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nalgaoTrustees Membership 2007/08 Name

Officer position




Lorna Brown Katherine West

Chair of nalgao

West Sussex CC

01243 756770

Vice Chair & NW Regional Rep: nalgao (job-share)

Vale Royal Borough Council 01606 867522

Jane Wilson

Treasurer: nalgao

Arts Development in East Cambridgeshire (ADEC)

01353 669022

Mark Homer

Secretary: nalgao

Lincolnshire County Council 01522 553300

Janet Mein

Counties Representative

Hampshire County Council

01962 845468

Catherine Davis

Counties Representative

Hertfordshire County Council

01992 555679

Jayne Knight

Eastern Regional Rep (job-share)

Suffolk County Council

01728 724793

Andrew Kitchen

Eastern Regional Rep (job-share)

Waveney District Council

01502 523397

Sharon Scaniglia

EM Regional Rep: nalgao (job-share)

Nottingham City Council

0115 9158604


Sara Bullimore

EM Regional Rep: nalgao (job-share)

Lincoln City Council

01522 873844

Catherine Miller-Bassi

London Regional Rep: nalgao (job-share)

London Borough of Barking & Dagenham

0208 270 4816

Leah Whittington

London Regional Rep: nalgao (job-share)

London Borough of Lambeth 0207 926 0763

Andrea Bushell

North West Regional Rep: nalgao (job-share)

Salford City Council

0161 778 0843

Zoe Channing

North East Regional Representative: nalgao (job-share)

Sunderland City Council

0191 5148459

Neil Hillier

North East Regional Representative: nalgao (job-share)

Durham County Council

0191 384 2214

Michael Johnson

Southern Region Representative (job-share)

Test Valley Borough Council 01264 368844

Hannah Cervenka

Southern Region Representative (job-share)

West Oxfordshire DC

01993 861554

Charlotte Gardiner South East Region Representative (job-share)

Waverley Borough Council

01483 523390

Gail Brown

South East Region Representative (job-share)

Surrey County Arts

01483 776128

Nickola Moore

South West Region Rep: nalgao (job-share)

Borough of Poole

01202 633973

Helen Miah

South West Region Rep: nalgao (job-share)

Swindon BC

01793 465353

Jonathan Cochrane West Midlands Regional Rep: nalgao (job-share)

Redditch Borough Council

01527 63051

Lizzy Alageswaran

Yorkshire Regional Rep: nalgao (job-share)

Rotherham MBC

01709 823636

Gill Cooper

Yorkshire Regional Rep: nalgao (job-share)

City of York Council

01904 554671

Carys Wynne

South Wales Regional Rep

Blaenau Gwent CBC

01495 322510

Gwawr Roberts

North Wales Regional Rep (job-share)

Gwynedd CBC

01286 679721

Sian Hughes

North Wales Regional Rep (job-share)

Conwy CBC

01492 575572

Chris Willison

West Wales Regional Representative

Pembrokeshire CC

01437 775246


Sue Isherwood

Executive Officer


01749 871110

Pete Bryan



0116 2671441

The next issue of Arts at the Heart will be out in July and will feature cultural entitlement and the current status of arts funding.

Copy deadline for the next issue is Monday 12 May. If you would like to write an article for the next issue Please talk to our Editor Paul Kelly - Tel: 01752 217281 or email: If you would like information about nalgao Please contact: Pete Bryan, nalgao Administrator 01269 824728 email:


Working for local government arts and creative industries The nalgao Magazine Issue 20 Spring 2008

The Art of Partnership

Inside: A New Landscape for the Arts? Interview with Sir JohnTusa Reviewing McMaster Public Art Project Case Studies

Chair’s Introduction From Turbulence to Angels Nalgao News Nalgao Updates Features A New Landscape for the Arts? Reviewing McMaster Cover Feature Public Art –The Art of Partnership What Is Public Art? Current Issues and Resources Funding, Planning Law and Planning Gain Public Art Resources Changing practices Public Art Case Studies The Impact of An Angel pARTnership in Hampshire Brightening up Boscombe Thrill at the Mill In Transit Lighting up the City Invisible World Opinion Who owns public art? Case Studies Weaving the Web Reports Making Diversity Work Adapt or Die A Week In The Life… Reviews The Social Entrepreneur The LastWord nalgao Trustees Membership Editor: Paul Kelly Cultural Futures Tel: 01752 217281 Mobile: 07825 313838 Email: Published by nalgao Tel: & Fax: 01269 824728 Email:

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2 3 4 6 9 12 13 13 13 14 15 17 19 20 21 22 24 26 28 30 32 33 34 35 35 36

In my discussions as Chair, one thing has become abundantly clear; Arts Council England is a partner, not a target. nalgao wants to make that partnership work.


From Turbulence To Angels It has, as I am sure you will agree, been a turbulent few months for the arts. The McMaster report on excellence, the Arts Council England funding announcements, the departure after ten years of Peter Hewitt - the longest serving Chief Executive of the English Arts Council since the 1950s and one of the more successful - and most unexpectedly, a new Secretary of State, Andy Burnham, at the DCMS. All of this has created many column inches about the arts, and not always with positive messages. It’s a great shame that the success of the arts sector and the Arts Council in winning extra government money, was lost in a wave of criticism surrounding Arts Council budget cuts. Eighteen percent of those cuts directly affect local authority arts initiatives. But I’m not going to use this column to have another ‘pop’ at the Arts Council. In the discussions I’ve had as nalgao Chair, with the DCMS, the Local Government Association and the Arts Council itself, one thing has become abundantly clear; the Arts Council is a partner, not a target. nalgao values that partnership and wants to make it work. But there is a bigger question that affects all who work in our sector and that is about the wider nature of cultural relationships. In a recent BBC Radio 4 interview, arts supremo Sir John Tusa, was asked about the historic “arms length relationship” between government and the arts. “Oh”, he said, “it still exists. But you have to realise that in recent times the distance between hand and shoulder has shrunk a great deal.” It was an astute quip that masks some bigger questions about politics, policy and partnership in a creative sector with a growing number of well informed strategic arts agencies. Reports back from nalgao members in Wales suggest we could learn something from the Principality – and not just about rugby tactics, though some of those might have surprising relevance. The Welsh Assembly Cabinet is discussing measures to enable research into cultural entitlement for all in Wales, with the intention of legislating on this matter by 2010. The arts will be a key component in cultural entitlement and the research will involve partnership discussion, including nalgao Wales, which should create a better cohesion between all concerned. It’s not just Peter Hewitt who has notched up ten years. Antony Gormley’s “Angel of the North” celebrates its tenth birthday later this month. We are delighted to feature “The Angel” on our front cover and tell the story of how a Local Authority with little track record in arts provision, came, with significant Arts Council support, to create an extraordinary global icon. 3,253 pieces of steel were used in the Angel’s construction, which shows how complex the creation of public art can be. Our lead feature on this complex creative discipline both provides useful guidance, case studies of successful projects and commentary which both praises and critiques this high profile artform. “The Angel of the North” is not just a great piece of art. It’s a symbol of how Local Government and the Arts Council can work in partnership to create something truly momentous and enduring. What better ambition can we have for the next ten years?

Lorna Brown Chair of nalgao

FeedingYour CPD Feeding your continual professional development is the latest in nalgao’s seminar series. Staged in partnership with Manchester City Council and Action Learning Associates, the day will explore the many forms of continuing professional development (CPD), leadership, mentoring and peer support, in both practical sessions and breakout groups. “This is a great opportunity to get a hands-on approach to CPD, and to hear about both policy and practice from a range of informed speakers and to inform your own perspective on CPD for the future.” says Katherine West, nalgao’s North West Representative, who oversaw the successful North West regional mentoring scheme. The morning will include a keynote presentation from Hilary Carty, of the Arts Council England Cultural Leadership Programme, as well as an opportunity to discuss nalgao’s recent training needs assessment report and future CPD plans.There will be a series of small breakout sessions offering CPD case studies of good practice and lots of opportunities for debate and information sharing.The breakout presentation with Mike Faulkner (G & M Associates) and Viv Tyler (Arts & Business: NW) will explore nalgao’s recent and highly successful North West regional mentoring programme, and plans for developing this into a national scheme. The afternoon session offers delegates a practical opportunity to tackle work issues as part of an Action Learning Set. Delegates can put theory in to practice by taking part in one of 5 facilitated 2-hour sessions, with an alternative option to take part in a

Participation Priority Group

Disabled Socially Excluded Black and Minority Ethnic Attendance Priority Group

Disabled Socially Excluded Black and Minority Ethnic

Baseline Final

Increase/ Decrease

12.2% 9.7%

13.4% 10.5%

1.2% 0.8%

Variance against 2% target -0.8% -1.2%





Baseline Final

Increase/ Decrease

29.4% 22.9%

31.9% 24.5%

2.5% 1.6%

Variance against 3% target -0.5% -1.4%





A new PSA target is running from 2005-08 seeking increases in participation by 2% and 3% in attendance by priority groups. The groups and baselines are: Participation Priority Group Black and Minority Ethnic Limiting Disability Lower socio-economic 15%

Baseline 21% 19% 17%

Target 23% 21%

Attendance Priority Group Black and Minority Ethnic Limiting Disability Lower socio-economic

Baseline 24% 24% 17%

Target 27% 27% 20%

nalgao news

nalgao’s new website will be launched on 18 April at the Manchester seminar “Feeding Your CPD”. Arts at the Heart Editor Paul Kelly, who is project managing the development and assembling copy for it said, “David Smith, the designer and I are working to develop a site that will become a useful part of your daily working life. The new site will have a library where you can access arts case studies, a policy issues section, a resource centre full of useful facts, figures and contacts and a news section with up to the minute information. We are particularly keen to make it visually attractive and would welcome contributions from members of good quality arts project photos for the site. We will make sure they are properly credited. If you have photos that you think are right for the new site, please contact Paul Kelly at Please note nalgao can only use photos picturing children if their parents have given written permission for the photo’s public use.

