DD2308 Interim Cultural and Events Programme – Royal Docks

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
21 January 2019
Decision by: 
David Lunts, Executive Director Housing and Land and Interim CEO of OPDC

Executive summary

MD2338 approved expenditure of up to £212.5m for the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone (EZ) Delivery Plan to deliver an integrated and catalytic package of projects that are identified under the five strategic objectives of Place, Connectivity, Economy, Activation and Promotion. The MD delegates authority to the Executive Director of Housing and Land, to approve through Director Decision forms, the income and detailed spending proposals for each project that is to be funded within the initial £212.5m expenditure budget envelope.

This Director’s Decision (DD) provides more detail for several projects under the Activation strategic objective of the Delivery Plan and requests approval to support an Interim Cultural and Events Programme for 2019. These projects were endorsed by the Royal Docks Officer Level Programme Board on 19 December 2018.


That the Executive Director of Housing and Land approves:

Up to £448,800 of revenue expenditure from the Royal Docks EZ approved budget (2018/ 2019 & 2019/2020) for key strategic Activation projects including the Cultural & Placemaking Strategy, Event Market Research, Public Art Consultant, Seasonal Installations & Events, Community Arts Programme & Grants, London Festival Commissions and short-term Additional Resource.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

MD2338 approved expenditure of up to £212.5m for the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone (EZ) Delivery Plan to deliver an integrated and catalytic package of projects that are identified under the five strategic objectives of Place, Connectivity, Economy, Activation and Promotion. The MD delegates authority to the Executive Director of Housing and Land, to approve through Director Decision forms, the income and detailed spending proposals for each project that is to be funded within the initial £212.5m expenditure budget envelope.

The next five years are critical in the remaining 20-years of the Royal Docks EZ, and it is crucial that there is a visible change to developers, investors, businesses and visitors to the area. The key development partners, London Borough of Newham (LBN) and strategic stakeholders in the Royal Docks have identified the development and activation of the Docks and the surrounding area as one of the highest priority actions required to catalyse investment, occupier interest and community engagement.

The Royal Docks area has enormous potential – not just to deliver thousands of jobs and new homes, but also to become a major new cultural hub for Londoners, local residents and visitors from around the world. The Activation programme is key to unlocking the economic potential of the Royal Docks as well as ensuring local Newham residents and businesses benefit from the outset. Activation is critical to place identity and liveability and is a key deciding factor in businesses and residents choosing to locate in the Royal Docks.

The following projects have been identified as key strategic activities in the early delivery of the five-year plan and will support placemaking of several areas in the docks including Royal Albert Dock, Royal Victoria Dock, Silvertown Quays, North Woolwich and Albert Island.

Cultural & Placemaking Strategy

Timeframe: December 2018 to June 2019 for Phase One

London is recognised as a world leading cultural city. Culture and the creative industries contribute
£47bn to London’s economy every year and account for one in six jobs in the capital. London is the
world’s most googled city for culture, and four out of five tourists to the capital say the city’s culture and heritage are the main reasons for visiting.

The Royal Docks presents a unique opportunity to establish a new, distinctive, world-class cultural
destination in London, where culture is woven across 266 hectares of land and water. This opportunity demands an ambitious and bold vision to fully realise the scale of opportunity, meet the cultural needs of the area and create a sustainable cultural eco-system.

Given the environment of rapid change and complexity of stakeholders it is critical that the GLA quickly establishes and communicates a clear focus and direction for culture and placemaking across Royal Docks. To do this, the GLA will commission a cultural and placemaking strategy to consult stakeholders, set out key principles and objectives, intended work programmes along with an implementation plan.

This will set the framework for delivery of all Activation related projects ensuring an integrated approach across Royal Docks work programmes.

The Royal Docks team will commission a consultant/ consultancy to deliver the first phase of the Cultural & Placemaking strategy – this strategy brief will be integrated with the Place strategy brief. Procured by January, the consultant/ consultancy will develop and deliver the Cultural & Placemaking strategy within 9 months. The budget allocated to this project will cover the first phase of the development of the strategy. Approval and budget for the second phase will be included in the next Activation DD.

Event Market Research

Timeframe: January2019 to June 2019

Market research is a vital component of evaluating and planning events. It is the tool to capture and evaluate the Economic, Social, Environmental and Media impacts from an event, measuring how well it has met its objectives. In addition to this the research will also:

• assess experience of and satisfaction with different aspects of events;
• assess the demographic composition of event attendees;
• assess the value for money and the economic benefit of the event;
• understand motivations and barriers for attending events;
• inform the planning of future events programmes;
• measure awareness of, and satisfaction with, the Mayor’s/ LBN’s/ LEAP’s/ Royal Dock’s involvement in events;
• assess corporate partner awareness;
• measure campaign recognition and recall (tube posters, Metro advert, postcard at a tube station, e-flyer, etc.);
• assess impact of campaign materials call to action.

