Hastings deserves national recognition for both the wide range and the high quality of its cultural life, and also for the exceptional level of participation by the community at large.
This isn’t about famous names or iconic buildings (though we also have these in plenty). It’s about enhancing the quality of life for all our residents, which is always potentially transformative regardless of our circumstances. For our young people facing an uncertain economic future, it’s another dimension for fulfillment.
In Hastings, culture in all its forms and formats is our everyday happening, in our streets, on the beach, in the pubs, down the town, in our homes and our neighbourhoods, in established or makeshift venues, on bits of waste ground and in pop-up spaces. We wear it, film it, write it, paint it, speak it, sing it, dance it, and play it. Our bikes have bling, our chess has mastery, even our cakes have attitude.
Whatever our circumstances or background, with funding or without it, none of us remains untouched by this cultural ferment.
Hastings as City of Culture could build on this extraordinary groundwork to reach new audiences, to encourage a new flowering and find new talent and optimism, while new venues could extend opportunities for participation. And it could be a model to inspire other towns and cities to base their lives around culture.
So please, put us on the shortlist for 2017 City of Culture and give us the time and space to show in detail the quality, originality and variety of what we can do, and the chance to win the national and international recognition we deserve as UK City of Culture 2017.