Luton Borough Council – Councillor Rachel Hopkins

Rachel Hopkins (formerly Luton Borough Council) shortlisted for Best Arts Champion - Councillor in the 2020 Hearts for the Arts Awards


Rachel campaigned for the council to recognise and champion the role of the arts in Luton’s economic and social development. As the portfolio holder for the commissioned events via public health, she advocated for the strategy and for its inclusion in her portfolio. She campaigned for the role that the arts can play in the council’s ambitions to eradicate poverty by 2040. Cllr Hopkins has worked her entire career towards achieving an equal society in Luton. Less than two years ago the council adopted its first arts strategy in ten years. 

Rachel has made significant change to Luton over the past ten years, particularly in the sectors of public health, physical activity, arts & culture and education. The biggest change has been how she has influenced people to think innovatively about true equality and accessibility for all. It would be easy for politicians to always support the most popular opinions; however she understands that sometimes difficult decisions have to be made in order to make significant change. 

She was key in influencing members and senior officers to understand the intersection of arts and sport and to support programmes that use innovation to make real change. She is well-loved, well-liked and incredibly inspirational. 

What the judges said:

“Cllr Hopkins has made huge strides with a strategy for the Borough that has been made with very little historical agenda to work from. By embarking in the pilot year of culture shows a commitment to arts in the future.”

What is so remarkable about Cllr Hopkin’s work is her ability to spot synergies and opportunities across briefs. That’s the very essence of partnership working – shouting loud for culture in unusual places.”

Photo credit: Greta Zabulyte