Market research is to be conducted at 5 to 7 events, with input into the questions from the Marketing, Intelligence and Economics teams to ensure they are relevant to provide appropriate analysis. The results from each individual event can be used to benchmark against other events, as well as determine where refinement on questions or analysis is made. This engagement will enable the Royal Docks team to make an informed assessment of the value and impact of these events and prepare the ground for any necessary changes in 2019/20.

The Royal Docks team will procure a market research company to undertake research at owned and supported events.

Public Art Consultant

Timeframe: January 2019 to June 2019 for Phase One

As a vibrant new cultural destination, the GLA will look to embed art and creativity throughout the fabric of Royal Docks – both within the public realm (street furniture, lighting etc), through permanent and temporary public art commissions (including Aerial Art Park, exhibitions, installations etc) and through working effectively with key stakeholders and developers to ensure an ambitious, high quality, distinctive and coherent public art programme.

This rooted but ambitious approach to public art across Royal Docks will form a core element of the wider approach to placemaking. With local participation at its centre, an effective placemaking approach will enable the creation of quality public spaces that contribute to people's health, happiness, and well-being. The GLA will also be cognisant of the borough approach to public art (via programmes such as Urban Newham) to ensure the GLA is enhancing the public art offer. This work will improve the experience for those visiting and working in the Royal Docks, making spaces more welcoming, engaging and encouraging exploration.

To start this key strategic work, the GLA will procure a public art consultant who will work alongside the Royal Docks Creative Programmer and the Cultural & Placemaking Strategy consultant to develop and deliver early public art projects (Aerial Art Park feasibility; Public Art engagement with stakeholders & developers; public realm current/future opportunities; new landmark opportunities; The Line partnership). The budget allocated to this project will cover the first phase of the development of emerging public art projects. Approval and budget for the second phase will be included in the next Activation DD.

The GLA has identified The Line as an early strategic public art project that the GLA will support as it closely meets Royal Docks strategic objectives. The Line is London's first dedicated modern and contemporary art walk. The project opened in May 2015, and the route runs between the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the Royal Docks and via the cable car The O2. It follows the waterways and the line of the Meridian. The project was initiated by art dealer Megan Piper and the late urban regeneration expert Clive Dutton OBE and has established a recognised and successful outdoor exhibition space, which encourages locals, Londoners and visitors alike to engage with contemporary art, whilst also discovering this lesser-known part of the city, its wildlife and heritage. A partnership with The Line will support Royal Docks in building public awareness and profile, visitor footfall and a cultural reputation.

Seasonal Installations & Events

Timeframe: January 2019 to June 2019

The Seasonal Installation and Events projects will support and deliver activities that mark significant national and Royal Docks anniversaries and celebrations. They will create opportunities for visitors and local Newham communities to attend and share key national and local moments.

Following feedback from the Royal Docks Cultural Partnership Group (a group made up of cultural and community organisations) the first event will be a small networking event providing an opportunity for local arts and community organisations and local developers to explore opportunities for working together and creating new partnerships. This event will be delivered with support from the developer ABP in Royal Albert Dock.

Although not all installations and events have yet been identified, the rest of the budget will be used to contribute towards seasonal and anniversary projects that contribute to the Activation Objectives within the Royal Docks 5-year delivery plan. In addition to the networking event up to two further events will be delivered. Services for projects will be procured through the GLA Events Framework or depending on the project funding will be provided to organisations.

The financial support for the grant funded events, exhibitions and installations indicated above are a relatively small contribution to the full cost of these events. Supporting these activities meets the objective of raising the profile of the Royal Docks as an attractive and vibrant place to visit, work and live and highlights support for the Newham communities involved in the delivery.

Services for development and delivery of the seasonal installations & events activation will where relevant be procured as per the GLA’s Contracts & Funding Code and/ or via TFL procurement.

Community Arts Programme & Grants

Timeframe: January 2019 to June 2019

DCMS research (Taking Part survey) has identified LBN as a borough with low levels of cultural engagement. This may be through lack of local opportunities to attend and participate or because of socioeconomic factors, physical accessibility, or a limited offer. LBN has a population which is both young and diverse but has relatively little access to and engagement with culture.

In the Royal Docks there are several small, geographically disparate communities. There is a fast-changing residential landscape with new developments coming on-stream over the next 5 years. There will also be an increasing “worker” daytime presence as a range of new workspaces comes on-stream, as well as an increasing visitor presence attracted to Royal Docks by its unique landscape, improved transport, new amenities, attractions and programming.