Participation and attendance rates by disabled and socially included groups in the arts have increased since 2001, though not as much as the Government hoped for. The same rates for black and minority ethnic groups fell over the same period. The results are given in the Arts Council’s 2007 annual report. The Government had set a target for a 2% increase in participation and a 3% increase in attendance of targeted groups - Public Service Agreement (PSA) Target 2. The figures show the following:


New website launch date set

Closing on the target

Spring 2008

The nalgao National Conference will be taking place in Blackpool at the Winter Gardens from 8th - 10th October 2008, so please ensure that you have the date fixed firmly in your diaries. nalgao will be looking for case studies from members for Breakout presentations. The conference affords an excellent opportunity to share good practice and to showcase the work of your authorities to a national and international audience.

1-hour session followed by a group personal coaching session. The Feed your CPD Seminar takes place on: Wednesday 18th April 2008 from 9.30 – 5.00 Manchester Town Hall,Albert Square, Manchester M60 2LA. Places are £85 for nalgao members and £130 for a nalgao member and line manager. For more details and to book a place email Pete Bryan at or phone 01269 824728

nalgao Magazine

nalgao Conference 2008

Correction An error occurred in the feature on creative industries in the last issue of ‘Arts at the Heart’. In the section on The creative industries value chain, we wrote “A film producer buys an idea from a writer, assembles the finance, fires a director and technical team…” We meant, of course, he hires a director and technical team.

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nalgao updates 04 05

The Welsh Assembly Government, building Cardiff

Spring 2008

nalgao Magazine


Wales – heading for entitlement? Cultural entitlement could become a statutory commitment in Wales within two years, according to Carys Wynne, one of nalgao’s Welsh Executive Committee members. In our last issue of Arts at the Heart, we reported how the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) was looking afresh at cultural strategy and service delivery and that nalgao Wales was playing an active role in discussions. Things have moved forward since then and in January nalgao Wales representatives Carys Wynne and Christine Willison met with the Welsh Assembly Cabinet Minister for Heritage Rhodri Glyn Thomas and his civil servants. The Assembly is looking to revise Wales’s cultural strategy in line with the Stephens Report and the One Wales document (see backstory) and the new strategy will hopefully include a cultural duty within its provisions. Civil servants are currently researching whether cultural entitlement should cover just the arts or the whole of leisure – so it could be quite flexible – and whether it needs to be a fairly general standard of delivery or should it be prescriptive in terms of minimum obligations and number of officers and number of people on the ground. “They don’t seem

to be looking at it with a preconceived idea that they want implemented, which is really positive news.” said Carys.

Keen on arms length principle nalgao Wales reports that the Minister would be asking the Welsh Cabinet to give legislative power to the Welsh Assembly to pursue the research into cultural entitlement with the hope that there will be a strategy and a duty by April 2010. “They have to pass the powers this year,” said Carys Wynne, “in order to research it and produce White Papers on it. That’s quite a quick turnaround. The fact they are pushing on it very quickly demonstrates a commitment to fulfilling it. But,” she added, “the Minister doesn’t want to put a duty on Local Authorities that they can’t deliver, so there is also a degree of realism at play. He wants to set a vision and ambition but doesn’t want it to be undeliverable.” A development group will be established in the Spring to look at the development of cultural entitlement and performance measures for the arts alongside that. nalgao Wales has been asked to be part of that which is very exciting. It recognises the role that nalgao can play in that and that we have the communication with a lot of people on the ground so we already have a huge base of knowledge. The meeting with the Minister was productive in that it allowed nalgao Wales to stress the

In late 2005 Welsh Culture Minister Alan Pugh announced the intention of transferring funding responsibility of the largest arts clients in Wales from Arts Council Wales to the Welsh Assembly. There had been little prior warning of this and the proposal met with a considerable criticism from the arts sector and was defeated in the Welsh Assembly. It prompted the Stephens review to examine the existing and future roles of the Arts Council of Wales and Welsh Assembly Government and the funding of the arts in an international context. The review reported in Autumn 2006 and sought to make the arts in Wales more ambitious, innovative, strategy-driven and inclusive. For the full report visit walesartsreview In 2007 Labour lost overall control in the Welsh Assembly elections. It agreed a coalition with Plaid Cymru and produced the ‘One Wales’ document setting out its plans for the future.The One Wales document included a small section on culture but with some ambitious plans for developing the arts in Wales.

Its findings include: • The vast majority of local authorities have acted in a professional and appropriate manner when dealing with applications for live music. • No one particular type or style of live music, or any particular style of venue, has been more affected than any other by the new legislation. • The Licensing Act 2003 has had a broadly neutral impact on the provision of live music. But it has not led to the promised increase in live music. • Many of the benefits the Government believed

the new legislation would bring to live music have been delivered but, the Forum has questioned the need for the licensing of live music at all. • The Act has an exemption from licensing for ‘incidental music’. The Forum believes that this is quite a wide-ranging exemption and should be applied liberally. • In some areas there has been an over zealous or incorrect interpretation of the legislation. The Forum thus recommends changes to the legislation, particularly by providing a definition of ‘incidental music’ and that unamplified live music is exempt from licensing. • The actions of a small number of local authorities, whose response to this legislation, in relation to live music, has been unnecessary, unreasonable and disproportionate, should further be investigated. The full report is available to download from: tries/music/live_music_forum.htm

nalgao updates

Back Story

In issue 16 (November 2005) we carried a report from nalgao Executive Member Jane Wilson on the Live Music Forum and impact of the Licensing Act on live music provision. The Live Music Forum, was set up to fulfil a Ministerial commitment to monitor the impact of the 2003 Licensing Act on live music, and to promote live music performance. Chaired by Fergal Sharkey, it has now produced its final report.

nalgao Magazine Spring 2008

Music – Live Music Forum update


importance of understanding that the arts have a role to play in delivering a cross-cutting agenda, which is something we’ve been pushing for, for a long time. Also to highlight the potential of the arts to generate income into the economy because it provides jobs and skills. The most positive thing from the meeting, reports Carys, was that the Minister is very keen to adhere to the arms length principle of governance for the arts and wants to know about examples of good practice. He wants to know what’s going on and increase communication. Funding is currently a sensitive issue, reports Carys, and it is understood that finance is not seen as the only means to progress. It is recognised that a lot more could be achieved through developing expertise in the arts, collaborative working and good practice models. Nalgao Wales is also building up its partnership with the Welsh Local Government Association to look at regional partnership agreements and how local authorities can input on a more longer term basis into the Stephens Review. These processes, says Carys Wynne, will make a big difference to the arts in Wales in the next five to ten years.

Creative industries policy update We reported in the last issue that a Government Green Paper on the creative industries was expected in the early part of 2008. That has now been revised and the DCMS, in partnership with the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and the Department for

Innovation, Universities and Skills, has just published a creative industries strategy paper – “Creative Britain – New Talents for the New Economy” Look here for this strategy paper: /NR/rdonlyres/096CB847-5E32-4435-9C52C4D293CDECFD/0/CEPFeb2008.pdf

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features ARTS AT THE HEART Spring 2008

nalgao Magazine

A New Landscape For The Arts? Paul Kelly

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Commissioned by the Conservative party just over a year ago, Sir John Tusa’s Arts Task Force and report – “A New Landscape for the Arts” has possibly had less press coverage than its counterpart from Sir Brian McMaster. Yet, the two seem to complement each other like hand in glove. As Sir John points out overleaf, McMaster sets the overall view and the Arts Task Force looks at the detail of implementation. The Arts Task Force Team (see box for membership), looked at just four areas affecting the arts: • Funding structures • Taxation policy • Education • Technology These, they felt, were the key aspects which help artists and arts companies to do their job and make the arts more accessible to the public. Although commissioned by the Conservative Party, the Task Force saw itself as an independent body and not the poodle of party politics. “On no occasion,” says Sir John, in his introduction, “did a

discussion about the report or recommendations turn into a politically-driven discussion.” The Team took evidence, though who gave evidence is not stated. But, they report, “we discovered an enthusiasm to talk openly about arts and arts policy that reflected and reacted against a rather claustrophobic, prescriptive, numerically-driven arts dialogue that has characterised recent years. It was as if a door was opening for debate, and many in the arts world could not wait to join in a process from which they currently felt excluded.” The Task Force’s recommendations were guided by four principles: 1. The principle of excellence in the arts must be absolute; the arts cannot contribute in all the ways demanded of them without this commitment. 2. Government should recognise that trust allied to responsibility is more effective that insisting on mere bureaucratic accountability. 3. Our vision of a new landscape for the arts will allow ambition to flourish still more. As it is, the arts are a huge British success story. This new landscape will allow success to flourish. 4. The arts world needs to deliver its side of the bargain. A culture of asking and a culture of recognising giving is part of the landscape in which a culture of giving can thrive.

NDPBs “Not fully joined up” The Task Force’s report has 36 recommendations and we cannot cover them all here. The two sections that will probably of the greatest interest to Arts at the Heart readers concern funding structures and education. The Task Force believes that part of the problem lies with funding structures and the way they work, or don’t work. “The administration of the arts world is characterised by a plethora of different institutions, bodies and structures from Whitehall departments to quangos (such as Arts Council England – ACE) to local authorities and regional development associations. While co-operation occurs on a haphazard basis, there is no evidence that a fully “joined up” set of policies on the arts is delivered by this web of overlapping and independent bodies.” The Task Force recommendations include: • Transferring Arts Council ‘national’ RFOs to the DCMS – who already fund national museums. • Reducing the size of ACE central office. • Freeing up ACE to work in its nine regions and getting it to work ‘alongside’ the Museums and Libraries Association (MLA) and ideally co-located with MLA. • Designating certain arts institutions as Non Departmental Public Bodies so that these organisations can operate with greater independence. • Introducing a strong cultural element into Local Authority performance assessments. with significant acknowledgement of the importance of the performing and visual arts.

• An entitlement to culture for all young people an increased arts-focus in initial Teacher Training. • Departments responsible for culture and education developing a more focused sense of joint responsibility. • Creative Partnerships should shift its focus more towards teachers, thereby developing a more sustainable framework. • The introduction of the Schoolsmark (along the lines of the current Artsmark) to be awarded to arts organisations in recognition of their commitment to a dynamic relationship with a wider community. That there should be a better balance between experience-based and knowledge based learning of the arts. Paul Kelly, Editor

ANew Landscape For The Arts” the report of The Arts Task Force can be downloaded from The site also has fivediscussion papers submitted by Deborah Bull, Robert Hewison and others.

