Arts Taunton’s first free public conference – Culture Pays! –  was held on the 8th of July 2015.


Leading figures from business, local government and the arts gathered to share their experiences of building a town that thrives through development of the arts.

Keynote speakers included Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chairman of Arts Council England, and Dr Harry Brünjes, Chairman of English National Opera.

Case histories of cultural regeneration projects in Norwich and Newcastle Gateshead were  presented by Michael Loveday, former CEO of Heritage Economic & Regeneration Trust and Anna Pepperall, Public Art Curator for Gateshead Council.

Kit Chapman, Chairman of ArtsTaunton said:

“The centre of Taunton, from the railway station through to Firepool, the River Tone and Coal Orchard, is poised for a massive redevelopment programme. We have a golden opportunity here, indeed a unique once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do something spectacular with our town and put it on the map.

“The purpose of the conference was to demonstrate to the decision-makers of Taunton and Somerset that it can be done here”.