A new ‘Next Steps Together’ report, on how the new North West Cultural Partnership (NWCP) should support Protestant, Unionist and Loyalist (PUL) cultural development in the years ahead, has made several recommendations.
In terms of ‘operational needs’ it recommends “that the group work to a tightly focused and progressive unit, which doesn’t grow so large as to become unmanageable.”
The NWCP should also work to be as inclusive as it possibly can be.
The authors state: “It became apparent during the consultation that the partnership has a responsibility to ensure all views are represented if it is to gain the trust and faith of the North West cultural community.”
It also suggests a branding exercise for PUL culture.
“It is worth noting that during the consultation there was a general feeling that the time is right in the North West for a change in attitude, whereby there is ‘support for everyone to have a freedom of expression in terms of their culture.’
“There is an opportunity therefore, for a PR and Marketing programme designed to break down barriers and to increase understanding of the celebratory and commemorative nature of PUL heritage, culture and identity.
“This could be done with another cultural organisation based in the city representing elements of Catholic, Republican and Nationalist (CRN) culture; this could be used as a cultural tourism tool as well - attracting visitors to the city during specific events.”
The report also suggests the NWCP can have an important role in promoting PUL culture in schools and among young people generally and that engagement is critical.
“There is a recognition that the PUL community is more reticent than others to engage in arts and culture events like the Londonderry Feis or the Walled City Tattoo can go some way to break down these barriers and to encourage greater participation from a section of the community that may be missing out.”