The Arts Task Force Team Sir John Tusa : Chairman Wilf Weeks, OBE Victoria Barnsley Bendor Grosvenor Amanda Jones Alan Borg Munira Mirza Special Advisor, Education: Gillian Moore, MBE Secretary: Amanda Shepherd

Who Is Sir John Tusa? Born in Czechoslovakia, Sir John Tusa came to Britain in 1939. After taking a First in History at Cambridge and doing National Service, he joined the BBC in 1960 as a General Trainee. His work at the BBC led him to radio and TV presentation and he became a main presenter of BBC2’s “Newsnight”, for which he won awards from both the Royal Television Society and BAFTA. From l986 to 1992 he was Managing Director of BBC World Service, and laid the foundations of BBC World Service Television. He became Managing Director of the Barbican Centre in 1995 where he remained until August 2007. He is currently Chairman of the Wigmore Hall Trust, a Vice Chairman of the British Museum, a Trustee of The Turquoise Mountain Trust Foundation regenerating Afghanistan and Chairman of the Court of Governors for the University of the Arts, London.

Education -‘a virtuous circle’

do so -there is no mention of anything truly recognisable as arts provision. In a speech to the Royal Geographical Society “Can you be surprised when the very word in April 2007 Sir John Tusa said: “culture” in local authority speak has been debased “I’m sick to death… that the arts play such a small to include swimming, walking and enjoying parks part in the activities of local authorities. There are almost to the deliberate exclusion of the visual statutory responsibilities on local authorities to and performing arts.Yes, I have seen such a provide key services such as education, housing document more than once and had to make and the police. There is no equivalent statutory urgent representations to a Greater London Arts responsibility to provide strategy to get its terms broadened to include the the arts. Perhaps inevitably when local real arts world in more than an apologetic add on. authorities do produce a cultural strategy – But can you be surprised when the official and more and more of them feel obliged to government yardstick by which local authorities

nalgao Magazine Spring 2008

are judged gave a low weighting … to the provision of theatres, galleries or concert halls. You could - you can – be judged to be an “excellent” local authority; one whose “direction of travel” is upward, even though your provision of the arts or culture is almost non-existent. “Given this view of the lack of importance of the arts on the local authority scene, can you still be surprised that when the finances are tight, almost the very first local service to be cut is from the arts, a local museum, a library or something clearly regarded as a non-essential part of local government’s activities.”


Sir John champions Local Authorities


The Task Force report says that “Participation in the arts helps us make sense of the world, reinforces both our individuality and our connectedness, expresses values, raises achievement and, quite simply, makes life better. The report says “good arts education must create a virtuous circle which connects creative, practical engagement – making things - with a knowledge and understanding of what other people have made – of culture - both of today and of the past.” To achieve this its recommendations include:

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TheAAH Interview:Sir JohnTusa


nalgao Magazine Spring 2008


Paul Kelly spoke to Sir John Tusa about The ArtsTask Force report“A New Landscape For The Arts”

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Financially, the arts have done rather well over the past 10 years. So why was your enquiry needed? Well, the Conservatives felt that they needed some fresh thinking on the arts, if they weren’t just to play follow my leader behind whatever Labour was doing. They wanted to have something distinctively available to them. So setting up this independent task force seemed to them to be the best way ahead. We have had reports in the last few years on leadership and on public value, but you seem to have unleashed a new and vibrant discussion.Why has this discussion not happened before? Well, discussions have been taking place amongst arts people. I don’t think discussions led by the Arts Council have ever been particularly well focussed. Frankly, just at the moment the existing Arts Council is not an organisation that has commanded a great deal of respect among the arts community. And also, whenever ACE has produced a report it has had absolutely no effect at all. What we did was to look at things in rather different ways. Each one of our areas deals with a different bit of the arts world structure. We go systematically through the various organisations that affect how the arts work, how they are funded, how they might work better together and I think it’s a more comprehensive review than most. Your report seems to be saying that Britain is producing some world class art in spite of rather than because of the funding system, so what needs to change? First, one has to be rather careful about claiming that we are the only this country that produces ground-breaking art. But the particularly bureaucratic way that the Arts Council, and until very recently the DCMS, administered arts funding, has just cut across the grain of what almost everybody in the arts world wants to do which is, to concentrate on delivering the highest quality of arts. I think it’s only now, with the Government’s McMaster report, that this reconnection has started to be made. Quality and excellence comes first, not social and economic objectives. Your Task Force report merely calls for a strong cultural element in Local Authority performance assessments rather than a statutory duty. Isn’t this a sin of omission? No, because everybody advised us that there is simply no point in trying to lay another statutory obligation on Local Authorities who already have them hanging off them like necklaces. I’ve seen how this works in the City of London. The City of London pours millions into the arts each year but sometimes they didn’t get a top grade in the culture block – which was absolutely ludicrous. So the absence of serious arts culture - rather than lifestyle recreation, parks and swimming etc - is a

major gap in the way that Local Authorities are assessed and measured. And I know that Local Authorities mind very much how the are measured. So this route is likely to be far more effective. One of the four areas you look at is learning and the arts. Has arts investment in learning hit the mark and if not what needs changing? When a theatre company or an orchestra comes into a school what they are demonstrating is experience. Unless there is real education and knowledge about the arts, they are not building on knowledge. We think schools have rather given up on teaching children about the arts – things like what is the history of western music, or who is Mozart? The emphasis has been so much on experience, but the question is what are they experiencing? The craft base needs to be built back into the class curriculum so that the experience has some root knowledge, an intellectual base on which to be grafted. We are expecting a new Government at some point in the next two years.Your report has got 36 recommendations. If any political party adopts your report what are the quick wins for them? Frankly, I think almost all of them. The ones which will take a little longer are the ones relating to tax concessions for giving . We want the Treasury to understand that you encourage people to give

Sir John Tusa

and if you actually allow the givers to feel a certain tax benefit in their lifetime, donors are very much likely to give more. That’ll take a little while. Most of the others are easy, you know you can change the structure of the DCMS very, very quickly. Governments are always changing structures of central Whitehall departments. And changing the powers of the Arts Council wouldn’t take long. But there’s an awful lot that could be done extremely quickly. And it also implies some shifts of attitudes which can be done straight away. Sir Brian McMaster’s report on excellence is gaining a lot of attention at the moment. It was commissioned by the current government rather than by a possible future one. How much do you think your two reports have got in common? Well I think they fit absolutely. The McMaster report gives you the overall view – the arts have to be excellent and quality is the criterion and we need to move away from instrumentalism. And that is completely consistent in word and in thought with everything we say in the Task Force. And what we have produced is a series of organisational and structural changes as well as some changes in values, which would enable the new excellence/quality agenda to be delivered. So really I’m waiting for one party or the other to realise that the two reports give them a fantastic bi-partisan across-the-board arts policy.

Reviewing McMaster

The Report’s Status The McMaster report was commissioned by the then Secretary of State for Culture, James Purnell, it has been published by the DCMS and the Secretary of State has written an introduction welcoming it. So it has official standing. But how much of its recommendations will be implemented and how, is,

Orchestra conductor Ronald Corp

The Background Issues There has been long running and wearisome but important debate since the 1950s about excellence in the arts. It started when the Arts Council decided between 1953 and 1955 to close the regional offices it ran on cost grounds. The then SecretaryGeneral Bill Williams coined the phrase ‘few but roses’ as the Arts Council’s guiding principle; that is support the highest quality and in a few places if that’s all we can afford. His other motto was ‘raising not spreading’. This move, which signified an abandonment of regionalism, plus the emergence of new ideas 1960s – that promoted emerging artforms like photography, jazz, performance art and community arts – resulted in a sort of cultural antagonism between what is generally seen as a rather stuffy and patrician 1950s and a liberalising, ‘anything goes’ 1960s. In creative terms there were two sides, traditionalists rooted in fine art, opera and classical music and the progressives rooted in the ‘new arts’ community arts, jazz, cinema, experimental theatre multi-media, performance art and anything with a whiff of contemporary about it. Also bound up in this was an Arts Council decision taken at its inception, not to engage with or support amateur arts. Essentially it was a battle for money and power, also played out between London and the regions. In the 1970s, Bill Williams’ successor but two, Roy Shaw tried leavening the divide with the motto ‘excellence and access’. But little changed until 1984 when Shaw’s successor, the apparently business-focussed Luke Rittner commissioned ‘The Glory of The Garden’ report which devolved money and companies to the regions, especially in the visual arts (and also established Birmingham Royal Ballet) and championed multicultural arts and arts for the disabled. But financial sums involved were relatively modest. The debate between excellence and access was also reflected through the 1970s and 1980s in an often antagonistic battle between London and the regions represented by independent Regional Arts Associations (RAAs), which had been set up to

replace the Arts Council regional offices. The RAAs were in effect a partnership between local arts interests and Local Government. Whilst there was some regional variation, the basic system was similar; Local Authorities paid an annual subscription and this gave them membership on the RAA. Some concerns and puzzles This history tells us that excellence was thus not merely about artistic standards, it was also about access and increasingly about diversity. The arrival of New Labour in 1997 signalled a new more socially-oriented focus with Downing Street’s Policy Action Team 10 (PAT10) set up to focus on the contribution that sport and the arts can potentially make toward neighbourhood renewal followed more recently by a focus on participation levels in arts and the just-launched DCMS survey into the voluntary arts. There is much sense underlying McMaster’s report. No one in their right mind would say we don’t want the arts to be excellent. It’d be a bit like saying you don’t want your child to do well at school. But there are also some concerns and some puzzles. It seems no Local Authorities were consulted and the report lacks anything on Local Government’s role in the course he sets. And it is not clear how the excellence agenda dovetails with the social inclusion and participation agenda. The question now is who delivers and how will that be decided, by decree or through debate? Paul Kelly, Editor

An exhibition ofWalter Hanlon’s photos is on display at the National Portrait Gallery until July 2008

nalgao Magazine Spring 2008

When Tony Blair addressed the arts community last June, for the first and last time, he spoke of the last ten years as a “Golden Age” for the Arts in Britain. It’s true, government arts funding has increased significantly since 1997. But there must have been rumblings about funding systems and distribution that caused James Purnell, until recently Secretary f State for Culture, to commission a review by Sir Brian McMaster. Sir Brian’s brief was to look at • How the system of public sector support for the arts can encourage excellence, risk-taking and innovation. • How artistic excellence can encourage wider and deeper engagement with the arts by audiences and • How to establish a light touch and nonbureaucratic method to judge the quality of the arts in the future. McMasters’ response essentially says; don’t assess by statistics, assess on excellence by the level of innovation and risk-taking. Develop peer review, put more artists on the arts company boards and put funding bodies on interview panels. Build mentoring costs into organisational budgets and prioritise continuing professional development.

currently the subject of discussion within the DCMS.


