Cultural Playing Field

Public Services: the value of cultural commissioning by Robin Simpson
June 6, 2014, 3:20 pm
Filed under: meetings | Tags: , , , , , , ,

I was back in London on Friday to chair the Arts Development UK national seminar on ‘Public Services: the value of cultural commissioning’. This was the first of two seminars which are a joint initiative between the Cultural Commissioning Programme, Arts Development UK and the National Culture & Leisure Forum, supported by The National Archives. The Cultural Commissioning Programme is a three year programme funded by Arts Council England and being delivered by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, New Philanthropy Capital and the New Economics Foundation. There was an amazing level of interest in the seminar with a sell-out audience of more than 150 delegates at the Camden Centre. We started with keynote speeches from Vikki Heywood, Chair of the RSA who gave an overview from the cultural sector, and Carole Wood, Director of Public Health at Gateshead Council who gave an overview from the public service commissioning sector. I was pleased to hear Vikki say “everyone should be a creative, literate and numerate citizen”. Carole spoke about the Five Ways to Wellbeing and quoted the song “hearts starve as well as bodies – give us bread and give us roses”. The seminar included eight breakout group sessions looking at topics including ‘delivering commissioner outcomes’, ‘high artistic and cultural quality’, ‘mental health and well-being’ and ‘place-based outcomes’. One highlight for me was the inspiring presentation about older people by Sharon Scaniglia of Nottingham City Council, who spoke about a care home project in Nottingham supported by the Arts Council England/Baring Foundation scheme. The final keynote presentation was from Sally Bagwell of New Philanthropy Capital who launched the Cultural Commissioning Programme research report, which is now available at: The second Cultural Commissioning seminar takes place in Doncaster next week.

Robin Simpson.

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