Cultural Playing Field


Meeting the DCMS Arts Team by Robin Simpson
November 12, 2010, 4:02 pm
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On Thursday morning Mary and I were at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in London to meet Nick Pontefract and Steve Darke from the DCMS Arts Team. We followed up several points raised in our recent meeting with the Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey, and agreed a number of actions.

Robin Simpson.



Voluntary cultural sector alliance meeting by Robin Simpson
November 5, 2010, 11:57 am
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I was in London again on Friday for a voluntary cultural sector alliance meeting with the Heritage Alliance, Central Council for Physical Recreation and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations. Among many other things we discussed the Big Society, the Cabinet Office consultation on voluntary and community sector infrastructure, the effects of the Comprehensive Spending Review, the Localism Bill, the Reducing Red Tape Taskforce and the review of the Charity Commission.

Robin Simpson.

 



Community Sector Coalition meeting by Robin Simpson
November 5, 2010, 11:46 am
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I was in London on Thursday for a meeting of the Community Sector Coalition. This was a major discussion about the future of the Coalition. We decided on priorities for the CSC’s work and took a radical look at the structure and funding of the Coalition. Ironically, at a time when the voice of the community sector and the role of small, grassroots, community groups seems more important than ever – particularly in relation to the Big Society agenda – the CSC, which brings together national organisations representing community groups, faces significant funding challenges. It was good to achieve some clarity about what the CSC should focus on, particularly if resources are limited. We also identified some alternative approaches that might give the Coalition a greater mandate and reach.

Robin Simpson.

 



Taking Part conference by Robin Simpson
November 5, 2010, 11:44 am
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Last Friday and Saturday I was in London to attend the Taking Part Conference (‘arts, culture and civil society’) at the Southbank Centre and Goldsmiths, University of London. This was a large scale conference looking at arts participation, community engagement and civil society and the organisers had taken a very creative approach to the structure of the event. Perhaps inevitably, the conference was dominated by concerns about funding (it should really have been called ‘arts, culture and the spending review’!). There was also an interesting tension between the debate about developing civil society by means of interventions in communities and the idea of supporting  communities to develop themselves. Nevertheless there were some fascinating presentations and it was good to meet some amazing community arts practitioners, including guests from the USA and Canada. It was also great to catch up with one of my illustrious predecessors, former VAN Director Peter Stark who now runs the Swallows Partnership in South Africa. I spoke on Saturday afternoon in a session on Active Citizenship and you can read my conference paper (“The role and potential of amateur arts groups in building an empowered, participative, fulfilled and healthy civil society”) on the Taking Part website at: http://www.gold.ac.uk/taking-part/contributions/

Robin Simpson.