The Context


The McMaster Review“Supporting Excellence In The Arts – from Measurement to Judgement” has already been well reported in the national press and in nalgao’s Ezine.Arts at the Heart outlines some of the background and issues that surround Sir Brian’s report and recommendations.

08 09 Ronnie Scott in 1953, photo: Walter Hanlon

Some Responses to the McMaster report Arts at the Heart sought responses to the report from an unscientific sample. Here’s what people said:


nalgao Magazine Spring 2008


National Campaign for the Arts

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The NCA welcomes the broad thrust of Sir Brian McMaster’s review, which advocates that, above all, it is the quality of the work leading to the quality of experience that should be the primary criterion for arts funding. However… There is much in the report that needs further clarification and examination. Sir Brian’s definitions of Excellence, Risk, and Innovation (leading to the inference that all innovation is good) need closer inspection. The NCA would like to know more about what McMaster envisages in practice when he recommends that ‘innovation and risk-taking be at the centre of the funding and assessment framework for every organisation, large or small.” The NCA would like to see a clear timetable and plan for how recommendations might be implemented, particularly the proposal that artists and practitioners should be at the heart of a peer review process of evaluation. The NCA is in consultation with members and will be responding to the McMaster review in detail in due course. Chloe Reddaway -

Sue Isherwood, Executive Officer, nalgao The mantra for McMaster is ‘excellence, innovation and risk taking’. From the local authority perspective excellence should be no problem. The problem words are “risk taking”. On the whole local authorities and their officers are extremely risk averse. The right to fail is a very hard one to sell to councillors as well. ACE’s Public Value consultation also revealed, that members of the public were concerned that investment is related to what local communities want and need. Here I think we start to come up against a problem for local authorities with McMaster’s recommendations. I can find no mention of community anywhere in the document. The other missing word for us is participation, that DCMS has managed to get into the 200 national PIs which will rule local authority lives for the next few years of performance management. Sue Isherwood

(LGA) Sir Brian’s conclusions herald a potential shift in government policy on public funding of the arts and culture. The LGA is concerned that the report makes no mention of the significance of local government as a supporter, promoter and patron

of the arts and culture. We are still formulating our detailed views on the report, in collaboration with nalgao. There is a potential impact on policy which could be on community development which is the local authority angle. But we are seeking to find out more about how the DCMS and its sponsored bodies are thinking of implementing Sir Brian’s recommendations before leaping to judgement. Lyndsey Swift, LGA –

Whilst applauding the headline intent, the poor recognition of the complexity of many of the concepts and issues under the spotlight is hugely disappointing and the language of the patrician old school of ‘gatekeeper’ alarming. Is this the kind of mindset that would inform the setting up of the proposed ‘knowledge bank’? The need for a joined up international strategy and the peer review question have been around for years yet they were presented as brand new. There's loads more I could say. MMM’s recommendations began with Abraham Lincoln’s famous quote: “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise to the occasion” I fear the McMaster Review has not. Clare Cooper -

Landmarks in English arts policy A selective list 1946






Arts Council of Great Britain formed

Arts Council of Great Britain closes its regional offices – ‘Few but roses’ policy

The First Regional Arts Associations formed South West Arts Association and the Midlands Arts Association

‘A Policy For The Arts’ Arts Minister Jennie Lee’s work. Consecutive funding increases to the Arts Council of 45% and 26% .

The Bains Report Bains reported on Local Government management and his recommendations helped bring about the establishment of proactive local authority leisure committees and departments.

The Beaford Declaration The first conference of professional arts centre managers and community artists meets at the ‘trail blazing rural arts centre in North Devon’ and issues a call for more inclusivity in the arts.

Rick Bond,The CompleteWorks I like McMaster’s refreshing principles. Naturally, my attention was directed to my own area of expertise – governance. So all boards should have two artists. Good – but this will only be truly effective if artists are properly inducted in the duties and responsibilities they assume when entrusted with the direction of a company. Equally, to sidestep potential in-house Armageddon's, the formal relationship between artist trustees and artistic directors must be agreed and understood – again – more training and induction. So, yes – excellent principles, but we must create the environment for them to be realised. Otherwise we could be encouraging instability rather than innovation. Rick Bond

Paul Kelly, Editor,Arts at the Heart

contextualisation can be equally dangerous, leading to all manner of post-modernist muddles. McMaster stresses the importance of innovation and risk. The best art has always pushed the boundaries and sought to go beyond the known and I think this is what he’s calling for. The main thing we need to now urge is that excellence is not limited to traditionalist views of high art. ‘The Sultan’s Elephant’ was excellent and millions thought it so. Paul Kelly –

Who Is Sir Brian McMaster? Born in Hertfordshire, Sir Brian McMaster read Law at Bristol University, Comparative Law at Strasbourg University and qualified as a solicitor, before studying on the first Arts Council of Great Britain’s course in Arts Administration. He worked for English National Opera (1973-76), was Managing Director at the Welsh National Opera (1976-91) and Artistic Director of the Vancouver Opera from (1984- 1989). He was appointed Director of the Edinburgh International Festival in 1991 until 2006 and was the longest serving Director since the Festival started in 1947. He is currently Chairman of the National Opera Studio, a member of the Arts Council of England, and has served as a judge for the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition since its inception. Brian McMaster was awarded the CBE in 1987 and a Knighthood in 2003. If you haven’t got a copy of the McMaster Report – it can be downloaded from: mcmaster_review.htm







The Glory of the Garden Luke Rittner’s (Secretary General, ACGB) review, brought about devolution, diversity and disability arts support

The Wilding Review Richard Wilding’s report led to abolition of 12 Regional Arts Associations and replacement by10 Regional Arts Boards with reduced Local Authority involvement

Arts Council of Great Britain abolished And the Arts Council of England, The Arts Council of Wales and Scottish Arts Council established

Department of Culture Media and Sport established

Arts Council of England absorbs the Regional Arts Boards into a new national body – Arts Council England.

The Arts Task Force (Conservative) and The McMaster Review (Labour)


nalgao Magazine Spring 2008


What the report doesn’t directly address is whether excellence is an absolute virtue or whether it is more relative and should be contextualised. Historically, excellence in the arts has tended to be viewed as an absolute virtue with a yardstick based on quite a traditional and narrow aesthetic palette. But this approach is not helpful in a diversified society and with an ever growing body of commercial and subsidised cultural goods. A fixed view of excellence and can re-inforce the ‘culture is not for us mentality’. Relativism and

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B of the Bang, Manchester by Thomas Heatherwick

Spring 2008

nalgao Magazine


cover feature the art of partnership

Public Art

Paul Kelly

percent of the capital cost for artworks. So, under % for art a £5 million development could provide £50,000 for a public art project. Public Art is by no means the only ‘community benefit’ to be supported by planning gain. Local Authorities have used it to fund children’s playgrounds, libraries, community centres, roads, bus shelters and a host of other projects. Such was the range of benefits offered by a supermarket for development in Plymouth that a rival challenged the bid and the case went all the way to the House of Lords.

Planning obligations = acceptable development

nalgao Magazine Spring 2008

A planning obligation must be: 1. Relevant to planning; 2. Necessary to make the proposed development acceptable in planning terms; 3. Directly related to the proposed development; 4. Fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the proposed development; and 5. Reasonable in all other respects. Obligations must also be so directly related to proposed developments that the development ought not to be permitted without them – for example, there should be a functional or geographical link between the development and the item being provided as part of the developer's contribution. This is only a very small part of the guidance and Local Authority Planning Officers should be familiar with the detail. As a result of the 2003 consultation paper, the Government had intended to introduce a “planning gain supplement” (PGS). This would be a ‘levy on development’ administered and collected by HM Revenue and Customs. However last Autumn Housing Minister Yvette Cooper announced that the Government had dropped this idea in favour of a statutory planning charge, or tariff. Ixia, the Arts Council funded public art thinktank, explains “the idea is that the tariff would

cover feature

So, to achieve planning gain for public art, it helps to have a policy towards public art in the Council’s Local Plan and helpful public art planning guidance for potential developers. However the law on planning gain may be about to change and this could have adverse effects for public art. The Government introduced a consultation paper - Contributing to sustainable communities: a new approach to planning obligations - in November 2003 and a briefing circular in July 2005. The circular states that “The principal objective of the planning system is to deliver sustainable development, through which key Government social, environmental and economic objectives are achieved.” Planning obligations, it states, are “intended to make acceptable development which would otherwise be unacceptable in planning terms”.


