Cllr Janet Emsley, a former drama teacher who taught in the Borough is an excellent advocate for the arts in Rochdale and Greater Manchester.
Janet personally fought for the inclusion of Culture in her Neighbourhood and Communities portfolio and led the development of a brand new Rochdale Borough Culture Network as Chair. She rigorously supported the transformation of a formerly sports focussed Sports & Culture Trust including ring-fencing key arts funding & making the case for creative interventions being central to wellbeing; a local cultural economy and introducing an annual culture awards ceremony providing a platform to share creative achievements, particularly for under represented children and young people.
All of this key activity ensures that culture is much higher on the agenda within the Local Authority and Greater Manchester through Janet’s role as Vice Chair of the GMCA arts funding committee.
Rochdale is moving towards a cultural renaissance as a result of Janet’s motivation and leadership with a strong network of creative and education and LA professionals joining together for the first time and stepping up to make the case for collaborative working, co-commissioning, increased arts funding, consortia funding applications and arts & culture’s pivotal role in cultural education, wellbeing, community cohesion and place making.
Janet is a total powerhouse. We suspect she either has a twin sister or a Duracell Bunny switch as she attends EVERY cultural event across the four townships of the Borough and is a prolific tweeter helping spread the news of creativity being alive and well and living in Rochdale!
Good news stories from Rochdale are extremely rare in the press but they do exist in reality, stories of personal achievement through the arts, young people realising their creative potential, marginalised communities and cultures sharing memorable and emotionally resonant arts engagement experiences that demonstrate we are much more alike than we are different. Councillor Janet Emsley is one of the key people that make these good news stories happen in our much maligned town.
What the judges had to say:
“Janet has championed a wide range of activities in a council that has had some significant challenges.” Local Government Association