Cultural Playing Field

Community Media Association Yorkshire Roadshow by Robin Simpson
January 28, 2011, 3:17 pm
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On Wednesday I was in Sheffield for the Community Media Association Yorkshire Roadshow. This was the third regional roadshow as part of the CMA’s Arts Project, funded by Arts Council England, to look at the role of community media organisations can play in relation to the arts as a “producer, platform and partner”. Among a range of presentations, we heard from Chorlton Arts Radio in Manchester – a community radio station established in a shopping precinct in Chorlton for the two weeks of the Chorlton Arts Festival in May 2010. The station organised 120 events over 11 days, including a live lunchtime radio play every day and 95 live acts performing in the shop-front studio. 400 people were involved in the station’s activities with 5,000 people listening online and 10,000 website hits over the two weeks of the festival. Local schoolchildren had their own radio shows which included pieces about bullying and Islamophobia and the radio station organised open mic sessions in a local bar. All this success has ensured that Chorlton Arts Radio will return for the 2011 Chorlton Arts Festival, now with substantial funding from the Big Lottery Fund which will enable the station to apply for a FM licence. It was a great example of the way community media organisations can get directly involved in arts activity within a local community.

Robin Simpson.



European Year of Volunteering 2011 working group meeting by Robin Simpson
January 14, 2011, 2:37 pm
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On Thursday afternoon I was at the Cabinet Office for a meeting of the European Year of Volunteering 2011 working group. We heard a general update from the Office for Civil Society on the national work programme and central campaign. We also heard from Felicity Ford of CSV about the lessons learned from the European Year For Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion 2010 and discussed how we might best ensure a legacy from 2010 within the 2011 European Year. Finally we started work on developing an Equality Impact Assessment for the Year.

Robin Simpson.


Meeting Louise de Winter at the National Campaign for the Arts by Robin Simpson
January 14, 2011, 2:36 pm
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I was in London on Thursday for my regular meeting with Louise de Winter at the National Campaign for the Arts where the big news was that Louise is leaving NCA to take up the position of Chief Executive of a small health charity. Louise has been at NCA for four years and we have worked closely together, particularly on the Participation Manifesto. She has been a very supportive friend to Voluntary Arts and I’ll really miss our regular chats. Once we had finished discussing Louise’s departure we also talked about a wide range of subjects including visas, Epic Awards, philanthropy and Darren Henley’s review of music education.

Robin Simpson.


Meeting Graham Benfield at WCVA by Robin Simpson
January 7, 2011, 3:29 pm
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On Friday I was at the Wales Council for Voluntary Action in Cardiff to meet WCVA Chief Executive, Graham Benfield. We talked at length about the relationship between Voluntary Arts Wales and WCVA and identified a number of ways in which we might work more closely together. In particular we discussed further links between our information services, collaborating to develop best practice in the recruitment and management of volunteers by voluntary arts groups in Wales and ensuring that voluntary arts groups are aware of the child protection support available from WCVA. It was a very encouraging meeting and it was good to compare and contrast our relationship with WCVA with the way we work with the equivalent organisations in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Robin Simpson.