I am incredibly lucky that my role gives me chance to see and get involved with so much of the great culture on offer in York.

At Visit York’s Tourism Conference this spring, the guest speaker was Martin Green who shared his experience of leading the delivery of the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest.

Liverpool was chosen to host the event because strong cultural infrastructure was already in place, together with people on the ground who were engaged and ready to support it.

Martin’s closing message to us was striking. For culture to thrive in a city, he said, there had to be belief in the importance of culture and creativity and, unsurprisingly, the will to resource it.

It is well known that culture makes places. Culture cements communities and is now the number one reason why people choose to live where they do.

Cultural participation builds social cohesion, which in turn generates confidence and economic growth and so the cycle perpetuates.

Coming to York, I have been dazzled by the breadth of cultural offerings and opportunities and the broad array of groups, partnerships and communities supporting it.

In February I attended A Song for Ella Grey - a mesmerising Pilot Theatre production in partnership with York Theatre Royal and Northern Stage.

READ MORE: York story challenge: write about city culture - in SIX WORDS

Pilot Theatre’s raison d’être is to create unforgettable theatre for younger audiences. Looking at the audience on opening night this was certainly the case (though I enjoyed it too!).

On the same night as I walked to the Theatre Royal, I passed Colour and Light at York Art Gallery, York BID’s annual light display which was working to entice people into the city centre on a cold, dark evening.

In March I threw myself into the York Literature Festival which Explore supports every year.

I saw Rafael Behr, Steve Richards and Natalie Haynes. I also treated myself to thirty minutes away from the desk to watch the National Centre for Early Music’s Baroque Around the Books performance by Flutes & Frets at our very own Acomb Explore Centre – they had been to the libraries in Tang Hall and Clifton earlier that week.

Those performances were really special because anyone visiting the library could just fall into the experience.

I ended the month at the Yorkshire Museum for their exhibition Star Carr: Life After The Ice which was opened by Ray Mears and is yet another example of the wide-ranging, varied and high-quality cultural offering in York.

There is another side to all this amazing culture which is less obvious to the outside observer.

In February, I attended a Clore Leadership and Arts Council England assembly in Leeds. This was put together by cultural leaders for cultural leaders, and gave us chance to share, navigate and discuss practical solutions for the challenges we are all facing.

These events always humble me - the cultural world is so optimistic, determined and dedicated to seeking solutions to society’s big issues like social justice, equality and diversity and climate change.

But the cultural sector is also vulnerable and at risk. All the people in that room in were grappling with an environment in which funding is being eroded, with local authorities from Birmingham to Nottingham to Suffolk having to make incredibly difficult choices about where they spend money, leading to big cuts in their support for culture.

With all of this in mind, I have been talking to my team at Explore about the different ways we can tell our stories to highlight the difference that we make and open up a broader discussion about why libraries matter.

Ernest Hemingway once won a bet by writing the six-word story: “For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.”

I asked my team to come up with their own six-word stories and was brought to tears by the responses I received.

The image accompanying this article is by Laura from our Explore Café team and her story: ‘Coffee conversation: life shared over counter’ beautifully demonstrates the relationship we can have with our customers.

Other favourites of mine are: ‘Excited Voices. Little Hands. Contented Reading’ and ‘Endless possibilities, found at the Library’.

I believe all of us value the culture in our lives, whatever form it takes. None of us wants to live in a society where these precious experiences are lost.

I would like to challenge you to find your six-word story to talk about what culture means to you and to share it with me. And, if you have the opportunity, please support your favourite cultural places and organisations in any way you can!

Jenny Layfield is chief executive of Explore York Libraries and Archives. Email your six-word story to: jenny.layfield@exploreyork.org.uk