Croydon is gearing up to be London Borough of Culture in 2023, with plans under way for a celebration of the borough’s unique identity, diverse communities and rich heritage, culture and creativity.
Launching in April 2023, Croydon 2023 is set to put the borough on the map as a destination for culture in the capital and beyond. From major events with international headliners performing alongside emerging home-grown talent, to hundreds of cultural activities from Croydon’s communities, the programme will showcase the very best of Croydon to the world.
Croydon’s greatest strength – its people – will be at the heart of the programme with the programme aiming to reach 250,000 people and involve every school, 1,500 artists and a huge network of residents from across Croydon.
A steering group of 30 local artists and cultural organisations will shape the programme with local artists and grassroots cultural organisations able to bid for grants of up to £50,000 to deliver unique moments in all areas of the borough. The programme will be delivered by 15 local delivery partners, including three culture hubs – ensuring that it is truly led by the community with funding targeted to ensure that all Croydon’s communities, and residents of all ages, are involved.
As the birthplace of genres from punk to dubstep and the home of grime legend Stormzy, the borough’s rich musical heritage will take centre stage, with live music events and a new music heritage trail. It will celebrate the diversity of Croydon, with flagship events including Croydon Pride, Croydon Mela, and Liberty Festival.
System change and tackling inequalities were at the heart of Croydon’s bid to be London Borough of Culture and the programme will play a vital role in helping everyone recover from the last two years of the pandemic.
The cultural programme will enable a positive vision for Croydon’s future to be created by its residents and artists, and will boost local businesses by attracting visitors to the borough from across the capital, creating a wealth of opportunities and jobs for residents of all ages.
Croydon was named London Borough of Culture 2023 after a successful bid to the Mayor of London in March 2020, winning a grant of £1.35m. The London Borough of Culture programme has been created by the Mayor of London to put culture at the heart of local communities, illuminating the character and diversity of London’s boroughs and showing culture is for everyone.
“Croydon’s London Borough of Culture 2023 will showcase the best of Croydon to London and the world. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for everyone in Croydon to celebrate our unique cultural identity, tell our stories and showcase our amazing home-grown talent.
“After the challenges of Covid-19, our year as London Borough of Culture is all the more vital, as residents and businesses alike will benefit from the investment, jobs and opportunities as we recover from the pandemic.
“But most importantly, it will give us all something really fantastic to look forward to and enjoy, as we come together to share what makes our borough so special with the rest of the world.”
Councillor Oliver Lewis, cabinet member for culture and regeneration
Justine Simons OBE, London’s Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, said: “Croydon has set out ambitious plans as London Borough of Culture 2023. With such rich diversity and talent, it will be a brilliant celebration of the best the borough has to offer for residents and visitors to enjoy. Culture and creativity are helping drive London’s economic and social recovery, and Croydon’s programme will help to support and inspire Croydon’s community and young people, leaving a legacy for generations to come.”
The plans for Croydon’s London Borough of Culture 2023 have been outlined in a cabinet report published today for consideration on 21 March.