Cultural Playing Field


Catching up with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport by Robin Simpson
January 25, 2013, 2:32 pm
Filed under: meetings | Tags: , , , , ,

On Wednesday afternoon I was at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, in London, to meet Dominic Lake, the new Head of Arts and Libraries at DCMS, and Nick Cady, Head of Arts Policy. We discussed the Government’s interest in deregulation, the search for the second UK City of Culture (which has just been launched) and the prospects for philanthropy in relation to the voluntary arts.

Robin Simpson.

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The Governance Forum by Robin Simpson
January 25, 2013, 2:27 pm
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On Wednesday I was in the grand surroundings of the Clothworkers Hall in the City of London to take part in a meeting of the Governance Forum. The Governance Forum is a twice yearly meeting of governance experts who come together to discuss the latest issues in charity governance.  The forum is hosted by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and chaired by Lindsay Driscoll who is also the Chair of the Code of Good Governance Steering Group. As Voluntary Arts was awarded the 2012 Winifred Tumim Memorial Prize for Best Practice in Charity Governance, I was invited to speak to the Governance Forum about the particular governance challenges in a UK-devolved organisation and how Voluntary Arts undertook its organisational governance review and created its innovative Governance Handbook.

Robin Simpson.



Creative People and Places: Swale and Medway by Robin Simpson
January 25, 2013, 2:17 pm
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I also had a telephone meeting on Monday with Catherine Herbert from the Swale and Medway Creative People and Places consortium. Catherine explained that the members of this large consortium are all grassroots organisations. The consortium’s plans to increase arts engagement consist of a mixture of open calls to local organisations and devised or curated strands of work. Catherine invited me to attend a meeting of the consortium next week in Rochester.

Robin Simpson.



Creative People and Places: South East Northumberland by Robin Simpson
January 25, 2013, 2:16 pm
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On Monday I had a telephone meeting with Keith Merrin from the South East Northumberland Creative People and Places consortium. The consortium has already started a consultation with local communities and is holding meetings with the local arts sector. Keith emphasised that the majority of arts organisations in South East Northumberland are non-professional groups and said that working with the local amateur arts sector is a key part of the consortium’s plans to increase arts engagement over the next three years.

Robin Simpson.



Running Your Group Weekly, 21 January 2013 by Robin Simpson
January 25, 2013, 1:48 pm
Filed under: webcast | Tags: , , , , ,

On Monday I hosted ‘Running Your Group Weekly’. Daniel and I were joined by the volunteering consultant Rob Jackson who spoke about the lessons learned from the London 2012 Games Maker volunteer programme. You can watch the recording of Monday’s webcast at: http://www.voluntaryarts.org/running-your-group/running-your-group-weekly/.

Robin Simpson.



Risk in times of adversity by Robin Simpson
January 18, 2013, 10:04 am
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On Thursday I was at Toynbee Hall in London to take part in the re.volution provocation event ‘How Can We Be Sure That We Continue To Take Risks In Times Of Adversity?’ re.volution is a peer learning network designed for the leaders of micro, small and medium sized arts and cultural organisations, organised by Mission Models Money. Thursday’s provocation event looked in detail at the subject of risk. We reflected on the differences between artistic risk, producer risk and institutional risk. We looked at the role of Boards in relation to managing risk: I liked the suggestion that the role of the Board should be “to protect the organisation’s ability to take risks”. I gave a short presentation on the risks inherent in exploring new markets and audiences. It was a fascinating day with in-depth discussion and great networking.

Robin Simpson.



Creative People and Places: South Holland and Boston by Robin Simpson
January 18, 2013, 9:58 am
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I was in Boston, Lincolnshire, on Wednesday to meet the Boston Creative People and Places consortium – one of 7 consortia funded by Arts Council England in the first round of Creative People and Places. We discussed the consortium’s plans to increase arts engagement in Boston and South Holland over the next 3 years. Their planned programme is called ‘Transported’ and is built around a transport theme. In their business plan they say

“The Lincolnshire landscape has been drawn by transport routes; railways and rivers slicing through the fields, linking up communities (or not) and roman roads that carry the lorries that transport millions of tons of food to and from Europe … The concept of Transport sits at the centre of our approach: transporting people to arts events or activities, transporting artists to remote places, transporting specialist equipment to the places it will be used, transporting knowledge to people and offering experiences that transport participants and audiences. We will use the lorries themselves as canvasses for artworks, create cultural links to mirror commercial routes and use the food processing factories and haulage companies as places to engage people in arts activity.”

On Wednesday we talked about the potential involvement of existing local amateur arts groups in Transported and how we could encourage people to establish new amateur arts groups as part of the programme.

Robin Simpson.