Mayor of London

Sadiq Khan unveils pro-culture plan for London

The mayor of London Sadiq Khan has presented the draft London Plan – the Mayor’s overall planning strategy for the capital. The document sets out plans to protect and grow the city’s culture and creative industries through a range of bold measures.

The strategy considers support for new creative enterprise zones and cultural quarters, as well as moves to protect artist studio space and introduce the agent of change principle.

For the events industry, the introduction of ‘agent of change’ principle means developers would have to take account of the impact of any new scheme on pre-existing businesses like music venues before going with their plans.

For example, the developer of new flats takes responsibility for soundproofing to avoid the risk of new neighbours complaining about noise from a music venue.

Commenting on the announcement, UK Music CEO, Michael Dugher, said: “London is a global music city. Music tourism alone generates over £1 billion for the capital and attracts over 3.5 million people every year to gigs and festivals.

“Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Night Czar Amy Lame are to be congratulated for recognising that beyond its success the sustainability of music and the night time economy face real challenges which need to be supported by planning decisions.

“We encourage all Londoners to have their say on the London Plan and critical proposals to protect music venues.”

Culture drives tourism

According to the London Mayor, culture generates £42bn for London’s economy annually and employs one in six people. It also plays a wider social role, bringing communities together and giving the city its distinctive character.

Despite this contribution to London’s success as a world city, the creative industries are struggling to grow and thrive as a result of London’s competitive land market.

Over the past decade, London has lost 25 per cent of its pubs, 40 per cent of its music venues, 50 per cent of its nightclubs and 58 per cent of its LGBT+ venues. It is also predicted to lose 30 per cent of affordable creative workspace in the coming years.

The mayor has already committed to carrying out annual audits of pubs, grassroots music and LGBT+ venues alongside a range of measures that aim to stem the flow of closure of venues across the capital.

The draft London Plan is open to consultation and will come into effect in autumn 2019.

Sadiq Khan launches post-Brexit campaign

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has been joined by leading figures from the arts, business, sport and politics to launch global campaign #LondonIsOpen.

The campaign is designed to encourage visitors and investors to come to London in the wake of the recent vote to leave the EU.

Prime Minister Theresa May and newly-appointed Foreign Boris Johnson have back the campaign alongside Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson and major firms such as Google, Hilton and Merlin Entertainments.

Khan commented: London is the best city in the world. It is creative, international, entrepreneurial and full of opportunities. I’m incredibly proud to be Mayor of a city that’s so comfortable with its diversity and so optimistic about its future.

“We don’t simply tolerate each other’s differences, we celebrate them. Many people from all over the globe live and work here, contributing to every aspect of life in our city. We now need to make sure that people across London, and the globe, hear that #LondonIsOpen. I urge everyone to get involved with this simple but powerful campaign to send a positive message to the world.”

Paralympian Sophia Warner joins Parallel London

Paralympian track and field athlete Sophia Warner has joined Parallel London, a mass participation event aimed at increasing public understanding of disability.

The event aims to shine a light on accessibility issues in everyday life and create positive attitudes towards disability.

While the upcoming Paralympic Games in Rio and Invictus Games in the US will be a big step in the right direction, there is still a lot to be done to ensure that people with disabilities have adequate access to sport and fitness facilities.

Warner founded Para Tri, the first of the Tribal Series of sporting events dedicated to people with disabilities.

‘It’s a happy and sad moment for me personally,” said Warner. “I’m very sad to have left Para Tri, but I’m tremendously proud of what we achieved and I’m sure my legacy and original vision will remain in safe hands with Sportsworld. However, I feel very lucky to have found a new home at Parallel London, who are as passionate about inclusivity and accessibility as I am.

“I still have so much to offer disability sport and I’m extremely excited by their scale of ambition and what we can achieve together. It seems very fitting to be back in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park exactly four years on from the Paralympics, and this time instead of being on the track I’m delighted to be part of a team giving that opportunity to thousands.”

Parallel London will take place on 4 September and is backed by The Mayor of London.

New disability run for Olympic Park

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will host a new mass participation run this September.

Parallel London is a not-for-profit event aimed at encouraging disabled people to be more active and independent.

The event is backed by the Mayor of London and organised by live event and experience agency Innovision. It will take place on 4 September, the day after the Mayor of London’s Liberty Festival.

“Coming in the same weekend as our Liberty disability arts festival, it promises to add to the building anticipation ahead of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games,” said Mayor of London Boris Johnson. “For Londoners with or without disabilities, Parallel London is going to be a more wonderful family-friendly day out, which I hope will help change attitudes as well as getting more of us to become active.”

The format will include multiple running or walking distances, ranging from 100m to 10km to suit different levels of ability. Innovision will provide full end-to-end event management services, including all planning and production, strategy, logistics and technical production.

“For some time now, I have been very keen to start creating our own content and ownable assets,” said Andrew Douglass, Innovision CEO and founder of Parallel London. “I think this will not only help us to future-proof our business; but creating new brands like Parallel London can also take us into some exciting new areas for growth and social enterprise.”

