Doncaster year of culture 2020: The woman to run the project is revealed and pledges it will be ‘accessible to all’

A new director of culture has been appointed to take forward plans for a year of culture in Doncaster in 2020, pledging to make it accessible to all.

Juliet Farrar has taken up the post, and will work for the Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust. She comes to the post having previously worked as  Middlesbrough Council's head of culture and tourism.

Juliet Farrar, the new Director of Culture for 2020, addresses the Doncaster Ambassadors event at the Hilton Hotel at Doncaster Racecourse

Juliet Farrar, the new Director of Culture for 2020, addresses the Doncaster Ambassadors event at the Hilton Hotel at Doncaster Racecourse

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She was introduced to business leaders in the borough at the Doncaster Ambassadors event run by Doncaster Chamber and Business Doncaster this week, on what was her third day in the post.

She said: “What we’re not going to do is bring a circus to town, and then leave a vacuum.

“It will not be about things being behind closed doors, or things that need special knowledge or interpretation to understand – it’s about inclusion.”

She said she wanted to run major cultural flagship events that would contribute to the quality of the town's image and environment, and activities that would contribute to the quality of life and well-being of individuals and communities.

She said the felt the most successful programmes were high impact, and things that people would just stumble across as they walked through the town, while capitalising on trends or linked to national and international themes.

She gave an example of a giant sand sculpture of Charles Darwin that was built in Bradford town centre, and a giant, locally manufactured wind turbine blade which was installed in a historic town square in Hull.

To move projects forward, Ms Farrar will be fundraising, and working with local community groups, businesses, artists and arts groups.

The plans will also look at being sustainable, she said.

She said tourists visits usually provided around £34 spend per head, according to Visit Britain.

As an example of arts events bringing visitors to Doncaster, she cited the current DN Festival of Light: The Museum of the Moon, which has been taking place at Doncaster Minster, run by the arts organisation Right Up Your Street.

She said that had 1,000 visitors on its first afternoon, and was expected to attract 10,000 over the week. It features a new touring artwork by UK artist Luke Jeram.  Measuring 7m in diameter, the moon features detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface. 

Doncaster Council has set out a plan to celebrate a 'year of culture' in 2020 to coincide with 'key anniversaries and major developments coming together', in a style similar to the Hull City of Culture events of 2017.

A report compiled by council bosses cited the £14.1m Library and Museum, the Mayflower 400 feature with events to commemorate the sailing in 1620 along with the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain as examples.

Local authority chiefs are hoping to externally source the majority of funding for events.

The council is said to be prioritising the town centre as a 'key area of development' which includes 'increasing the quality and schedule' of major events and animation which is hoped to bring an increase in visitors.