Cultural Playing Field


Informal adult learning and the BBC First Click campaign by Robin Simpson
August 20, 2010, 3:19 pm
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I was back in London on Friday for a meeting of the Informal Adult Learning Partner Communications Group at the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. We were joined by Karen Gregory and Kirsty Gaskell-Sinclair from BBC Learning to discuss the BBC ‘First Click’ campaign to encourage over 55s to learn how to use computers. We also looked at the new landing page on the LSIS Excellence Gateway dedicated to adult and community learning resources that the Department has commissioned. The landing page brings together a host of resources, combining those commissioned under The Learning Revolution White Paper with guidance from a range of other sources, to support adult and community learning in practice.

Robin Simpson.

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Paul Twivy and the Big Society Network by Robin Simpson
August 19, 2010, 3:29 pm
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On Monday afternoon I was at the Groucho Club in Soho to meet Paul Twivy from the Big Society Network. Paul’s background is in marketing, advertising and branding: he was involved in Comic Relief, helped to set up Time Bank and co-founded The Big Lunch. The Big Society Network is an independent organisation which intends to act as an umbrella for a variety of relationships between Government, business and civic society in order to encourage people to engage more with their communities. The Big Society Network’s flagship project is ‘Your Square Mile’ which will attempt to create ‘a union for citizens’ to encourage citizens ‘to be the change they want to see in the world via the square mile where they live and/or work’. I met Paul with representatives of Community Matters and the Central Council for Physical Recreation to explore how we might work with the Big Society Network on the proposed annual ‘Big Society Day’ and other initiatives and to emphasise the importance of local arts and sports groups to the notion of a ‘Big Society’.

Robin Simpson.



Meeting the Heritage Alliance and CCPR by Robin Simpson
August 13, 2010, 10:42 am
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On Friday I was in London for a regular meeting of my voluntary cultural sector alliance with the Central Council for Physical Recreation and the Heritage Alliance. Following the departure of Andrew Hanson from CCPR we welcomed the new Head of Policy, James MacDougall, to his first meeting with us. We spent some time comparing our draft responses to the Government consultation on changing the proportions of National Lottery funding given to the Lottery distributors. We also talked about Gift Aid and legacies and the 2011 European Year of Volunteering. I was interested to learn that CCPR has been asked, by the Sports Minister Hugh Robertson, to undertake a review of regulatory burdens affecting sports clubs: we agreed to identify particular areas of regulation that might be common to arts, sports and heritage groups.

Robin Simpson.



Catching up with Communities & Local Government by Robin Simpson
August 6, 2010, 11:32 am
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I was in London on Thursday to meet June Mason at the Department for Communities and Local Government. June is about to start a part-time secondment to the Big Society Network and we discussed a number of aspects of the Big Society agenda and the role the voluntary arts might be able to play. We talked about how to make connections between voluntary arts groups and other community organisations and discussed the ‘Your Square Mile’ project.

Robin Simpson.



Meeting the RSC Open Stages Producer by Robin Simpson
August 6, 2010, 11:25 am
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On Wednesday I was at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon to help with Ian Wainwright’s induction. Ian is the new ‘Open Stages Producer’, appointed to co-ordinate the ‘Open Stages’ pro-am strand of the 2012 World Shakespeare Festival that Voluntary Arts has been developing with the RSC. Ian was previously Director of Education at Bristol Old Vic and has fifteen years experience leading the education teams of regional theatres including the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough and the Watford Palace Theatre. He has also been a Board member of the National Association of Youth Theatres. Ian will be attached to the Open Stages project until its completion in December 2012. He will shortly be setting up a series of meetings with the main amateur theatre umbrella bodies to discuss the details of the Open Stages project.

Robin Simpson.



Catching up with the Office for Civil Society by Robin Simpson
August 3, 2010, 11:48 am
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On Monday morning I was at the Cabinet Office in London to see John Knights from the Office for Civil Society (formerly the Office of the Third Sector). John updated me on the work OCS is doing in relation to The Big Society: community organisers, the community first fund, the national citizen service and the Big Society Bank. We also talked about the European Year of Volunteering 2011 and possible links to Arts Council England ‘Arts Nation’ campaign.

Robin Simpson.