Cultural Playing Field

Voluntary Arts Scotland Conference by Robin Simpson
November 24, 2011, 9:52 am
Filed under: meetings | Tags: , , , , , ,


Café Conversations at the Voluntary Arts Scotland Conference

Café Conversations at the Voluntary Arts Scotland Conference

Last Friday and Saturday I was in Edinburgh to attend ‘Going for Gold’ – the third national Voluntary Arts Scotland Conference. It was lovely to return to the Scottish Storytelling Centre on the Royal Mile, where we held our first Scottish conference in 2007. ‘Going for Gold’ was an excellent conference, cleverly constructed by Fiona and her team, with the attention to detail we have come to expect from them. Hannah Garrow from the Scottish Government opened the conference by reading a statement from the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, which said that “without the voluntary sector much of the local cultural activity that takes place across Scotland would simply not happen”. Andrew Dixon, the Chief Executive of Creative Scotland, thought there were “lots of cultural stories in Scotland that haven’t been told” and said that Creative Scotland was “talking to people about their place in the creative nation”. He spoke about plans for the Year of Creative Scotland 2012 and the Creative Place awards that will celebrate the most creative towns and villages. The quilter, Pat Archibald, gave an incredibly inspiring presentation about her personal creative journey – one of the highlights of the conference for me, the other being Stewart Murdoch, Director Leisure and Communities at Dundee City Council, who spoke about how we measure value and the search for more meaningful measures for what the arts and crafts offer to quality of life.

As with previous Voluntary Arts Scotland conferences, the heart of the event was the Café Conversations session – a series of passionate, thoughtful and creative discussions, with delegates moving between tables to listen and contribute. There was a good mix of people including some of our newest Voluntary Arts Ambassadors, local authority arts officers, representatives of umbrella bodies and artists. It was an entertaining, thought-provoking and inspiring two days – well done to everyone involved.

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