Cultural Playing Field

St Helens Arts Network by Robin Simpson
November 27, 2009, 7:38 am
Filed under: meetings | Tags: , , , , , ,

On Thursday I was in St Helens where Ian Brownbill, Director of Metal (the innovative, multi-disciplinary residency space in Liverpool for artists from the UK and overseas), and I were judging the Voluntary Arts Award nominations in the St Helens Council Cultural Awards. A variety of local voluntary arts organisations had been nominated for the award and we assessed them in relation to their achievements over the past year, quality, ambition and public profile. There were some very strong nominations but we found it surprisingly easy to agree on which stood out. The winners will be announced at a ceremony in February. Ian and I then attended a meeting of the St Helens Arts Network which brings together local arts professionals/ semi-professionals and voluntary arts groups. The idea of the network, which is organised by Owen Hutchings (St Helens Council’s Arts Engagement Officer), is that groups, artists and practitioners working together in St Helens can discuss projects, share good practice, share information, discuss marketing and talk about recruiting and maintaining membership etc. I talked about the history and work of Voluntary Arts and encouraged everyone to sign up for our free e-newsletter. There were about 20 people at the meeting including representatives of a drama group and a breakdance crew, a photographer and a visual artist, an artist working on activities for people with learning difficulties and someone running African drumming, Tai Chi and watercolour sessions for a group of older people, plus the council’s Dance Co-ordinator and the local Find Your Talent officer. It was a really interesting and varied group and is clearly providing some really useful networking opportunities.

Robin Simpson.


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