Curating Luton: A new heritage strategy for Luton
Amongst achievement targets listed in the Luton 2040 strategic vision was the commitment to deliver a new ten year heritage strategy for the town by 2025.
With the help of grant funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund we achieved this four years early: our heritage strategy ‘Curating Luton’ was adopted in partnership and launched in September 2021.
The strategy document was co-developed in partnership with over 30 community and stakeholder groups, and with contributions from over 300 people as part of the Heritage Enabler project. It will be updated in 2023.
For more information, you can download the current strategy document.
Curating Luton: Place making
Community and partnership co-development of the strategy was achieved through the NLHF funded Heritage Enabler project, which took place between 2020 and 2021.
It holds a shared vision, that:
'Luton’s sense of place is anchored through its’ heritage; and wellbeing, civic pride and our identity as a proud industrious working class town will be celebrated and sustained.'
We’re excited to announce that, developing on from the Heritage Enabler project (which enabled public consultation and celebrated 13 Heritage Open Day events), the council has secured increased funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund with funded purposes including:
- to develop support for the growing ecosystem of community organisations delivering heritage activities across town:
- the Curating Luton Collective will develop deeper understanding about the role of heritage projects in place-making and a sustainable infrastructure for collaboration, upskilling, networking and funding opportunities for local heritage practitioners
- to ‘deep-dive’ into the co-development of a five year Heritage Implementation Plan’:
- using the strategy document as a framework, the town wide action plan will be ‘community-owned’ because it will be developed through engagement with heritage practitioners, community groups, key anchor institutions and advisory groups such as Historic England and the Chilterns Conservation Board
- the emergent Heritage Implementation Plan will cover all areas of heritage: from natural history, through our industrial past, to our historic built landscape, and embracing our super diverse cultural heritage, it will include the ownership of a ‘heritage at risk' and ‘local list’ register; and a heritage anchored place-activation plan
- to deliver in partnership, an organically emergent autumn program including:
- September Month of Heritage: a developed ‘Heritage Open Days’ offer (see below)
- an intersectional Arts Culture and Heritage place activation plan
- a mini conference and heritage practitioner summit (delivered in partnership with the University of Bedfordshire)
If you would like to contribute to the development of Luton’s first ‘Heritage Implementation Plan’, please contact [email protected]
The Curating Luton collective
Did you know that there are currently 13 NLHF Heritage Fund supported projects being delivered across our communities and that NLHF Heritage Fund has invested over £2.7m in Luton in the last five years?
One of the funded purposes of the Curating Luton: Place-making project is to support development of ‘The Curating Luton Collective’ an evolving support infrastructure for this growing ecosystem of heritage professionals, projects and practitioners.
Councillor Rob Roche, Portfolio Holder responsible for Heritage Strategy at Luton Council said, “This is an exciting time for Luton and we are hugely grateful for this funding which will help to develop support for community organisations delivering heritage activity across town.”
If you are a heritage practitioner or community professional currently delivering, or wanting to deliver a heritage project in Luton come along and join the Curating Luton Collective.
Contact [email protected] for more information.
Together we will develop a deeper understanding about the role of heritage projects in place-making; together we are re-defining Luton’s heritage narrative; together we will create a sustainable infrastructure for collaboration, upskilling, networking and funding opportunities for local heritage practitioners.
September month of heritage
Heritage Open Days are a national programming of local events. This year (2024) ‘Heritage Open Days’ fall between the 6 and 15 September 2024.
For a taster of what might be in store take a look at the variety of events in last year’s local Luton program.
If you would like to join the celebrations in Luton this year, please contact [email protected].