Cultural Playing Field


Meeting Pauline Tambling at Creative & Cultural Skills by Robin Simpson
January 24, 2014, 3:24 pm
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On Friday I was at the Backstage Centre in Purfleet in Essex to meet the Chief Executive of Creative & Cultural Skills, Pauline Tambling. We discussed the new Voluntary Arts Strategic Plan 2014-17 and looked at areas in which Voluntary Arts and CC Skills might be able to collaborate. We talked about the potential for the two organisations to support each other’s work in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We also looked at potential links between the new Voluntary Arts development officer posts in England and CC Skills.

Robin Simpson.

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Cultural Value in Kent and East Sussex by Robin Simpson
January 24, 2014, 3:23 pm
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On Thursday I was in London to meet Nick Ewbank and David Powell. Nick is running a project in Kent and East Sussex funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Cultural Value project. We talked about the Cultural Value Project, Arts Council England’s Cultural Commissioning Programme and Creative People and Places. We also discussed the work Voluntary Arts England will be undertaking in Kent as part of our Spirit of 2012 project and how we might be able to work together with Nick.

Robin Simpson.



Maria Miller on Cultural Value by Robin Simpson
January 24, 2014, 3:22 pm
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On Wednesday I was at the British Library in London to hear the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Maria Miller, deliver a speech about cultural value. Maria Miller asserted the value of culture, citing a range of examples in which culture moves and inspires us, provoking an emotional response. She quoted Steve Jobs who said “technology alone is not enough. It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our heart sing.” The Secretary of State said culture weaves “a spell that lifts you way beyond the hum-drum of normal life” and suggested that we are increasingly defining ourselves by our cultural experiences and interests. She defended her 2013 speech at the British Museum in which she said she was wrongly thought to have said the only justification for supporting the arts is its value to the economy but stressed that this approach had achieved a good spending review settlement for DCMS. I managed to ask the Secretary of State to consider the importance, in articulating the value of culture, of better understanding the links and interdependencies between those aspects of culture that are publicly funded and the 10 million people who take regularly part in local voluntary creative cultural activity across the country. She replied with praise of for the involvement of such a wide variety of groups. She said the role of volunteering is important because it gives us ownership and “ultimately culture isn’t something that is presented by Government … it’s something that we all own. And I think that involvement of individuals is absolutely critical.” You can read maria miller’s full speech at: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/culture-secretary-maria-miller-keynote-arts-and-culture-speech

Robin Simpson.



The Cultural Value of Amateur Arts and Voluntary Arts by Robin Simpson
January 24, 2014, 3:21 pm
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On Tuesday I took part in a telephone meeting with Angus McCabe at the Third Sector Research Centre (University of Birmingham) and Jane Milling at the University of Exeter. Angus and Jane, together with Hamish Fyfe (University of South Wales) have been awarded funding by the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Cultural Value Project to run an Expert Workshop looking on ‘Amateur Arts and Voluntary Arts’. We discussed the proposed details of the workshop, agreed a list of people to invite and looked at how best to ensure that the role of amateur and voluntary arts is recognised in the final overall report from the Cultural Value Project.

Robin Simpson.



Arts Development UK National Committee meeting by Robin Simpson
January 17, 2014, 5:13 pm
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On Friday afternoon I was Arts Council England in London for the Arts Development UK National Committee meeting. I spoke about the new Voluntary Arts Strategic Plan and explained each of our three high level strategies. I also asked ADUK to encourage people to vote in the Epic Awards People’s Choice voting and to start to plan local showcase activities during Voluntary Arts Week 2014.



Arts and Kindness by Robin Simpson
January 17, 2014, 2:53 pm
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On Friday I was in London to meet Jo Broadwood from People United to talk about a research project she is developing with colleagues at the Centre for the Study of Group Processes at Kent University. The idea is to apply the model developed by People United in its report on ‘Arts and Kindness’ to some specific arts activities. We talked about how Voluntary Arts might be able to help promote this research.

Robin Simpson.



Early Arts by Robin Simpson
January 17, 2014, 12:05 pm
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On Thursday afternoon I met Ruth Churchill Dower and Michelle Render from Early Arts, in Huddersfield. Early Arts is the national network for early childhood educators who believe in nurturing their children’s creative potential. Early Arts produces creative teaching materials which are directly relevant to the ways in which young children learn. We had a wide-ranging conversation, comparing notes on our attempts to generate income from information resources, considering the potential for local voluntary arts groups to support arts activity in nurseries and discussing the new Voluntary Arts Strategic Plan. We agreed to explore a number of ways in which our two organisations might be able to support each other’s work.

Robin Simpson.