Director appointed for Reading Year of Culture 2016

Reading UK CIC, Reading Cultural Partnership and the Local Strategic Partnership are MarkPrescott Reading YoC2016 webdelighted to announce the appointment of Mark Prescott as Creative Director of Reading Year of Culture 2016.

Reading Year of Culture 2016 is set to be a celebration of the wonderful range of arts, heritage and cultural activities and organisations that exist in Reading, along with bringing a range of new artists, shows and experiences to Reading. The year-long festivities will provide opportunities for people in Reading to take part in, and enjoy Reading’s rich cultural scene, while the Year of Culture will also shine a light on what Reading has to offer to a wider audience, supporting economic development objectives for Reading and helping showcase Reading as a fantastic place in which to work, live, invest and play.

Mark Prescott is a hugely experienced arts administrator and cultural programmer with over 15 years’ experience devising and delivering major cultural and artistic programmes. He is a former Head of Cultural Campaigns in the Mayor of London’s office where he brought high profile international festivals and projects to the Capital.

His recent projects have ranged from curating a major international festival in Northern Ireland, to delivering an arts and learning programme for Letchworth Garden City and advising the City of Peterborough on a new three-year artistic programme and audience development strategy. Mark is a Clore Leadership Scheme Fellow.

Mark will be working with Reading’s vibrant arts and cultural sector  to help them maximise opportunities in 2016 as part of a wide-ranging programme for the Year of Culture, which will also see a range of new artists and cultural organisations bring their work to the town.

Mark Prescott said: “I am delighted to have been appointed to lead Reading’s Year of Culture and am looking forward to working with all of Reading’s fantastic arts and cultural groups whose talent and work will underpin the year. My ambition for Reading’s Year of Culture is to provide Reading residents with opportunities to enjoy and take part in a celebration of the arts and culture of the highest quality, one which sets Reading apart. Our legacy should be one which sees more people involved in the arts in Reading, helps sustain our artists’ futures and makes a name for Reading as a cultural destination way beyond the Borough boundaries.”

Reading Year of Culture 2016 has been developed through the enthusiasm and energy of many of Reading’s arts and cultural groups. The project has been led by the Local Strategic Partnership, whose membership includes the University of Reading, Reading Borough Council and Reading Voluntary Action, with backing from Reading UK CIC and seed funding from Reading Borough Council through Reading Cultural Partnership.  A number of artist-led workshops and events have already developed initial plans and activities for 2016.  The seed funding of £48,800 from

Reading Cultural Partnership will support the further development and co-ordination of an artistic programme for 2016 through the appointment of Mark Prescott.

Cllr Sarah Hacker, Chair of the Arts Forum said: “The Council is delighted to have facilitated this appointment through its leadership of the Cultural Partnership. We look forward to continuing our work with a wide range of partners and local communities to make the Year of Culture a huge success for Reading and its residents."

Nigel Horton-Baker, Reading UK CIC, said: “We’d like to welcome Mark to Reading- the business and cultural capital of the Thames Valley. Our vibrant arts scene sometimes get overlooked but it plays a vital part in helping make Reading a great place to live and work. Reading is a great cultural town and Reading Year of Culture is the perfect opportunity to shout this from the roof tops.”

Reading’s art and cultural groups are already planning their activity for the Year of Culture. Mark Prescott will be working with them over the next few months to help co-ordinate and promote these events and investigate funding opportunities to bring more cultural investment into the town - as well as programming a range of additional events from national and internationally renowned artists.

More details of the full programme will be announced later in the year.



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