Cultural Playing Field

Arts Participation and Social Cohesion by Robin Simpson
March 18, 2010, 11:58 am
Filed under: meetings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

On Tuesday afternoon I chaired a seminar on ‘Arts Participation and Social Cohesion’ at the Department of Communities and Local Government in London. We had gathered representatives of four Government departments (DCMS, DCSF, BIS and CLG) as well as officers from Arts Council England, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, English National Opera, the Legacy Trust UK and a range of music organisations for what was a fascinating discussion about the role that the arts can play in community development work. We heard about CLG’s interest in community choirs as a mechanism for meaningful interaction. Making Music and SoundSense told us about ‘Vocality’ – their collaborative project to develop 60 community choirs over the next 3 years. We also discussed the synergy with the informal adult learning work going on at BIS through The Learning Revolution, including the MLA’s work to open up spaces for informal learning activities, as well as possible links between current initiatives being run by ACE, the Legacy Trust and DCSF. One recurring theme was the need to avoid pigeon-holing activities as either ‘arts’ or ‘community engagement’ and to look at bringing together organisations with relevant expertise from each of these angles.

Robin Simpson.

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