Cultural Playing Field


Arts Council England Rural Stakeholders Meeting by Robin Simpson
June 6, 2014, 3:18 pm
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On Thursday afternoon I was at Arts Council England in London for the ACE Rural Stakeholders meeting. This was the second gathering of cultural organisations with a particular interest in rural affairs. The main focus of this meeting was a presentation by Jonathon Blackburn from Arts Council England and Stephen Hall from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs about the ACE/DEFRA review of data and evidence relating to arts and culture and rural communities. A baseline exercise looking at available data and evidence has already begun, as has generic activity looking at issues relating to data and evidence relating to the economic impacts of arts and culture at a local level. The rural stakeholders group will receive another update on this work at our next meeting later this year. We also had a presentation from Rob Wells from DEFRA about European Union rural development funding.

Robin Simpson.

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Arts Council England Rural Stakeholders meeting by Robin Simpson
November 28, 2013, 5:32 pm
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I was in London on Monday to take part in the Arts Council England Rural Stakeholders meeting. This was the first of what will be a regular series of gatherings of cultural organisations with a particular interest in rural matters. Those around the table on Monday included representatives of the National Rural Touring Forum, the Rural Cultural Forum, Action with Communities in Rural England and the Rural Services Network, as well as civil servants from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The general feeling was that, while arts activity in rural areas is strong, rural local authorities are particularly challenged at the moment and support from local authorities is incredibly variable. Public transport is a key issue in rural communities and hidden deprivation is a massive problem. We talked about the opportunities provided by local action groups (LAGs) and local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) and the growing importance of European funding. We discussed the rollout of rural broadband and the importance of volunteers in the rural cultural sector. We also talked about how Arts Council England should be working with the wider sector, not just its National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs).

Robin Simpson.