Cumbria Arts and Culture Network

The Cumbria Arts and Culture Network is a sector led voluntary organisation that seeks to advocate on behalf of the county’s vibrant and resourceful cultural economy and support its development.


Our mission is to work together to deliver a diverse, innovative, resilient and high-quality cultural offer in Cumbria, supporting economic development and wellbeing through high levels of participation, engagement and social inclusion.


Our goals are…

  • Provide cultural leadership and education, supporting professional and artistic development
  • Grow Cumbria’s cultural economy and impact through research, investment and innovation
  • Increase participation in cultural activity in the county, developing a healthy social and cultural ecology which engages and enriches individuals and communities
  • Communicate through advocacy, representation and responsiveness
  • Develop and deliver partnerships and peer support
  • Share our news, best practice, plans and ambitions


Our 2019/20 priorities, as ordered by network members, are…

  1. Advocacy – on behalf of arts and culture sector within county and with external agencies
  2. Audience Development – widening the range and increasing the number of people (residents and visitors) that engage with arts and culture
  3. Investment in Culture – revenue and capital and how best to ensure coordinated approach to development
  4. Equality, Diversity, Creative Case – creators, audiences and subject of work in Cumbria
  5. Professional Development – for employed workers, freelance and self employed artists & creatives
  6. Understanding our Sector – venue and artist/ freelance & institution
  7. Environment – our practice and potential to highlight and advocate change
  8. Digital & Creative Industries – finding closer engagement between sectors



The network has a Chair, Deputy Chair and support officer in place to help give structure, with a steering group, comprised of network members offering additional guidance and support.

The core memberships of the network are non-profit arts and cultural organisations and individual artists and cultural consultants working within Cumbria. Our associate members are individuals from other sectors interested in working in partnership to harness the potential arts and culture to change lives and communities

The Cumbria Arts and Culture network is part of Cumbria CVS’s Specialist networks and is currently supported by a small grant from the Cumbria County Council. The specialist networks each focus on bringing together charities, users and organisations from their sector to share updates, issues and opportunities. A representative from each of these attends the

Third Sector Network Executive, for more information please click here.


Network Chair: Richard Foster


Richard has worked in the cultural industries for over thirty years, particularly in the fields of arts, venue, attraction and gallery management. Recent roles have included CEO of the Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal and General Manager of the Old Laundry Theatre and World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness-on-Windermere. Richard has lead a number of cultural consortia, including the Lake District Japan Forum, Lakes Culture and now the Cumbria Arts and Culture Network..


Network Deputy Chair: Catherine Coulthard


I am delighted to be the Vice Chair for the Arts and Culture Network.  I have worked as CEO for Prism Arts since 2008 and am also a proud Cumbrian.  Since 2008 we have all experienced huge changes in the way our sector has been funded and supported, I think we have lacked a sector support network over this time.  Currently there a wider recognition of the impact of our sector taking place across the county, it feels as though we are in ‘a moment’.  The Arts and Culture Network is therefore well placed to make the most of this opportunity, creating space for us all to highlight, advocate and develop our sector collectively.  For us it is important that the network works with everyone from independent artists to the larger NPOs, creating a representative and coherent voice and vision for our sector.  I am very much looking forward to working with Richard Foster as Chair and Laura Baxter as Coordinator, alongside the wider network and steering group members.


Network Support: Laura Rutter


Laura is an Engagement Officer at Cumbria CVS and provides support through administration, event management and social media.


What’s Involved

The network aims to meet four times a year at different venues across the county, looking in more depth at particular themes and networking with other members.

Next Network meeting date to be confirmed shortly

  • Pending Draft Minutes // 2 May 2019
  • Minutes // 23 January 2019
  • Minutes //  16 April 2018
  • Minutes // 24 November 2017
  • Minutes // 07 July 2017

Our steering group meet between the network meetings, to discuss actions and help support the planning for the next network meeting. This is currently an open group looking for members that want to play a more active role in the network, if you are interested in joining please let Laura Rutter know via


Connect with us!

The network can also help signpost and highlight new funding and support for projects and creative
works and find potential collaborative partners. We also share updates from public and private sector organisations looking to connect with a large number of arts and culture entities. We do this through emails via our mailing list which you can subscribe to HERE.

The network also has a twitter account @artscumbria

Please follow us and say hello, the account is checked regularly and we often share important information or help promote exhibitions and events that are happening in Cumbria.