CDF Network

Key Learning

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The Cultural Development Fund (CDF) Network is the national collective that shares best practice and generates knowledge to capture and celebrate the success of the DCMS CDF investment.  By creating the space to nourish, innovate and re-energise for all of the trailblazing CDF projects, we influence, communicate, learn, celebrate, drive further investment and secure the legacy of the Cultural Development Fund. 

The CDF Network acts as a forum to support the evaluation of the CDF and the link between cultural investment and local growth. The CDF is a prime opportunity to build the evidence base around culture’s impact. Helping to build and amplify the evidence base at a national and local level – and to share this with the wider creative and cultural sector – is an important component of this. 

Read more about the CDF Network as one of the national case studies selected by the Local Government Association (LGA) as part of its Commission on Culture and Local Government.

CDF Round One

Announced by DCMS as part of the Creative Industries Sector Deal to help the country’s world-leading cultural and creative industries thrive, the five first round CDF locations across England include Creative Estuary, Grimsby, Plymouth, Wakefield and Worcester.  Each received a share of £20m to invest in local culture, heritage and creative industries and help drive economic growth. 

CDF Round Two

The second round of CDF projects, announced in March 2022, aims to further widen access to arts and culture in areas with historically low levels of cultural engagement and boost economic growth. Seven additional regional organisations were added to the CDF Network, with projects in Barnsley, Berwick, Isle of Wight, Middlesbrough, Rochdale, Stockport and Torbay.

CDF Round Three

Round three of CDF aims to unlock local growth and productivity, increase access to creativity and culture and regenerate communities through capital investment in transformative place-based creative and cultural initiatives. Eight additional CDF projects have now joined the CDF Network, in places including Barnstaple, Basildon, Bradford, East Lindsey, Medway, Morecambe, Stoke-on-Trent and Walsall.


The Cultural Development Fund (CDF) Network is aimed at connecting practitioners, project managers, directors, researchers, stakeholders and policymakers to develop their knowledge and share the learning from the CDF projects, enabling those within wider networks to benefit from this collaborative approach. 

The Cultural Development Fund (CDF) Network will: 

  • Influence by developing a network of professionals sharing knowledge and experience to understand best practice in CDF evaluation
  • Communicate a shared understanding of the CDF and how evaluations can be used to effectively demonstrate the economic impacts of the fund
  • Learn by engaging with each other in ongoing reflection on evaluation skills and areas for development, including training, guidance and advice
  • Celebrate by developing collaborative activities to promote and implement good practice in evaluation
  • Drive further investment by improving understanding of the link between cultural investment and economic growth
  • Secure the legacy of the CDF by considering how the learning from CDF evaluation can be shared to improve the use of evaluation within the wider sector.

Partnerships and Contact

The CDF Network is managed by Five10Twelve on behalf of Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Arts Council England. For more information or to discuss how you can engage with the CDF Peer Learning Network, please contact

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