Cultural Playing Field

Luminate Festival Trustees meeting by Robin Simpson
August 8, 2014, 12:44 pm
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I was at the Saltire Society in Edinburgh on Thursday for a meeting of the Trustees of the Luminate Festival. Now that Luminate (Scotland’s creative ageing festival) has been established as a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation, we have the usual range of governance, HR and financial issues to address as a Board. At this week’s meetings we approved several new policies and considered our latest management accounts. We also looked in detail at the programme for the 2014 Luminate Festival which will take place across Scotland from 1st – 31st October. It’s going to be the best festival yet with a fantastic range of events and activities. Full details will be available shortly at:

Robin Simpson.


53 Million Artists by Robin Simpson
August 8, 2014, 12:43 pm
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On Tuesday I was in London to meet Jo Hunter and David Micklem from 53 Million Artists. Jo and David started the ’53 Million Artists’ campaign at the end of last year. Despite having worked in arts organisations for some years, they both felt they had lost their own sense of creativity and came up with the idea of a campaign centred on doing which would encourage everyone to do something creative. The 53 Million Artists test website ( says “We think an artist is someone who has great ideas and who shares them with other people. We think you can do that too. We can do that. Everyone can do that. We can all be everyday artists. It’s not about talent or having a special skill – it’s about doing something different and sharing this with others.” Jo and David explained the four stages of the 53 Million Artists process: 1. Commit, 2. Do something creative, slightly outside your comfort zone, 3. Reflect, 4. Share online. 53 Million Artists secured some initial funding from Arts Council England with matched support from the Kings Cultural Institute which is undertaking research the effect taking part in the campaign has on individuals and communities. They have completed a pilot phase and are now developing a new website and partnerships to enable them to roll out a full UK-wide campaign next year. Jo and David are passionate about reclaiming the notion of artistry as something everyone does and want this to become a mainstream national conversation. We talked about the potential for Voluntary Arts and 53 Million Artists to work together and discussed possible links to Creative People and Places, the Media Trust’s Do Something Brilliant campaign and the Understanding Everyday Participation research project.

Robin Simpson.

Meeting the Connection Culture Programme Manager by Robin Simpson
August 8, 2014, 12:42 pm
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I was in Peterborough on Monday to meet Josie Hickin, the new Creative People and Places Programme Manager for Connection Culture. The Peterborough Creative People and Places consortium (of which Voluntary Arts is a member) has employed Josie to lead its programme to increase engagement in the arts in Peterborough. We talked about the various strands of the Connection Culture programme (focussing on young people, diverse communities and the voluntary arts sector – supported by the ‘Chamber of Culture’ which is providing training and mentoring). We discussed some of the particular challenges we are likely to face and the role each of the consortium partners will play in the delivery of the programme strands. It’s great to have Josie in post and I hope the Connection Culture programme will now really start to take shape.

Robin Simpson.