As these resident, worker and visitor communities evolve over the next 5 years it is essential that they
are engaged in the Activation programmes - to support effective social cohesion and delivery
of a credible and rooted offer.

Working closely with Newham’s Commissioner for Community, Leisure & Culture the Royal Docks Community Arts programme will support these evolving communities (resident, worker, and visitor) in shaping their local arts provision.

Key objectives are:

• more people from places of least engagement to experience and be inspired by the arts and to become regularly engaged as audiences or participants;
• communities to be empowered to take the lead in shaping local arts provision;
• aspiration for excellence - both excellence of art and excellence of the process of engaging communities;
• establish sustainable arts and cultural opportunities and make this learning freely available across
• the cultural sector;
• establish partnerships across the subsidised, amateur and commercial sectors;
• maximise opportunities for collaborations across cultural organisations;
• demonstrate the power of the arts to enrich the lives of individuals and make positive changes in communities.

The Community Arts programme will support people to create, commission and curate outstanding arts and creative activities in their areas, and to promote the area as a place where exciting art - of all
forms - is made and shown. It will grow links between people and artists/arts organisations, creating an enthused and productive network. As part of this work existing cultural organisations and amenities will be identified and supported as well as new partners being invited to engage with Royal Docks and its communities.

The Community Arts programme will be delivered by a consortium (made up of local arts and voluntary sector organisations from Royal Docks and Newham) and the current plan is that the GLA Royal Docks team will be a lead partner in the consortium. A bid will be submitted to Arts Council England (ACE) for the Creative People and Places scheme (a 3-year programme) – committing a Royal Docks contribution to match ACE funding. Application guidance was published in October 2018 with the application deadline in March 2019. A consultant will be procured to assist with the development of the consortium and bid. If the ACE bid is unsuccessful then the GLA Royal Docks team would explore opportunities to still support funding for a local community arts programme.

As part of the development of the Community Arts programme, and in parallel with the creation and development of the community arts consortium, the GLA has identified a number of early projects to whom the GLA would provide funding. The GLA has identified Block 9 as an organisation that the GLA wishes to support strategically with a community arts grant.

Block 9 are a leading arts company with a global reputation for their design work at Glastonbury Festival and other international music festivals. With the support of the Royal Docks team Block 9 have relocated to the Silver Building (an unoccupied building recently renovated with GLA Regeneration funding) and are developing and delivering a programme of work that will significantly contribute to the local creative economy and place making.

Block 9 are active in developing the creative skills of young people and since 2010 have partnered with leading organisations and institutions (including A New Direction and Roundhouse) to deliver mentoring and educational programmes including; experience design, technical theatre, video art, film-making, drama and creative production.

Block 9’s Royal Docks project includes delivering a number of training programmes and internship opportunities focused on set building, production and touring as well as providing employment and internships for local Newham residents and young people. This creative skills youth training programme will be developed and delivered in Spring/Summer 2019 and this will be the first year of a three-year funding partnership.

The GLA is also in discussion with several other community groups that are developing projects that meet the strategic objections of the Activation strand of the five-year delivery plans and which the GLA would support through the Community Arts Grants.

Commissioning London Festivals

To help position the Royal Docks as a cultural hub and put it on the world stage as a distinct location for events and activation the GLA will develop partnerships with a number of strategic leading London festivals – working with them to present their festival programme in Royal Docks. These joint projects have been identified as key strategic projects that will be supported via grant funding. As well as invigorating the cultural offer within the Royal Docks it will also attract audience footfall that might not otherwise visit the different areas of the Royal Docks and help to place it on London’s cultural map. Due to the extensive planning and development timeframe required to deliver activation partnerships in the Royal Docks the related budget needs to be approved and committed early to secure opportunities.

Festivals that the GLA will support include:

Newham Word Festival

Led by the Discover Centre the festival, spread over two weeks brings together over 150 events celebrating written and spoken word. Local artists, authors and illustrators will be taking part in debates, storytelling sessions, performances and readings, many of which are free and family-friendly. The festival engages with young people across LBN and beyond.

London Festival of Architecture (LFA)

The London Festival of Architecture celebrates London as a global hub of architectural experimentation, practice and debate. In 2018 the festival offered a lively and diverse programme of public events across London exploring the theme ‘identity’. In 2019 the GLA will continue and build on its partnership with this festival and will again feature as a festival partner. This 2019 partnership will be the first year of a three-year funding partnership.


