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Birmingham City Council discusses its new visitor destination plan

Above: The Guardians - statues designed by Dhruva Mistry for Victoria Square, Birmingham - with Birmingham Museum in background

Future Cities Forum is delighted that Symon Easton, Head of Cultural Development at Birmingham City Council will be speaking at our July event at The Exchange in the city.

The Cultural Service is primarily responsible for commissioning the council’s circa £6.4m annual investment in support to arts and museums in Birmingham. This includes commissioning arts projects from local arts organisations in communities across the city.

The service oversees council investment in major cultural events and has a remit to coordinate Public Art. It also manages the Film Birmingham Office that encourages and facilitates filming in Birmingham. The service also commissions city wide cultural programmes such as the annual 'Heritage Week' and 'Black History Month’.

Symon joined Birmingham in 2010 from his post as Cultural Investment Manager for a local district authority in the South of England. Prior to this, Symon held various venue management posts across the country including; Chief Executive of Northampton Theatres, Managing Director of Sunderland Empire Theatre and, Events & Entertainments Manager for Carlisle City Council. He originally trained in theatre and production at the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art (LAMDA) from 1981-83 before going on to work for a variety of theatres and touring companies at home and abroad.

Symon represents Birmingham on the Core Cities and Eurocities Cultural Officers network. He is also an Executive Member of The Chief Cultural & Leisure Officers Association (CLOA) – a national body representing senior Local Authority Sports, Leisure and Culture professionals.

Birmingham City Council is turning its attention to how the city can enhance its cultural offer while promoting it as a national and international destination, as it recovers from the pandemic.

The Visitor Destination Plan will capitalise on the huge opportunities that hosting the Commonwealth Games brings, not least the unprecedented television coverage to a worldwide audience this summer. Outdated perceptions of the city and region will be challenged as viewers and visitors will see how much Birmingham has transformed in recent years.

Birmingham City Council says:

'There is a palpable buzz around the city, not just because of the Games and the Birmingham 2022 Festival, but also in the creativity and culture that has blossomed in neighbourhoods like Digbeth and the Jewellery Quarter.'

The plan will support the visitor economy by showcasing areas where Birmingham is strongest including our vibrant culinary scene, world class culture and festivals, history and heritage, award-winning family attractions, independent and designer shopping, our acclaimed Christmas experience and a growing screen tourism offer. The council says it will work with its partners to ensure that these ‘hero’ themes will be communicated effectively to consumer and travel trade markets and become better known both nationally and internationally.


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