Development Trust and the Public Art Commissions agency are no more. But in their place, as it were, are a number of independent If ever there was an artform that requires and Arts Council agencies doing the same sort collaboration and partnership it is public art. of work and providing much needed advice. And unlike other collaborative artforms like These include: theatre and film at which attendance is optional, • Ixia – “The public art think tank” the stakes are raised, because the work is publicly • Artpoint Trust - “A catalyst for creative sited and, theoretically, anyone can see the work, thinking in public spaces” and have a view. • Cywaith Cymru - Artworks Wales As the excellent Public Art Online website says: • Art in Partnership in Scotland “Public Art is not an artform. It's a principle, a • Commissions North – part of the Arts Council principle of improving the changing environment • Public Art South West – part of the Arts Council through the arts and is a term given to the practice (Full contact details for all of these are listed in the of involving artists in the conception, development resources section on page 14) and transformation of a public space. It is In addition Arts Council Visual Arts Officers can specifically commissioned for a known site and its be a useful source of advice and a number of audience is the public or community, be it social or Local Authorities have appointed Public Art working, who occupy that space.” Officers or similar. Critique on commissioning Whilst it is perfectly possible to commission Devising and delivering a public art project can be and deliver a piece of public art as a single a complex matter, which very much depends on standalone project, the prevailing advice is that site, scale and resources. Local Authorities have a best practice and the best projects come from key role to play in all of this especially through authorities with good public art policies or their development and planning functions. Because strategies. Such authorities also have statements of the breadth and complexity of the subject we supporting public art in statutory local plans can’t possibly tell you all you need to know in a supplemented by more detailed planning relatively short feature like this. So, we’ve sought to guidance. These are needed as the key means of bring together some of the key issues you need to funding public art projects, are private and public think about and signpost you to places where you sector developers (the latter may be local can find more details. authorities themselves). More information on this Fortunately, there is much good information on is in the following section on planning law. The public art commissioning on the Internet – good news is that you don’t have to re-invent especially on two Arts Council originated sites – the wheel. Public Art South West’s excellent Public Art Online, developed and supported by Public Art Online website has 4 public art Public Art South West, a division of Arts Council policies, 19 public art strategies and 7 sets of England South West and the Commissions North public art planning guidance. Good advice can website, part of Arts Council England North East. also be found on other websites – see resources You will find more details listed in the Resources section for information. section of this feature. And in due course you will find all this information on nalgao’s own website. Funding, Planning Law and Planning Gain Further on you will find articles from Maggie Public art projects are often significant in size Bolt, Director of Public Art South West reflecting and can be expensive to implement. Many of on changes to the way public art is being delivered, them - pre, during and post-lottery capital Josie Appleton with a critique on the public sector’s funding – have been funded by “planning gain”. involvement in commissioning, a celebration of This is provision within planning legislation that ‘The Angel of the North’, possibly Britain’s best allows Local Authority planners to seek known piece of public art, 10 years old this month community benefits from private and public and six further public art case studies, showing just sector developments. The section of the 1990 how diverse the practice has become. (and 1991) Town and Country Planning Act that enables planning gain is section 106, which why Paul Kelly this means of funding public art is often referred Editor to as a ‘Section 106 agreement’. Section 106 agreements are voluntary. In the early 1990s the Current Issues and Resources Arts Council took QC’s advice on this and it was definitive. There is no compulsion on developers Structures and support to provide public art or community benefits. Yet Historically, if an artist wanted to put a work in they can be persuaded, sometimes to a very a public place or a public body wanted to do this, considerable extent. The normal starting point, they would just negotiate an agreement between which emerged from the USA and which was themselves. In the 1980s and 1990s several adopted by the Arts Council twenty years ago as agencies emerged to provide advice and an advocacy tool, was “percent for art”. This support to a growing level of activity, as well encouraged developers to contribute a minimum as managing commissions. The Public Art (though that bit is often forgotten) of one

What Is PublicArt?

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cover feature nalgao Magazine Spring 2008 ARTS AT THE HEART

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secure for communities a contribution from developers towards infrastructure that promotes sustainability. The tariff is seen in addition to Section 106 agreements. Ixia says “Whilst the Government claims the new system will generate more investment in communities, it raises a number of issues for public art, including: • How the tariff for public art will be calculated by each local authority. • Whether the tariff will effectively cap investment in public art. • How the funds will be distributed. And how public art policy and strategy will be integrated within the development plan process. • How the combination of a tariff and S106 planning obligations will affect the engagement of artists at the inception of developments. • The impact of the new system on the need for and roles of public art expertise in relation to either local authorities or developers. Last year, ixia conducted a detailed review of public art and the planning system and process in England, in consultation with artists, Local Authority public art and planning officers, planning consultants, public art consultants and developers. The review identifies that: • There is growing evidence of support for public art, but that its impact is limited by narrow definitions and restrictive practice • A vision, policy, strategy and expertise in public art are key strategic success factors • A consistent set of good practice principles has evolved, although are not consistently applied • New approaches to planning negotiation can open lateral opportunities to extend public art For further advice on planning gain, section 106 agreements and the possible changes, and details of where to find ixia’s report, see the resources section.

14 things to think about when commissioning Public Art 1. The Client 2. Artists 3. The Artist Brief 4. Selection procedure 5. An initial design proposal 6. Design development 7. Budgeting 8. Contracts 9. Planners and planning consent 10. Consultation with the public 11. Engineering considerations 12. Project and design management 13. Health and safety 14. Fabrication and installation With thanks to Commissions North, Arts Council England, North East. More details on most of these issues can be found here: /commissioning/

PublicArt Resources Organisations

Public Art South West – part of Arts Council England Tel: 01392 229227 Web: The Public Art Online site is full of useful information including: • 4 public art policies • 19 public art strategies • 7 lots of public art planning guidance • 46 illustrated project case studies • 4 public art leaflets • 3 public art packs and • Nearly 50 illustrated case studies plus practical advice covering Practical advice covering commissioning, artists, contracts and copyright, funding, local authorities and public art in healthcare Commissions North – part of Arts Council England Tel: 0191 255 8500 Web: The Commissions North Website has a very useful section on project guidelines and an extremely well structured visual showcase of public art projects in the North East. Ixia – “The public art think tank” Tel: 0121 622 4222 Web: Ixia’s website has access to new writing on public art and their report on the planning process, plus some links.

The Artpoint Trust – “A catalyst for creative thinking in public spaces” Tel: 01865 248822 Web: Their website includes a long list of artists they have worked with including artist website contacts where they exist Cywaith Cymru – Artworks Wales Tel: 029 2048 9543 Web: Their bi-lingual website has a well-illustrated section on work they have undertaken in Wales. Art in Partnership – Scotland’s public art commissions agency Tel: 0131 225 4463 Web: Their website carries some information about projects they have carried out in Scotland.

Debates and Conferences

Epithets Good and Bad

Art & Architecture Journal Held the 3rd National Public Art Conference – “Art in Public: The Culture of Possibilities” in December titled “The Culture of Possibilities” with many guest speakers. They have further events planned for 2008. – see for more details

For information on Section 106 Agreements ions/Section106PlanningObligationsNewGuidance For Information on Artist and Developer Contracts on Public Art Commissions ArtLaw Web: contracts/28332.htm Their website has some very useful and well researched pieces about contracts by Henry Lydiate, though they are around 10 years old now

Site specific Good public art projects work with the grain of their surroundings and respond to the nature of the site. With really good projects the site and the art are indistinguishable.

The Lipstick On The Gorilla An ugly building with some public art attached that seeks to redeem it. Does favours to neither the building nor the art. The phrase obviously derives from the USA.

The Turd In The Plaza A piece of art, possibly thought to be ugly, thoughtlessly sited in a public space with little though of context or engagement. A 1960s approach that can occasionally still be found today. Space restrictions mean that we have only been able to show small images of the public art works featured in this issue We will include large colour photos of the works featured here on the new nalgao website which will be launched in mid-April. The Kelpies at the Falkirk Wheel by Andy Scott

Curator or consultant? Particularly during the nineties, there was a growth of specialised public art agencies – resources who could act as an ‘honest broker’ between client and artist. There are now many companies and individuals, working within both the private and public sector, who provide strategic, curatorial and project management services. The debate about quality in the public realm continues to be one of great importance, and interestingly I have started to notice a change, or almost rift, becoming more prevalent between those who are ‘curators’ and those who are ‘consultants’ but that’s another article… The important thing to bear in mind is that public art is truly a moving target. Artists will always find new and challenging ways of operation and will resist definition and categorisation. It should also be stressed that public art is not an art form, it is simply a principle, of improving the changing environment through the arts. Therefore I eschew the term ‘public artist’ as I think artists will move in and out of this sphere of working as their work dictate. It’s just about learning a set of skills: content has to be paramount.

nalgao Magazine Spring 2008

When first asked to contribute an article on the changing face of public art, specifically within the last ten years – I had to do a mental double take – as it was approximately ten years ago that I moved down to the South West from working in Scotland and threw myself full time into the public art sector! It is fair to say that over the past ten to fifteen years there has been quite a shift in the perception of public art in this country. The launch of percent for art by the Arts Council in the early nineties was met with success in terms of local authority take up across the country, but mostly, they didn’t adopt a strategic approach, simply levied a percentage on some (but not all) developments that they could. The launch of the National Lottery provided a huge influx of money for public art commissioning and the early years were truly a honeymoon period - with millions going into public art projects around the country. But throwing money at something doesn’t

necessarily make it better. There were many issues around commissioning which all fed back to the lack of an initial research and development period and which in turn led to the artists’ contribution not achieving full integration with the overall building project. Much work needed to ‘educate’ commissioners and artists to understand each other’s goals and to enable the artist, (who was, more often than not, seen as the bringer of objects only) to be viewed as a conceptual thinker. So organisations like mine started to encourage a broader overview and to advocate for bringing artists into the overall development process rather than commissioning them once all the design work had been done. This does mean a more complicated process for artists to engage in – but the outcome is far more satisfactory. Now, it is generally accepted that public art is not simply bins, benches and bollards, not something which gets plonked into the spot marked x on the architects’ drawings, but a process of collaboration, consultation and one which strives to find really creative solutions to the issues surrounding the development.


Maggie Bolt, Director, Public Art South West gives a personal perspective of public art trends and approaches.

