and the wider Nottingham public. The aim is to create a vision for Nottingham that will see it become one of the world’s most creative cities.

Chair of the Nottingham Board for Culture and Creativity, Greg Nugent, described this as ‘a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to revision our city. It is crucial Nottingham rejuvenates itself and has the ambition to become a world leader over the next decade.’

He added that because of the ‘impact the Covid-19 crisis has had on the creative and culture sector in our city – and around the world – there has never been a more important time for a project of this nature.’

The pro vice chancellors of both of Nottingham’s universities will form part of the board. Commenting jointly, Professor Edward Peck from Nottingham Trent University and Professor Shearer West from the University of Nottingham said they were ‘delighted to support a programme of such ambition and confidence which shares the spirit of collaboration that also underpins our commitment to our joint Universities for Nottingham initiative, launched earlier this year.’

‘Both universities have been long-standing supporters of Nottingham’s cultural and creative sectors for many years,’ they added. ‘We hope that this investment will underscore the vital role that creativity and culture will play in local recovery and renewal.’

The Nottingham Project also wants to hear your ideas on the future of the city. You can contribute by visiting You can also do so by following @TheNottmProject on Twitter plus @TheNottinghamProject on Twitter and Instagram. You can also email any thoughts to [email protected]

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