Cultural Playing Field

Digital Creativity and the New Amateur by Robin Simpson
October 26, 2012, 3:13 pm
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On Thursday I was at the St Bride Foundation in London for the Voluntary Arts seminar on ‘Digital Creativity and the New Amateur’. Through our live webcast an audience of voluntary arts umbrella body representatives and Voluntary Arts Board members around the table in London was joined by an online audience around the UK for a lively debate about how the voluntary arts sector should embrace and involve the ‘new amateurs’ and the implications of the digital revolution for local voluntary arts groups. You can watch the full video recording of the seminar at: Many thanks to everyone who took part.

Robin Simpson.


Understanding Everyday Participation Partner Advisory Board by Robin Simpson
October 26, 2012, 3:10 pm
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On Wednesday afternoon I was at Arts Council England in London for the first meeting of the Partner Advisory Board for the Understanding Everyday Participation research project. This 5-year project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Connected Communities programme and by Creative Scotland. Understanding Everyday Participation is being run by a consortium of 7 academics at 4 universities with 2 professional researchers and a wide range of partner organisations, including Voluntary Arts. The project is looking at the relationship between participation and cultural value. Orthodox models of culture and the creative economy are based on a narrow definition of participation: one that captures engagement with traditional institutions such as museums and galleries but overlooks more informal activities such as community festivals and hobbies. This project will paint a broader picture of how people make their lives through culture and in particular how communities are formed and connected through participation. The project consists of 5 interrelated work packages and will include detailed studies of 6 contrasting cultural ecosystems (in Manchester/Salford, Gateshead, Dartmoor, Peterborough, Eilean Siar/Stornoway and Aberdeen).

Robin Simpson.

ACEVO Arts, Culture & Heritage Special Interest Group by Robin Simpson
October 26, 2012, 3:07 pm
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On Monday I was in London to take part in a meeting of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO) Arts, Culture & Heritage Special Interest Group. Our guest speaker was Pauline Tambling, joint Chief Executive of Creative & Cultural Skills. Creative & Cultural Skills is the licensed Sector Skills Council for the UK’s creative and cultural industries, including craft, cultural heritage, design, literature, music, performing arts and visual arts. Pauline spoke about the challenge of introducing young people to the careers they haven’t heard of and showed us the Creative Choices website ( She also talked about apprenticeships, providing vocational as well as academic routes into the sector. CCSkills also runs the Creative Blueprint website which provides research and analysis for the creative and cultural industries, see:

Robin Simpson.