Alison Lapper on the Fourth Plinth by Marc Quinn

Changing practices

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Top. Parallax at Bristol Harbourside by Richard Box – photo: Tim Knowles Bottom. The Saltley Geyser by David Cotterrell. Photo: Grant Smith

Blue Road by Henk Hofstra, Photo: Henk Hofstra

cover feature nalgao Magazine Spring 2008 ARTS AT THE HEART

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For me, the current meaning of public art is the practice of involving artists in the conception, development and transformation of public space. Their work needs to relate to the context and be sensitive to the values held within that space, as the current critical debate around the fourth plinth in Trafalgar square aptly demonstrates. Public art should not treat the public realm as a large outdoor gallery into which major ‘names’ and works of art are ‘imported’. Rather, it should be an integral component of a built environment development, bringing meaning, resonance and relevance to the new places being created. I now think this form of working has been much more widely accepted as a way of contemporary art engaging with a very public and complex context. Public art can define the social, political and geographical context of a place. The artist Vito Acconci summed it up when he said “Art isn't necessary anymore as a field, a profession; art is no longer a noun, it [has] become a verb. Art is nothing but a general attitude of thickening the plot.” Through schemes such as PROJECT – engaging artists in the built environment - artists have been brought in as creative thinkers working very closely with the disciplines of architecture and urban design. Whilst this affiliation between public art and urban design has been welcomed by some as a way of achieving an integrated approach, it has also meant a change in agendas. Changes in policy have twisted and contorted the artists’ role; particularly in the public domain, where social inclusivity and social outcomes have become a priority. Artists have become activists and advocates for all sorts of communities and issues. The clients and stakeholders have complicated needs and aspirations and an artist can find their skills and work being applied to situations as diverse as overcoming social difference, re-branding

range of ways in which creative individuals engage in contexts and create a variety of interventions. The desire for major landmarks continues to Commodification and grow – but (thankfully) the debate about the compromise contrivance and therefore insubstantiality of This way of working can also lead to uncertainty wishing to create ‘iconic works’ grows with it. for the client and artist if the artists’ role is not Lessons from European and international models clearly articulated; there can be confusion over will continue to filter through. We would do well to expectation and purpose; a hesitancy amongst look at models like the public art programme in clients (council leaders, local authority officers, Vancouver and the way in which temporary projects developers) to allow interference from these “risky lead to debate and real change. For example the individuals”, concerned that their proposal will ‘Blue Road’ by Henk Hofstra (in Drachten, Holland) prove controversial with the public. And perhaps made a very simple and low cost ‘urbanistic gesture’ for the urban design professional, a fear that having to reinforce the street as a space and a place, and at to accommodate and include the thoughts of an the same time raises issue of life-cycle costing and artist will slow the process down and not present the environment. So I foresee public art projects realistic solutions. engaging with the growing awareness of carbon foot From the artists’ perspective, fuller integration prints, vouchers and zero emission developments, into the development process has raised issues which in turn will lead to some extraordinarily around commodification and compromise. There creative and exciting solutions. is a concern that full amalgamation can result in Public art practice will continue to evolve and such a blurring of the boundaries that the essence grow – we just all need to leave doors and minds of what an artist is and brings, becomes lost in a wide open... corporate sea. I think there is evidence that artists © Maggie Bolt are starting to turn away from the public art Public Art South West sector, and the sheer complexity of engaging in Tel: 01392 229227 email: the whole regeneration and sustainable References:community agenda. No matter how unrestrictive briefs attempt to be, artists are increasingly looking to be setting the Research undertaken by Natalie Woolf on behalf of PASW into Urban Design briefs and contexts rather than responding to them. It is ironic that now the built environment The Editor writes: sector, local authorities and national bodies like Public Art South West, has been directly funded CABE are far more supportive of working with by Arts Council England, South West and its artists, the pool of artists wanting and willing to predecessor, South West Arts for the past ten work in this way is getting smaller. years. It, perhaps ironically occurs in the recent So future trends? Well, I think there will be a list of ACE ‘non-renewables’ which means to stay ‘backlash’ in terms of the ‘rules of engagement’ in business in future, it will have to bid for ACE for artists – and maybe a breakdown of the term managed funds. ‘artist’ as it just does not seem to cover the failing cities or used as new iconic symbols to fit the developers’ portfolio.

Sophie Hughes

In 2008, as Gateshead celebrates the Angel’s tenth birthday, the borough looks back at the journey of this northern icon. It began in the early 1980s when Gateshead Council first decided to take art to the public because it did not have a contemporary art gallery of its own. The early works were so successful that in 1986 a formal public art programme was launched. During the programme’s 26 year history Gateshead Council has commissioned over 80 works of art, implemented a programme of artists’ residencies and championed educational initiatives. These have all contributed to bridging the gap between commissioning procedures, creative processes, finished artwork and community involvement.


The Public Art Journey

The vast media attention achieved a change in wider public perceptions of the North East and Gateshead in particular. Jobs in heavy industry and coal mining could be replaced, but negative stereotypes endured. In getting people to mention the words 'Gateshead' and 'art' in the same sentence, The Angel of the North did more to help bring about image change than almost anything else. Above all The Angel evoked an opinion in almost everyone in Gateshead and the wider region about what art is for and why we should have it. The Angel is now seen as an integral art of the landscape that enhances the fabric of the urban framework and perhaps more importantly has found its place in northern affections. Three months after its installation, Newcastle United fans played a spectacular tribute to their hero Alan Shearer by hoisting a replica of his shirt onto the 65ft sculpture using fishing line, rubber balls and catapults. The shirt only stayed up for 20 minutes until police arrived but the incident marked a profound moment of local acceptance.

Like many pieces of contemporary public art, The Angel of the North initially polarised public opinion on all levels. The hardest barrier to overcome was to convince Gateshead of the intrinsic and symbolic value that public art can bring locally, nationally and internationally. The Angel education and outreach programme which was managed by Gateshead Council’s arts development team, worked locally with primary and secondary schools and community groups in Gateshead as well as with regional universities to directly involve individuals in the larger creative process.

nalgao Magazine

Impact on a Community

"It's as inspirational and hardy as our ships, as unique as our skills and as welcoming as our people. Love it” What People are saying about The Angel:

Spring 2008

Since its installation in 1998, the image of the Angel of the North has been widely used in the media, in business and in government as a regeneration icon for a post-industrial North East. The sculpture itself stands without a spotlight, its foundations in a former coal colliery, in a working landscape of factories and football fields, tower blocks and terraces overlooking the A1 trunk road. As with many of Gateshead’s public art commissions it is underpinned by a simple lore; it is rooted in history, it takes its stand in the present and it represents the future. However Gateshead's Angel of the North is special for two reasons. It is seen as a working example of how art can boost a region’s development economically, through attracting investment and culturally, through altering community perception of the value of art in everyday life.

public art case studies

The Impact of An Angel

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“The Angel bears witness to the hundreds and thousands of colliery workers who had spent the last three hundred years mining coal beneath the surface. the people of a society locating and describing self-determination, identity, and common ownership." Antony Gormley The Legacy of an Angel

forefront of its ambition. This process brought collective lessons about the importance of having a vision. Awards such as the Beacon Status for Regeneration through Culture, Sport and Tourism in 2001 added value to the profile of Gateshead and resulted in promotional material being produced about arts-led regeneration. Gateshead Council learnt that public art, in all its forms, reflects and creates a valued environment. Politically the success of the Angel today has become a workable model for economic revival across Europe. It has resulted in huge investment over the last ten years, which has made an incredible impact on the lives of local people.

Gateshead’s Continuing PublicArt Programme

The public art programme has a dedicated public art officer post and lead artist in Gateshead and continues to put an emphasis on transforming social spaces by incorporating local history and The Angel as a Role Model culture. This is illustrated in a recent sculpture by The Angel of the North is often used as an artist Peter Coates commemorating local 19th example of art as a catalyst for change. What is century fiddler James Hill. understood by those who were involved is that The piece was a suggestion of Gateshead estate this project took strong vision and determination agent Rod Matthews, also a fiddle player and to bring it to fruition. In 1998 Gateshead was the founder of 'Friends of James Hill'. The large stone 46th most deprived authority in England, it was fiddle rests on the bank leading from Gateshead characterised by poor health, a declining town centre to the foot of the Sage Gateshead population, high unemployment, poor economy steps. The new memorial set in motion a and deep-rooted social issues. The traditional programme of fiddle music at The Sage Gateshead industries of heavy engineering, shipping and coal and continues to act as a reminder to the public of mining had declined or ceased. the talented local individuals who have gone before. The intention to create a Landmark sculpture The public art programme also involves large was the first time the Council put art at the numbers of the local community as

demonstrated by Christine Constant’s ‘Tyne Wave’ (2004), a vibrant mosaic ceramic panel depicting scenes from the North East. It enhances the entrance to The Red Mall from the multi-storey car park. The work involved 700 local people who each designed a ceramic tile based on what they enjoy about the North East. The project gave participants opportunity to own their own piece of public art. The resulting work forms an undulating wave made up of hundreds of segments of individual local pride. However, no other event exemplifies Gateshead’s continuing commitment to community involvement more than Sculpture Day. Now in its 22 year, Sculpture Day invites the entire community to come and try their hand at sculpture alongside local artists. Wood, nails and hammers are provided with a yearly theme such as Angels and Demons. Families and individuals are given free reign to explore their artistic talents with local artists on hand to give guidance if required. The success of this event lies in the hands on experience of creating and making art.

Sophie Hughes Gateshead Arts Development Team with information provided by Anna Pepperall, Public Art Curator, Gateshead Council. 0191 433 6967 email: Websites:

Seven Facts About The Angel 1. Over 150,000 people visit The Angel of the North site per year and 33 million people see it very year. 2. It weighs 208 tonnes and sits in 20-metre deep foundations with 700 tonnes of concrete and 32 tonnes of reinforcing steel anchoring it to the solid rock beneath.

3. The Angel is made of 3,253 pieces of weather resistant Cor-ten steel. 4. The sculpture was designed to withstand winds of more than 100 miles per hour. 5. There is enough steel in The Angel of the North to make 16 double decker buses or four Chieftain tanks.

6. It is believed to be the largest Angel sculpture in the world and its wingspan is bigger than a Boeing 757 or 767 jet and almost the same as a Jumbo jet. 7. The total cost of the Angel was £800,000 and it took four years to design and manufacture and took 20 men six months to assemble.


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Public opinion further improved towards the sculpture once it was possible to measure the tangible benefits that the Angel had created. Art is now seen as an integral part of the development and regeneration of Gateshead, encouraging investment and creating a strong identity and a sense of pride throughout the region. The Angel of The North is seen as the precursor to a £600m urban redevelopment of Gateshead, which includes the £22m Gateshead Millennium Bridge (opened March 2001), the £46m BALTIC: The Centre for Contemporary Art (opened July 2002) and the £70m Sage Gateshead (opened December 2005). A £25m Hilton Hotel has also been built between the Tyne Bridge and the High Level Bridge. In total this has created approximately 1,550 jobs. The Angel and its legacy has put Gateshead on the map and marked the beginning of a new creative and progressive era.

