Cultural Playing Field


National Association of Youth Theatres ‘Excellence and Inclusion Scheme’ by Robin Simpson
February 26, 2010, 8:55 am
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I was at Symphony Hall in Birmingham on Monday for the launch of the National Association of Youth Theatres ‘Excellence and Inclusion Scheme’ (EIS). EIS is two self assessment toolkits for youth theatres created by Professor Jonothan Neelands and Juliet Raysnford through a two-year collaborative and consultative process. NAYT Chief Executive, Jill Adamson, claims they are “without doubt the most useful documents ever to have been produced specifically for the youth theatre sector”. She said “the EIS allows us to take huge steps towards achieving our goal of providing high quality, inclusive accessible youth theatre for ALL young people, regardless of where they choose to access the provision”. NAYT has created 12 new partnerships, starting in April, with 9 regional theatres and 3 national training providers who will be collaborating with NAYT to bring about regular regional activity and supporting networks. Helping to launch the EIS scheme on Monday, Royal Shakespeare Company Artistic Director Michael Boyd said “I learned my trade in you theatre: I learned to be brave and to realise concretely the social value of theatre … When a young person is facing the contradiction between being ‘me’ and the grim necessity of fitting in, theatre is a genius at solving that paradox.”

Robin Simpson.

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The Learning Revolution Stakeholder Communications Group by Robin Simpson
February 19, 2010, 5:09 pm
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On Friday afternoon I was at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills for a meeting of The Learning Revolution Stakeholder Communications Group where we heard presentations from Paul Miller of The School of Everything and Claire Fieldsend from the Central Office of Information on the final results from the recent Learning Revolution communications survey, as well as updates on the latest projects and a PR activity round-up. The Learning Revolution activities formally finish at the end of March but there is much enthusiasm among the members of the Communications Group to continue to work collectively to promote informal adult learning.

Robin Simpson.



Voluntary cultural sector alliance meeting by Robin Simpson
February 19, 2010, 5:08 pm
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I was in London again on Friday for my regular voluntary cultural sector alliance meeting with Heritage Link, the Central Council for Physical Recreation (CCPR) and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO). As usual we covered a vast range of topics including CCPR’s Facilities Inquiry – an independent inquiry into built and natural sports facilities in the UK (see: http://www.facilitiesinquiry.org.uk) – Heritage Link’s rebranding (at the instigation of new Chair, Lloyd Grossman) as ‘The Heritage Alliance’, the progress of NCVO’s Funding Commission and the wide range of activities we are all undertaking in relation to the London 2012 legacy.

Robin Simpson.



Arts participation and social cohesion by Robin Simpson
February 19, 2010, 5:06 pm
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On Thursday I was at the Department of Communities and Local Government in London for a further meeting with June Mason to discuss the cross-departmental meeting we are organising in March to look at community choirs as an example of a wider picture of arts participation and social cohesion. We have invited representatives of a range of Government departments, Arts Council England and several music organisations to take part in the meeting and we have had a very good response. On Thursday we agreed the agenda and final details for the meeting which should be a good opportunity to try to link together some of our work across a variety of areas.

Robin Simpson.



Ratiu Romania Foundation by Robin Simpson
February 19, 2010, 5:04 pm
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Last Friday I was at the Romanian Cultural Centre in London to meet Cosmin Catana and Ouana Ionita from the Ratiu Romania Foundation. The Foundation is running a “Social Engagement through Art” platform with the aim of improving social, economic and individual aspects of life in the 4th District of Bucharest. They plan to establish a Centre for Voluntary Arts in Bucharest that will act as a resource centre for organisations using an artistic approach in social intervention projects. Cosmin and Ouana were in the UK to gather ideas and advice from organisations doing similar work here.

Robin Simpson.



Amateur Arts Partnership Development Programme by Robin Simpson
February 17, 2010, 5:08 pm
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On Monday I was in London for a meeting of the Arts Council England ‘Amateur Arts Partnership Development Programme’ steering group. This group, which includes representatives of ACE, DCMS, Voluntary Arts and the Local Government Association, is following up the recommendations and conclusions of the DCMS/ACE ‘Our Creative Talent’ research into the voluntary and amateur arts in England. In a packed agenda we discussed the 2010 programme of ACE Amateur Arts Forum meetings, involving the voluntary arts sector in the ACE ‘Great Art for Everyone’ consultation, the updating of the DCMS ‘Guide to Arts Funding’, opportunities for the voluntary arts sector in relation to the UK City of Culture and much more. The steering group is a great way of linking together a wide range of issues and initiatives and ensuring that the voluntary arts are properly considered and involved.

Robin Simpson.



Community Media Association Arts Project steering group by Robin Simpson
February 12, 2010, 11:18 am
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I was in Sheffield on Thursday to attend a meeting of the Community Media Association Arts Project steering group where we agreed the details of the first of 9 regional stakeholder meetings which will take place in Dewsbury on 5 March. These meetings will bring together arts policymakers and funders, including local authority arts development officers, to discuss the role of community media organisations in supporting and encouraging local arts participation. They will be followed later this year by a series of 9 regional roadshows which will provide opportunities for voluntary arts groups to meet local community media organisations to discuss how they might collaborate.

Robin Simpson.