Cultural Playing Field

Participation Manifesto development group meeting by Robin Simpson
July 8, 2010, 4:47 pm
Filed under: meetings | Tags: , , ,

On Wednesday afternoon Mary and I were at the headquarters of Mencap in London for a meeting of the Arts Participation Manifesto development group, at which we welcomed David Brownlee, Chief Executive of Audiences UK, who has joined the development group. In a wide-ranging, passionate and intense discussion, we discussed whether, in the current financial and political climate, the focus of the group’s work should now be about explaining the value of arts participation and helping those involved in providing opportunities to participate to argue for continued support. But we were also keen not to lose sight of the original motivation for developing the Manifesto, which was about encouraging those providers of arts participation opportunities to work with each other to increase participation, particularly amongst those sections of the population who are under-represented in terms of arts participation. In the end we agreed that these two are not mutually exclusive: reduced support for participation is likely to increasingly skew the profile of arts participants away from those under-represented groups. We came up with a host of ideas for how the Participation Manifesto – and the broad coalition of providers of participation opportunities it represents – might be able to help to address these issues. We agreed to develop a detailed action plan for the Manifesto development group to guide our work over the coming year.

Robin Simpson.


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