Ken Livingstone supports new film centre

With the London mayoral elections looming, Labour candidate and current mayor Ken Livingstone declared his intention today to invest in the capital’s cultural life.

Livingstone: I’ll build new film centre and protect live music

Paul Waugh
Evening Standard 21.04.08

Ken Livingstone pledged financial backing for a new international film centre on the South Bank today as he unveiled his culture and arts manifesto.

Announcing his plans at the Institute of Contemporary Art, he claimed that over the past eight years London had overtaken New York and Paris to become the most visited by international tourists, “largely because of the vibrancy, dynamism and unparalleled diversity of culture in the capital”.

At the launch he was joined by figures from the arts world including singer Billy Bragg, actor and playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah and former Coronation Street star Shobna Gulati.

The new film centre would replace and modernise the existing British Film Institute at the Southbank Centre.

In today’s manifesto Mr Livingstone also promised to:

• Supply capital funding for new arts centres
• Change London’s planning rules to ensure the protection of live music venues.
• Work with the music industry and venues to establish a music “expo”, modelled on festivals such as South by Southwest – the series of concerts, conferences, exhibitions, trade fairs and parties that take place in Austin, Texas, every spring.
• Expand the current programme of free festivals to celebrate more London communities.
• Work with arts organisations to create a major contemporary art event.
• Support a bid for the Gay Games. The international sports and cultural event takes place every four years and the next one is in Cologne in 2010.

Mr Livingstone said that as well as investing in the existing festivals in the capital he had established new institutions and events.

He said: “At the beginning of the 21st century, London is probably the most culturally exciting place on earth – thanks to the the vast depth of the city’s heritage and its diverse and outwardfacing character.

“Not only does the city have a 2,000-year history reflected in its museums, art collections, orchestras, opera houses and theatres, it is also the most international city in the contemporary world, placing it at the cutting edge of every new cultural development.

“London’s current cultural success is not down to my administration but I strongly believe my policies nurtured an environment in which this success has flourished.”

The Mayor argued his policies had generated the character of the city “within which ideas and creativity can develop”.

He added” “It also means investing in culture and the cultural infrastructure, and spreading these facilities across the city to all our citizens.

“I believe a strong and dynamic culture is vital to the quality of life of all Londoners and the future economic success of the city.”

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