Cultural Playing Field

DCMS Opportunity and Excellence Programme Board meeting. by Robin Simpson
April 30, 2010, 3:43 pm
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I was in London on Thursday to take part in the Department for Culture Media and Sport Opportunity and Excellence Programme Board meeting. The Programme Board oversees initiatives to develop excellence and participation across all of the DCMS sectors, including sport, libraries, museums, galleries and the arts. We heard a presentation from the Evidence and Analysis Unit exploring the link between participation and community cohesion which suggested that, although there will always be exceptions, the two are strongly related. We also looked at key messages and future direction in relation to participation, focussing on where participation fits with the emerging social policy priority themes.

Robin Simpson.


Quilters’ meeting at LOCOG by Robin Simpson
April 23, 2010, 8:16 am
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On Thursday I was at the headquarters of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) at Canary Wharf in London for a meeting about two quilting projects inspired by London 2012. This was a meeting I had brokered to bring together the organisers of ‘Quilts for London’ and ‘Gift of Quilts’ with representatives of the LOCOG Culture Team to resolve some communication problems and confusion about the nature of the two projects and their potential for formal recognition. ‘Gift of Quilts’ is working to create a quilt to be given to every country competing in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Schools groups, scouts and guides, church groups, U3A groups and many others across the country are already working on these quilts. ‘Quilts for London’ is planning to create a pennant for each athlete competing in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games (about 14,000 pennants in total!) and is working with lace-makers, braiders, wood-turners as well as quilters across the UK. Both projects are supported by the Quilters’ Guild of The British Isles and Marilyn Lovett joined us on Thursday to represent the Guild. Francesca Canty, UK Cultural Programme Advisor at LOCOG, chaired the meeting and explained how both projects might be able to achieve the Inspire Mark. We were also joined by the LOCOG Creative Programmers for the East and South East regions (in which these two national quilting projects are based), Liz Hughes and Caterina Loriggio. It was a very positive meeting and both projects are now going to submit Inspire Mark applications. It is always so much easier to resolve difficulties and misunderstandings face-to-face and I’m very grateful to Francesca, Liz and Caterina for taking the time to meet us, listen to the details and concerns of the two projects and give clear advice on the best way forward.

Robin Simpson.

Community Media Association Arts Project by Robin Simpson
April 23, 2010, 7:45 am
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I was at the Community Media Association in Sheffield on Wednesday to chair a meeting of the CMA Arts Project steering group. We discussed the Yorkshire Stakeholder Meeting we held in Dewsbury in March and plans for the other eight regional stakeholder meetings. We also talked about seeking funding for the planned series of regional roadshows in autumn 2010 which will provide opportunities for voluntary arts groups and other arts organisations to meet local community media organisations in their area.

Robin Simpson.

Implementing the Manifesto for Participation in the Arts & Crafts by Robin Simpson
April 23, 2010, 7:40 am
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On Tuesday afternoon I chaired a meeting of the Participation Manifesto Development Group. This was our first meeting since we formally launched the manifesto at the NALGAO Conference last October. More than 240 organisations and individuals have now joined the website to support the manifesto and continue the debate about how to increase participation in the arts. The level of interest and the range of types of organisation signing up to the website has been very encouraging but we agreed we need to do more to encourage the kind of debate and sharing of experience about arts participation that we hoped to create. The Participation Manifesto Development Group is also hoping to run an annual conference on arts participation to bring together the broad range of organisations involved in the development of the manifesto to continue to look at how we can work together to increase arts participation. We decided to plan the first of these conferences to take place in November 2010.

Robin Simpson.