Circulate is an outer London strategic touring programme, initiated by GLA Culture and supported by Arts Council England, which targets areas of low cultural engagement. It brings outstanding, free outdoor arts events to London, enlivening the neighbourhoods where people live. The festival delivers free outdoor arts events, builds outdoor arts audiences and develops outdoor arts capacity in London, through community engagement and an artist development programme. The GLA have identified an opportunity for the Royal Docks to join the programme and become a new venue for outdoor arts.

Totally Thames

The Ship of Tolerance is a participatory art project. The borough of Newham will be a point of focus for the engagement program and will offer a geographic sense of ‘project ownership’ as the Ship will be built in the Royal Docks with local schools able to visit and follow the construction. Apprentices and job seekers from the borough will also be able to join the building team of the Ship. Following its installation on the river Thames, the Ship of Tolerance will be exhibited in the Royal Docks, expanding its outreach and offering a platform for the residents to exchange ideas and continue the discussion.

Greenwich & Docklands International Festival

Following on from a successful partnership in 2018 the GLA will further develop this partnership, working with the organisation to develop a more ambitious programme and host a number of performances in the Royal Docks. This meets and delivers against several Royal Docks Activation objectives including establishing international partnerships, attracting new audiences and footfall to different areas of the Royal Docks and building a cultural reputation.

Additional Resource

The GLA has identified a gap in staffing resource that will need to be covered to enable the 2019 Cultural and Events Programme to be developed and delivered, in advance of permanent recruitment. The role will support the Creative Programmer and Event Manager to develop, plan and deliver the Summer Activation campaign including events, public art and activation projects.

This budget will also cover payment of expenses for a MA Student Placement.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The objectives of the Interim Cultural and Events Programme are as outlined within the five-year Delivery Plan and include:

• Increase visitor and local footfall through consistent and varied programming;
• Position the Royal Docks on the world stage as a distinct location for unique events;
• Maximise cultural programming opportunities and impact through partnerships;
• Engage local communities in their changing place via the cultural programme

Attendance at events stimulates additional spending. The GLA aims to generate additional spend in the local economy through the delivery of events, exhibitions and installations.

The additional benefits of the programme whilst challenging to fully capture via planned market research and wider Royal Docks monitoring are:

• Raising the profile of the Royal Docks to support the wider regeneration and development efforts of key partners and stakeholders;
• Increase investor, occupier and visitor interest in the Royal Docks and help accelerate early business rate income;
• Encouraging social integration and cohesion and increased sense of community through social interaction at events;
• Where possible seek to provide local employment opportunities;
• Encouraging a sense of pride in local communities for the area in which they live;
• Support the health, wellbeing and quality of life of local communities. In particular where disposable income is limited, and free events offer access to arts and entertainment.

Equality comments

Under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as a public authority, the GLA must have ‘due regard’ of the need to:

• eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation; and
• advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who have a protected characteristic and those who do not.

The Royal Docks EZ Delivery Plan projects are aimed at implementing a number of the Mayor’s policies such as the London Plan, A City for All Londoners, Healthy Streets Approach, draft Culture Strategy, London Housing Strategy, Transport Strategy and is aligned with the Mayor’s Equalities Framework to consider the requirements of relevant equalities groups.

Impact assessments will determine whether any persons with those characteristics will be unduly impacted by the activities described in this business plan, and the course of action in order to mitigate any impacts.

The activation programme is planned to be inclusive and aimed at all Londoners, culturally and socially, achieved through the programme content, the broad and targeted approach to marketing channels, and access facilities at events. While many of the events within the programme engage directly with specific community stakeholder groups in their planning and highlight the contribution of specific communities, all of the events are about bringing different communities together, sharing cultures and supporting social integration.

Other considerations

In line with the other strategic objectives set out in the Delivery Plan (Place, Connectivity, Economy and Promotion) Activation projects will be integral in accelerating and maximising the regeneration of the EZ and wider Royal Docks Opportunity Area.

Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities include:

• Developing world-class events in line with the Mayor’s Cultural Strategy – to assist in the development of a ‘stimulating, creative and cultural London’.
• Developing ‘a programme of activities/events to engage with London’s diverse communities to help deliver the Mayor’s priorities, strategies and policies, as well as celebrate London’s rich diversity’.
• Promoting sustained economic growth and competitiveness of London as a World City through tourism, economic development and positive media coverage.

Financial comments

This decision requests approval for up to £448,800 revenue expenditure, £277,000 in 2018-19 and £171,800 in 2019-20.

This expenditure will be funded from within the £212.5 million approved delivery plan budget confirmed in MD2338.

Activity table



DD approved

December 2018

Delivery Start Date:

December 2018

Delivery of Projects:

December 2018 to June 2019

Delivery End Date:

June 2019

Project Closure: [for project proposals]

June 2019

Share this page