Reader’s letter: what’s happened to all the City of Culture data?

Reader’s letter: what’s happened to all the City of Culture data?

I’d like to ask what use will be made of the wealth of data accumulated during the City of Culture bid. There surely has to be an incredible amount of facts, figures, qualitative as well as quantitative information, most of which I’d like to think can be brought to bear to benefit city residents.

 We didn’t win the bid, although the process opened up trains of thought and creative ideas that mustn’t be let wither away into dust in the dark.

 In the face of one of the worst social crises since the 1970’s people need help and guidance to discover meaningful ways to creatively interact and develop their non-work skills.

 It took me two attempts under FOI requests to find out how much money was invested into the bid. Answer: it was a small fortune.

 It took me several goes to then find out where all the bidding process data went to, who stores it, who owns it, how can we access it, and what is the plan for it. The answer, when it came, was unsurprisingly opaque and failed to address my question.

 Southampton ratepayers footed the bill for most of the bid. It’s ours, surely? Why isn’t this a more widely discussed topic? Is there a councillor who can walk us through the mire and help get us answers.

 Transparency is a wonderful thing in politics. But it’s much rarer than it ought to be.


 Ralph White

Southampton resident


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