Patron Nick Ashley Cooper commented: “It’s really alarming that so many disabled people who want to lead more active lives still face barriers accessing facilities. I’m thrilled to be involved in Parallel London, an exciting and innovative event where anyone, no matter what their ability, is able to take part.”

Lumiere London organisers rule out 2017 event

Organisers of Lumiere London have ruled out a repeat of the event, citing the intensive planning and preparation that was involved in the inaugural January 2016 show.

Helen Marriage, director of events company Artichoke, which organised the festival, said: “These events take a long time to plan. Work started on Lumiere London 2016 in the summer of 2013, and although a second version wouldn’t take quite so long to put together, there are currently no plans for a similar event in 2017.”

Lumiere lit up central London with 30 light displays and attracted more than one million visitors.

Mayor Boris Johnson said: “It was a dazzling showcase of creativity that brought a wonderful burst of imagination, wit and colour to the streets of central London, underpinning the capital’s status as a great world city for culture.

“In the middle of cold, dark January, we were astounded by the crowds, which exceeded all our expectations and brought a boost to the West End and King’s Cross.”

London’s gaming industry boosted by £1.2m investment and new festival

 A ‘Minecraft’ version of Mayor of London Boris Johnson has announced a new programme entitled Games London, designed to make London the gaming capital of the world.

The three-year programme will include the launch of the London Games Festival, taking place from 1 to 10 April 2016, and a range of networking events and training initiatives.

Games London is being funded by the London Enterprise Panel (LEP) and launched by Film London and games trade body Ukie.

Johnson, who is chair of the LEP, said: “London is already a star player when it comes to games and interactive entertainment, but international competition is fierce and we need to ensure our city can compete with our global gaming rivals.”

Games London hopes to build on the success of the UK games sector, which generated £2.5bn in 2015. It will also make use of the Video Games Tax Relief, which allows UK game developers to claim back up to 20 per cent of their production costs.

Dr Jo Twist, CEO of Ukie, said: “The UK is home to some of the best and most experienced games talent in the world and is already responsible for the most successful, innovative and creative global titles. This welcome backing from the Mayor of London for Games London will celebrate and highlight London as a key business hub for creativity and innovation in the UK. Games London will celebrate and shift perceptions of games as a vital cultural medium, an important art form, and a key cultural industry.”

More than one million attend Lumiere London 

Lumiere light festival welcomed more than one million visitors to its first London show on 14-17 January.

The popularity of the event, developed by Artichoke, meant that on 16 January some installations had to be turned off for several hours. King’s Cross Station was also temporarily evacuated due to overcrowding.

Helen Marriage, director of Artichoke said: “It’s been an unprecedented four nights for London and the turnout has been extraordinary. Over a million people came to experience something truly magical and unusual: this great world city turned into a temporary pedestrian playground. While the success of the festival did mean that contingency measures had to be put into place occasionally to help keep the crowds moving, the atmosphere has always been amazing. This festival has been about more than seeing the art. It’s about people sharing public space and re-discovering the city.”

The show featured 30 artworks by international artists at some of the capital’s most iconic locations. The show was supported by more than 200 volunteers and held workshops with 500 schoolchildren to create the Joining the Dots and Litre of Light installations.

Lumiere received support from a number of partners and sponsors, including London & Partners, King’s Cross, Westminster City Council and the Mayor of London.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “I am thrilled by the success of Lumiere London, which has brought a wonderful burst of imagination, colour and creativity to our city’s streets in the middle of cold, dark January. It could not have happened without the input and support of the many businesses and agencies who helped to make it happen. We have been astounded by the crowds, which exceeded all our expectations and brought a boost to the West End and King’s Cross and are delighted by the response, not just from Londoners, but visitors from around the world.”

Read more about Lumiere London in this month’s Access All Areas, out now

Mayor of London’s Office partners with Unicef for spectacular NYE display

London’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display was delivered in partnership with Unicef as part of the charity’s ‘Happy Blue Year’ campaign.

The event, which took place at the London Eye, raised awareness and funds for children affected by the conflict in Syria. More than 12,000 fireworks accompanied a soundtrack of children’s voices during the 11-minute show.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “Our stunning fireworks display shows our capital at its best and I’m thrilled that this year we were able to partner with Unicef.  Not only was it a momentous occasion, uniting millions of people across the country and overseas, it was also an opportunity to make the world an even better place in 2016 and beyond by helping children affected by the Syrian crisis.”

More than 108,000 people attended the event, which was created for the 12th consecutive year by brand experience agency Jack Morton Worldwide.

“London’s New Year’s Eve fireworks has become an iconic and globally recognised event,” said David Zolkwer, creative director of Jack Morton Worldwide. “This year, it is a privilege to not only be entertaining millions of people, but also – through the participation of Unicef – to be dramatically marking this poignant time of reflection and resolution as we connect London to the rest of the world with a message of goodwill and compassion.”