Culture MK

The 'Octo' - Figure of Eight Infinity Sculpture - Central Milton Keynes
The 'Octo' - Figure of Eight Infinity Sculpture - Central Milton Keynes  ©RS PhotographyMK

Below are details of some of the major projects, programmes and commissions currently being developed and delivered by the Culture Team. If you would like to find out more or have any questions please email us at

You can also follow us at on Twitter and Facebook.

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Free online celebration for the 40th anniversary of Homeworld

Homeworld photo of an unusual house
Homeworld - © Andy Stagg

Between 4-16 May, Living Archive MK, Pooleyville and MK Council are supporting the delivery of an online programme of talks, screenings, events and activities celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Homeworld ‘81 - a significant and nationally important Housing Expo. Commissioned by Milton Keynes Development Corporation, Homeworld ’81 firmly established Milton Keynes as a leader in innovative, sustainable housing design.

For more information please see the programme details.

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Pedalling Culture

Promoting the wealth of culture within Milton Keynes is at the heart of Pedalling Culture. Supported by Arts Council England’s Cultural Destination Fund, Pedalling Culture is a partnership initiative uniting sustainable transport initiatives with the city’s cultural offer to secure a lasting legacy. From artist commissioned projects and new Cultural Routes designed to ‘Reclaim the Redways’ - to the installation of e-charge points installed at cultural venues, Pedalling Culture’s mission is to ensure that citizens and visitors alike benefit from everything cultural and sustainable that MK has to offer. For the latest see the Pedalling Culture website.

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Milton Keynes: 'A Festival of Creative Urban Living?'

Milton Keynes is internationally renowned as a designed city and one of the most successful new towns ever created.  People love to live here as it is very green, combining extensive tree-lined boulevards and vistas with modernist architecture, urban spaces and a radically segregated traffic system. MK also has a unique composite heritage identity, through the integration of existing towns and villages into the overall design. 

Building in MK started in 1968 and continues into the present day. MK is one of the UK’s fastest growing cities (population is expected to exceed 300,000 by 2027) and to keep it successful the Festival of Creative Urban Living is the cultural response to enabling people help to plan its future.

A Festival of Creative Urban Living Tower construction
Afcul Tower

From 26th September – 13th October 2019, Central Milton Keynes hosted the first ever ‘A Festival of Creative Urban Living’; bringing together with Lead Architects Raumlabor from Berlin artists, architects, designers, urban planners, thinkers, creatives and many others to deliver a free programme of exhibitions, events, creative workshops, performances and much more.

The programme took place in a temporary campus of remarkable and playful buildings and structures.

Model from the Festival of Creative Urban Living
Festival of Creative Urban Living

Visitors including local schools and communities enjoyed and experienced Central MK in an entirely different way and thought about what it might become and look like in the future! 

The Festival’s evaluation concluded that for a first event it had been a success, creating a new way to consult on Milton Keynes’ future.  Plans are being made for a second festival in 2021 to continue this approach and to support the Future Growth and Regeneration Agenda further.

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New Town Heritage Explorers

Milton Keynes Council and Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre (MKCDC) have secured National Lottery Heritage Fund investment thanks to National Lottery players, for a pioneering New Town Heritage Explorers project in Milton Keynes.  As a significant part of a wider programme focussed on Milton Keynes New Town design heritage USP, this project will build and support a step change in active learning, volunteering, flagship events, online delivery and public programme activities focussed on our New Town heritage. 

New Town Heritage MK participants
Heritage MK participants

The project will:

Heritage MK participants viewing photos
Heritage MK participants
  1. Animate and profile the New Town Heritage Register a new local list detailing the heritage character and contemporary value of Milton Keynes’ Design City heritage, delivering a model for celebrating and safeguarding modernist heritage for other New Towns across the UK and Europe;
  2. Develop existing, new and online audiences through a public programme of events and volunteering activities arising from the development of a New Town Heritage Toolkit, which will profile and characterise the unique design heritage of ‘MK’; 
  3. Engage young people in exploration of new Town Heritage in key MK Regeneration areas and embed skills and knowledge that allows them to take part in decisions about their future – developing the next generation of heritage volunteers and civic guardians;
  4. Support development of our MK Heritage Open Days programme and support the city’s new A Festival of Creative Urban Living to showcase this Design City heritage internationally.

The online version – MK Explorers is also testing how people access, learn and contribute virtually to their new town heritage.  For more information on the project and its latest activities please check the project MK Explorers Website, the MK Explorers Twitter and YouTube pages.

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MK Skate

Milton Keynes has played a seminal role in the development of the UK skateboarding culture. During the 1980s and '90s it was the skateboarding capital of the UK and is still the lead city for street skating.

It is an important story which until this project remained unrecorded and largely unknown outside of the skate community. The design and architecture of the city is integral to the story, as such it is a perfect example of how new towns build their own cultures, communities and histories.

Installing the skate underpass
Installing the skate underpass

With National Lottery Heritage Fund investment and thanks to National Lottery players, the project team has been working with the community of local skateboarders, both veterans and newbies, to capture and tell this story through sharing memories, oral history, film and photography and through the exploration and archiving of personal collections.

It has seen an exhibition within the Shopping Centre (now available online) and will lead to the creation of a city centre trail and a book,as well as a permanent record stored for future generations in the city's archive.

The project is developing a better understanding of this heritage story, engenders pride of place, strengthens intergenerational community ties, and build bridges between the skaters and the wider community.

More information on activities and events can be found on the project MK Skate Project website.

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Public Art Commissions

Over the last 50 years, Milton Keynes has developed an excellent reputation for Public Art development, with over 220 Public Artworks across the city. The Culture Team within Milton Keynes Council supports the commissioning of new pieces and the care and conservation of existing works.   

All future Public Art Commission opportunities are openly advertised, and Milton Keynes Council supports developers to meet their % for art Section 106 obligations [legal requirement for creating new developments] for Public Art.

For more please see the public art page.

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Strategic medium- to long-term initiatives:

Equality and Diversity Action Plan

Milton Keynes is one of the most diverse cities in the UK, with over 40% of our school children speaking English as a second language. We know that this rich diversity is not reflected in our cultural offer or our audiences.

Following a robust and in-depth period of research, which will identify gaps in provision and challenges to participation, findings will then inform the delivery of evidence-based interventions which will address these challenges.

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Audience Participation

Floating Cinema Great Linford
Floating Cinema at Great Linford

Following on from a snap-shot audience participation survey in 2018 and as part of implementing the findings of the equality and diversity inclusion plan, the Culture team will commission a far-reaching, in-depth analysis of cultural audience participation across the city. This will combine with an in-depth survey of MK’s visitor economy. This data will provide us with the tools to target and reach communities who are currently not engaged.

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Cultural Infrastructure Plan

As the city grows, our cultural infrastructure will need to grow. In order to map out current provision and any gaps, the Culture team will commission an infrastructure plan, setting out a clear and comprehensive strategy for cultural infrastructure growth and investment over a 10-year period.

This will form Culture MK’s response to the MK Futures 2050 Strategy and to the updated Local Plan, Plan: MK.

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Last Updated: 3 May 2022