18 19 The Angel of the North under construction and in situ. All photos of the Angel of the North courtesy of Gateshead Arts Development Team

Christine Constant’s ‘Tyne Wave’

Light Wall at The Lights, Andover by Malcolm Buchanan-Dick

pARTnership in Hampshire Positive impact on property sales In addition to live projects, we created an annual seminar/forum programme called ‘Sense of Place’. The first forum took place in Winchester in September 2006 in partnership with the Arts Council South East and the South East of England Development Agency. This was the first creative forum of its kind in Hampshire aimed at senior executives from the private and public sector. The event successfully brought together developers and key council representatives to talk about how creative practice and good design can work in volume housing for the benefit of the community with a positive impact on property sales. With high quality presentations from architects muf, developers, Urban Splash and South East England Development Agency, the event achieved its primary aim of attracting senior representatives from both local authorities and housing developers and raising issues around how we firmly integrate culture and arts into the complexities of the regeneration process. The second forum in June 2007 was held in Portsmouth, which again attracted senior officers and executives from councils and the private sector. Red or Dead founder and now Chair of Building for Life, Wayne Hemingway spoke to the Forum about projects he was involved in. Hemingway and his wife, Geraldine, made their debut as housing designers on a new estate in Gateshead called Staiths. They were invited to design it by

housebuilder George Wimpey, after Hemingway criticised the quality of Wimpey's homes as dull and soulless. He inspired and antagonised the forum into thinking in a ‘can do’ sort of way to design issues and how we can demand better housing, places and spaces that identify with the place they are in. Desirable, effective and simple but so often difficult to achieve. The public art group wants to continue beyond the original three year vision. We are now planning all sorts of events, websites, tools and forums to grow out across the South East region. After all, we’ve had it good in Hampshire for three years and now it’s time to share our toys.

Gerry Wall Public Art Consultant & Public Art Officer Portsmouth City Council

nalgao Magazine Spring 2008

masterplanning or design. We now have some great examples of what can be achieved through this way of working. The network we have established also offers great benefits – we know our neighbours and aren’t afraid to ask for advice or lunch. This really is joined up thinking and it’s oh so good to talk.


Public Art is always hard – even when the result is simply amazing or just brimming with good old controversy. When you work in this field, commissioning public art, it’s often a lonely battle, especially in a Council environment where all too often silo working is a major barrier to getting everyone as equally overjoyed about what public art actually is, and what transformations it can bring about. Public art engages communities – it’s not just buzz, it’s true! In Hampshire we got lucky thanks to the formation of a multi-Council led umbrella arts partnership entitled ‘Joint Investment Fund’ (JIF). One of the main aims of JIF was that, by working together, the partnership had greater potential for its work to be innovative and ambitious and for it to make longer-term strategic plans with a wider geographic spread. Each participating Council contributed financially to the big JIF pot which was match funded by Arts Council England, South East and overseen by Hampshire County Council. This gave us a fairly major budget to play with across the County and also meant that we could share the pot between key art development areas - the public art group formed under the title of ‘Vital Neighbourhoods’. The aim of the public art strand was to address the ongoing concerns arts professionals have over accessing community regeneration programmes, partnership working, the role of public art in urban and rural renewal and how the arts contribute to local distinctiveness whilst promoting culture in all its glorious diversity. Each of the public art participating councils in Hampshire (a mix of unitary, district, borough and County Councils) received funding from JIF of £13,000. For many this bought a valuable place at the regeneration table. For some it levered in other significant funding or bought artists in to work on early stage

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Gerry Wall

Sense of Place 2 Forum walking on the glass floor of the Spinnaker Tower Photo: Giles Babbidge.

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rightening up Boscomb

Gill Horitz On a busy Saturday morning people out shopping in Boscombe’s Sovereign Centre paused to look at an exhibition of designs for a new town centre building developed by East Dorset Housing Association (EDHA). On display were architectural drawings for a new ground floor library with twenty four affordable one and two bedroom flats over four storeys. Accompanying the exhibition were representatives from the project partners, EDHA, Bournemouth Borough Council’s Arts Development and Library Service, as well as artist, Jeff Pigott, selected to develop the first phase of a community based public art project, to create decorative panels on the hoardings around the building site. What’s clear from an occasion like this, is that people want to discuss cultural and creative ideas which relate to their locality, its amenities and possible change to public spaces. This kind of spontaneous interaction engages with people who might not attend a more formal meeting. Not only did people offer views about the role of public buildings and the importance of good design, they were keen to discuss the function of libraries within a community, and the value of books and reading in raising the spirit, and combating loneliness.

‘Books are my saviour’ Involving an artist at this early consultative stage was one of the project’s key aims. Apart from chatting, Jeff Pigott encouraged people to write and draw ideas. Children drew favourite characters and designs for the layout of libraries, including floor cushions and cafes, and discussed book preferences and the disappointments of unsuccessful translations from book to film. And all on a Saturday morning in a busy shopping precinct. ‘Books are my saviour’ said one woman. ‘They get me away from reality, reading and thinking it in your mind,’ said another. Following further creative sessions with students at Bethany and St Clements Schools, Jeff designed a series of panels which were positioned on the hoardings around the building site, following demolition of the original library. The ‘unveiling’ of the hoarding designs by the Mayor, was an opportunity to draw attention to the project, to get people interested in the second phase to design panels to decorate the walls of a bicycle store situated at the main entrance to the flats and library. Young people and staff from libraries were involved in selecting lead artist, Peter Dunn. One of the main criteria for selection was that the artist should have experience

and understanding of community consultation as well as art form expertise. Peter led a series of workshops with local groups on the theme of identity and place, with support from a local artist selected as a continuing professional development opportunity. People’s responses to both the interim hoardings and the final glass and steel panels have been wholeheartedly positive; those familiar early cries of ‘they’ll be ruined by vandalism and graffiti’ have proved unfounded. In one of the county’s most socially deprived area the works remain untouched, due no doubt to the fact people see the relevance in work of this kind, how it connects with the history of place as well as with lives today. At night, backlighting creates a vibrant beacon of colour in a dark street, welcoming residents to their homes. And by day, sunlight illuminates drawings, shapes and text on glass and etched steel, encouraging people to look directly at marks made by local people, as they enter the library. The work – in its significant central site – acts as a permanent ‘advocate’ for the way public spaces are enriched and enlivened by experienced artists working with residents and their strong views about the quality of living places.

Gill Horitz Arts Development Officer Bournemouth Borough Council Tel: 01202 451805 email: For more information about the project:


Key Opportunities

The project was: • A partnership between East Dorset Housing Association, Bournemouth Libraries, Bournemouth Borough Council Arts Development. • Developed and managed as part of Bournemouth Borough Council’s Arts Development programme. • Funded by a combination of private finance raised by East Dorset Housing Association, social housing grant from Bournemouth Borough Council, a grant allocation from the Housing Corporation and Arts council of England.

This project was developed during the twelve month building period. A successful application to Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts by East Dorset Housing Association emphasised the following key opportunities: • To develop a model of good practice, involving key stakeholders engaging meaningfully with each other’s services. • To raise the profile of the new Bournemouth Public Art Development Plan • To encourage understanding about the process of developing public art • To encourage residents to express ideas about identity and sense of place • To recruit a placement artist to work with the lead artist • To raise the profile of artists working in the field of public art

Noted landmark The importance of design was a key artistic thread. The residents group were involved in the decisions regarding lighting, seating and interpretation. A wooden sculpture was chosen by the residents and created by a sculptor who involved the community in the carving. Young people worked with artists to develop and create a piece of art that was installed inside the mill. This feature has been the single most important way that has sustained the project over the last four years. Every 18 months or so the artwork has been replaced to instil interest and ownership by new groups of young people who are frequenting the park. This also adds the interest for adults driving into Kidderminster and the mill is becoming a noted landmark at a gateway into the town. It is significant that the artwork is not robustly protected from any attempts of vandalism and they, thankfully, have been limited to two occasions. The Thrill at The Mill celebration event was an artistic collaboration of dance, music and creative art which involved the whole community bringing in

excess of 2,000 people into the park one evening culminating in a superb fireworks display. The impact of this project is measurable by the way the community now use and value the park. There are daily rotas for litter picks and watering the new summer bedding. The Friends paint out any graffiti immediately and the group has raised a further £70,000 themselves to make more improvements to the park including artist- led design of bespoke fencing and signage. Proof of the success is that people now walk through the park at all hours of the day and night in a safe and clean environment. Cars stop by the roadside to see the newly installed waterwheel and recent lighting installation featuring an array of fish that have been created by local groups led by artists. The Mill has now become the focal point for events held in the park like Christmas Markets, play schemes and events. For Chinese New Year it hosted a big celebration which the local community supported in strength. Public art is at the heart of this regeneration project and although it is a small scheme it has made a big difference to the lives of local people.

nalgao Magazine Spring 2008

community spirit. It is also clear that the impact of the arts across the project has engaged all ages and has ensured that the community continues to focus on the park and make more and more improvements.


Loz Samuels In a very ordinary district in Worcestershire something very extraordinary has happened. Community cohesion and social action are easy to say but very difficult to achieve. Yet the residents of Broadwaters in Kidderminster have proved that they can make real change in their community. Initiated by Heritage Lottery Funding, Wyre Forest District Council led a project to revitalise the remains of the old mill in the local park. A constantly vandalised crumbling structure, the building was a magnet for anti social behaviour, litter and graffiti. It was an extremely unpleasant area to look at and walk past and had no value to the community. The project itself involved repairs to the mill, removing ivy and re-roofing and pointing works, lighting, seating; interpretation, leaflets and a history book. It also involved a snap shot in time photography project to capture images of residents, a wooden historical sculpture of a mill worker, an art mural and a “Thrill at the Mill” event. A Friends of the Park group was started to help shape the project and make decisions on what local people wanted. It has been clear to those of us that work within the District that the project at Broadwaters has made a significant impact on the local community improving quality of life by raising standards and engendering a strong

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Thrill at the Mill

Loz Samuels Arts and Play Development Officer Wyre Forect District Council T: 01562 732977 email:

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utilising the resources of others, so it was crucial that good relationships were established during the commissioning process and also maintained throughout the duration of the project.


