On Tuesday afternoon I was at Arts Council England in London for a meeting of the Arts Nation External Advisory Group. In our first meeting since the Comprehensive Spending Review we looked at the implications of funding cuts on ACE’s public engagement work, the progress of the Arts Nation pilot projects and the ambitions to increase and widen engagement in the arts within ACE’s new 10-year strategy ‘Achieving Great Art for Everyone’. The External Advisory Group has proved very valuable in bringing together a number of ACE’s regular funded organisations and encouraging us to look at how we might work more closely together to promote engagement in the arts.
Filed under: meetings | Tags: arts, England, Europe, OTS, UK, volarts, volunteering
On Monday afternoon I was at the Cabinet Office for my first meeting as a member of the European Year of Volunteering 2011 Working Group. The Office for Civil Society (OCS) is the national co-ordinating body for the European Year of Volunteering 2011 and the Working Group is overseeing the OCS work programme for the year in England. The four priorities for the year are:
- Encourage and enable individuals to make a contribution within their communities and help solve social issues by volunteering.
- Promote good practice within the private, public and voluntary and community sector in relation to the development of effective employer supported volunteering (ESV) programmes.
- Identify and share good practice and resources relating to effective volunteer management.
- Promote good practice in opening the doors to volunteering opportunities to those traditionally less likely to volunteer (e.g. disabled people, those from minority ethnic backgrounds, the unemployed etc.).
OCS plans to address the first of these priorities through five themes (alongside specific activities relating to the other three priorities). These themes are:
- Young people and children
- Culture and the arts
- Health and social care
Each theme will be the subject of a two-month ‘spotlight’ period within the year: culture and the arts is currently scheduled to be the focus for September and October 2011. At Monday’s meeting we discussed the process by which volunteer-involving organisations in England (including voluntary arts groups) will be able to ‘badge’ their activities as part of the European Year of Volunteering 2011. We also looked in detail at the arrangements for the European Commission’s ‘tour’ event which will visit London at the beginning of June 2011. This will be an opportunity to raise public awareness about volunteering (and the year).
Filed under: meetings | Tags: arts, DCMS, politics, research, UK, volarts, volunteering
On Monday I was in London for my regular meeting with Louise de Winter at the National Campaign for the Arts. We compared notes on the recent meetings we had both had with the Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey. We also discussed the work we are doing to explore the role of the arts within The Big Society, talked about volunteering in the arts, the development of a national ‘arts index’ and the ‘I Value the Arts’ campaign.
Filed under: meetings | Tags: ace, arts, England, OTS, volarts, volunteering
I was back in London on Friday to chair a meeting about volunteering in the arts. It was great, after many years of trying, to finally get Arts Council England officers round a table with representatives of volunteering infrastructure organisations. Arts organisations use huge numbers of volunteers but hardly ever seem to engage with local volunteer centres, the national volunteering database or the vast resources of advice and best practice on volunteering. Joining officers from the Participation & Engagement, Arts Nation and London 2012 teams at ACE were representatives from Volunteering England, YouthNet, the Office for Civil Society and Tom Andrews from People United – a fascinating participative arts organisation based in Canterbury which Tom describes as a creative laboratory investigating empathy and group behaviour through the arts. It was an incredibly interesting discussion which identified a significant number of opportunities for arts organisations in relation to volunteering and concluded that ACE could play a vital role in connecting arts organisations to the volunteering infrastructure.
Later on Thursday morning Mary and I met Gary Copitch from People’s Voice Media – one of the partners in our Up for Arts project in Liverpool earlier this year. People’s Voice Media specialises in developing and training volunteer community reporters to gather and disseminate stories from their communities using social media. We discussed several possible joint projects and agreed the details of a pilot Big Society programme of activity which we hope to launch early in the New Year.