Cultural Playing Field

Arts Council England public engagement campaign by Robin Simpson
August 28, 2009, 12:47 pm
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Also on Thursday I met Clara Goldsmith at Arts Council England to hear the latest about the Arts Council’s planned public engagement campaign, which is due to launched in April 2010. Clara confirmed that the campaign is definitely still about increasing both audiences and participation. We talked about online mechanisms for signposting to arts participation opportunities and I suggested Clara contact the team at YouthNet who are developing an online channel for volunteering opportunities inspired by 2012. I also advised her to talk to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills about the informal learning portal proposed in the ‘Learning Revolution’ white paper. One significant development is that Clara is now planning a series of events in shopping centres around England next year – very much modelled on the Voluntary Arts England/Media Trust ‘Up for Arts’ festival at the Metro Centre, Gateshead, in 2007.  I was reassured and encouraged that the ACE public engagement campaign will provide exciting opportunities for voluntary arts groups to raise their profile and attract new members.

Robin Simpson.


Meeting Steve Skelton at the Local Government Association by Robin Simpson
August 28, 2009, 11:48 am
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I was back in London on Thursday to meet Steve Skelton at the Local Government Association. Steve is going to represent the LGA on the Arts Council England Amateur Arts Partnership Development Programme steering group. I briefed Steve on the background to ‘Our Creative Talent’ and the development of the Amateur Arts Partnership Development Programme which was established to follow-up the recommendations and conclusions of the 2008 research. We talked in particular about the role the LGA might be able to play in improving support and links from local authorities to voluntary arts groups.

Robin Simpson.

Visiting YouthNet by Robin Simpson
August 28, 2009, 11:25 am
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On Tuesday I was in London to meet Claire Easterman, Fiona Jamieson and Katie Jackson at YouthNet to talk about their project, funded by the Office of the Third Sector, to develop the national volunteering database (‘do-it’) to create a single place to bring together opportunities to participate inspired by 2012. There are three specific areas of focus for the project, one of which is culture and the arts. YouthNet plans to work with membership organisations to develop and advertise volunteering opportunities for people inspired by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. I wanted to check whether the project is still to include both formal volunteering opportunities and arts participation: YouthNet is still keen to realise this goal but, because of how the project has been funded, the main focus has to be on formal volunteering. Also, although there are hopes to link to databases in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the project will have to concentrate on opportunities in England. We talked about how to link the YouthNet project to the informal adult learning ‘portal’ being developed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the online aspects of Arts Council England’s forthcoming national campaign on arts participation – all three of which should provide voluntary arts groups with the opportunity to advertise for more members. YouthNet is keen to work with ACE and DBIS and I am optimistic that we will be able to achieve a solution that means voluntary arts groups only have to enter their details once.

Robin Simpson.