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Alex Wright

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Designed and commissioned by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, In Transit 2007 was a unique series of artist-led walks, talks and events. Aimed at uncovering the borough’s hidden gems and the more unusual and less visited spaces, the activities were based around the themes of movement and journeys. The events were advertised across London and included artists from outside the borough and within. By employing a non-static approach, participants were able to combine culture with outdoor activity in a fun and relaxed way. Moving away from the traditional concert hall or art gallery, participants were able to engage with contemporary art in a non-threatening setting. This non-traditional approach was key in attracting those people who would normally

feel that contemporary art “isn’t for them”. The programmed walks were, by their nature, uniquely participatory. All attendees were able to come away having taken part in an arts event. Many of the walks took people through parts of the borough that are not so well known, increasing the flow of visitors to these areas and extending people’s expectations of the borough’s make-up. The group events also allowed the borough’s residents to mix and to jointly experience a sense of pride of place; aiding community cohesion between different resident groups. When putting together the series of events, it was important to ensure that the programme was not in direct competition with the activities of the borough’s artists or arts organisations. As part of the conception stage, information about the programme was circulated, inviting arts organisations to put forward suggestions for taking part. In Transit was almost entirely street-based,

Haunting atmosphere

The final programme consisted of twelve walks, as well a film night, an arts trail, a series of podcasts and a debate around the role of arts in public space. The woods of Holland Park came alive during the Haunted Park Walk . This was an audio visual experience exploring our preconceived notions of haunting, the force of nature and the power of the imagination. The creation of appearing dancing spectres, spooky sounds and giant bugs through creative sound and lighting, as well as ghostly story telling, provided a haunting atmosphere for the walkers. Building on the concept of an artist-led walk, the Treasure Trail led walkers around the North Kensington arts trail. This is located in a part of the borough which is currently in a state of regeneration and is not often visited, including by the residents of other wards. Interacting with their surroundings in a new way, participants

Year round podcasts The use of new technology played an important role in ensuring the programme retained its fresh and innovative approach to art in the public realm. A year round series of podcasts available to download from the Council’s website were commissioned. The podcasts focussed on

• Next time we will have back-up plans in case of bad weather. • We need to space events further apart to allow for the considerable time commitments on staff. • Many of the In Transit walks were restricted to small groups. In 2008 we plan to continue a balanced programme of large and small, but perhaps repeat the smaller events.

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As this was a pilot programme, there are inevitably lessons to be learnt for the future:

nalgao Magazine Spring 2008

followed the treasure trail by looking out for the stories tucked away en route and followed the clues that told the hidden tales of the neighbourhood. These included sonic clues created by sound pad installations. There was also the opportunity for participants to create their own story, which was illustrated by the places and artworks discovered during the trail. A fresh and innovative approach to art in the public realm was employed in the Sonic Walk . Each walker was issued with a recordable MP3 player and a sonic map and sent forth to collect sounds from around the area. The event aimed to increase people’s awareness of the sonic, as well as the visual, as an important part of public space. To introduce the participants to the world of sound, the walk started with a private view of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra rehearsing. The walk then culminated in a live performance at the Muse Gallery, with the singers and musicians improvising over the participants’ collected soundscapes.

different areas and aspects of the borough, with an emphasis on drawing out the hidden and unusual. The podcasts included Portobello Pop Walks by local historian, music journalist and film critic Tom Vague. Overall, In Transit was a success. Approximately 1,000 people attended the various events in total. This figure is not including the many more who downloaded the podcasts and also those that walked the North Kensington arts trail by themselves using the downloadable map. Many participants said they enjoyed doing something new, whether it was engaging in a new artistic activity for the first time, visiting a part of Kensington and Chelsea that they had never been to before or simply looking at the borough with a fresh pair of eyes. We are looking forward to the prospect of In Transit 2008 and taking the programme even further. There are still many areas of the Royal Borough to discover and still more exciting ways to do this. Through In Transit, we aim to stimulate art in the public realm and for the borough of Kensington and Chelsea to be viewed as a place where contemporary art is encouraged and embraced. AlexWright Arts Information Officer Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea For further details about In Transit 2008 please contact Abby Viner, Arts Development Officer at or Miriam Nelken, Arts Development Officer at


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Sunderland, cit

y of light and Sta dium of Light

Lighting up the City


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Zoë Channing

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Three exciting projects supported by Sunderland City Council are set to join an existing collection of over 150 individual artworks located throughout the city. The City Council is working with partners on a major programme of public art commissions, helping to add significant value to key projects which are transforming the city. Artworks at the new Sunderland Aquatic Centre, on the 'C2C' cycle route which finishes at Roker Beach and at the Sunderland Empire Theatre are bringing artists from afar and a new dimension to public art in the city and each of them uses or has been inspired by or is associated with light.

Stadium Park GasVents The Gas Vents project is a major new public art commission proposed for Stadium Park, one of nine sites earmarked for future development by Sunderland City Council and Sunderland Arc – the city’s urban regeneration company. Two vents, which are owned and managed by the Coal Authority, allow for the safe escape of mine gases from the former Wearmouth Colliery which lies below the existing site. The vents are positioned close to the Stadium of Light, Sunderland’s landmark football ground, and the site of the new Sunderland Aquatic Centre, a £20 million state of the art 50m swimming pool and wellbeing centre, due to open in Spring 2008. Looking to the opening of the new centre, Sunderland City Council has funded a public art commission to create a bold new feature for the Stadium Park site which will visually transform the gas vents, while also allowing them to continue to function safely. In September 2007 four artists (two European and two UK based) were offered the challenge of transforming the vents. From the four resulting design proposals, presented to a selection panel in

January, German artist duo Winter and Hoerbelt were selected to take their ideas forward to a detailed design stage. “We want to make a work which has subtle reference both to the former mining heritage of the site and to its new focus on sporting activity and achievement.” Said artists Winter and Hoerbelt. “Our aim is to add an element of human inspiration and to create a new artistic symbol for this architecturally distinctive area, which makes a social link between the people and the stunning buildings of the new Aquatic Centre and its neighbour the Stadium of Light.” Winter and Hoerbelt are based in Frankfurt and in Munster. Working together since 1992, they have exhibited widely in Europe, as well as in Asia and the USA. They are well known internationally for their ‘Cratehouse’ and ‘Basket’ architectural-scale sculptures using recycled and industrial materials. Subject to planning permission and final agreement on the designs the Stadium Park Gas Vents art work is due to be installed in Autumn 2008.

Sunderland Empire Flytower The Sunderland Empire Theatre, which celebrated its centenary in 2007, is a stunning piece of Edwardian architecture and interior design. The theatre’s flytower is a contemporary replacement that allows Sunderland to play host to the largest west-end productions, the only city between Manchester and Edinburgh with this capability. While much needed, this is a prominent feature on the city centre skyline with little stylistic connection to the rest of the theatre. In order to transform the appearance of the flytower, the co-owners of Sunderland Empire, Sunderland City Council and Live Nation are funding a major public art commission. The brief to artists is to take the magical atmosphere of the Sunderland Empire and transpose or

reinterpret it for an external site. In achieving this, the artwork will celebrate the theatre and create a distinctive feature on the city’s skyline. Four of the UK’s most innovative creative practitioners were invited to develop outline proposals and, following an extensive exhibition and public consultation process, architects Tonkin Liu and interior designers Timorous Beasties have been contracted to develop their ideas further. Glasgow-based interior designers Timorous Beasties have proposed creating a new ‘wallpaper’ design based on archive and on-site research into the Sunderland Empire. Photographs, architectural motifs and other details will be assembled to create a unique pattern which will be printed on aluminium panels and affixed to the Flytower. These panels will be backlit, and at night a secondary ‘pin-prick’ design will be revealed – effectively creating a second artwork. London-based architects Tonkin Liu have proposed to celebrate the theatregoer by recreating an audience scene. They will create sculptural audience hands which will spin in the wind, appearing to applaud the theatre. The clapping hands should add interest and animation to the artwork, which will be dramatically lit at night. A final selection of the proposals is expected in June with the artworks installed in 2009.

C2C Cycleway. The 140 mile long sea to sea (C2C) cycleway runs from the Cumbrian coastline and ends on the north bank of the River Wear at Roker Beach. Developed by Sustrans, it is “Britain's most popular long distance cycle route” with up to15,000 cyclists completing the entire route each year. Sunderland City Council has secured funding to undertake a strategic public art and landscaping design programme for the final stretch of the route. The brief to artists requested three

cover feature nalgao Magazine Spring 2008 ARTS AT THE HEART

commissions along the cycleway: one to be located under the Wearmouth Bridge to signal the start of the end of the route; waymarkers from that point to form a series of countdowns, building anticipation of the finish point; and at Roker Beach, the end point of the C2C, a celebratory piece that provides a photo opportunity for cyclists to mark their achievement. Liverpool based artist Andrew Small was selected to take outline design proposals through to completion. Andrew was influenced by the fact that the route is located alongside the 1,300 year old St Peter’s Church which together with St Paul’s in Jarrow is to be the UK’s nomination for UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2010. The twin Anglo-Saxon monastery of Wearmouth-Jarrow was home to the Venerable Bede. The artist felt that Bede’s calculations of the motions of the sun and the moon remain influential to this day and this provided the inspiration for his work. The first piece, located under the bridge, will represent a sun and from that point the waymarkers will carry orbiting animations on lenticular floor panels positioned to the planets relative distances from the Sun commission ending at the final sculpture. The celebratory end commission made of granite marks the end of the C2C and is a companion piece linked also by form to the Sun commission. The piece coincides with the end point of the scaled solar system and looks out to the unknown, re-framing and recontextualising Roker Pier Lighthouse through the sculpture’s shutter-inspired portal form. The artworks are expected to be installed in early Autumn 2008. Zoë Channing Assistant Head of Culture & Tourism Sunderland City Council Tel 0191 514 8459 E.mail:

and above) asties ( e B s u imoro ire by T nd Emp la r e d Sun als for Propos

Liu ( Tonkin


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InvisibleWorld Channel 4’s Big Art Project Burnley

The Team


nalgao Magazine Spring 2008

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As soon as Burnley knew it had won, Kerenza Hines was appointed as the Curator and Big Art Launched in October 2005, Channel 4’s Big Art Co-ordinator for Burnley quickly followed by Project invited communities to bid for funds myself, Paul Hartley, as the Youth Engagement to create a landmark piece or pieces of public Officer. The Curator’s role overall is to ensure the art. Seven communities were selected, quality delivery of the project, which includes amongst them, Burnley. Paul Hartley, supporting the artists’ commission and delivering describes the project about to be unveiled the project within the timescale. My role is to to an expectant town. support the young people throughout the project, which includes personal development, We wanted to get young people in Burnley skills and training. Creative Partnerships who involved in commissioning a piece of public art in helped devise the bid and Burnley Borough the Burnley town centre, and also draw together Council are working together to help ensure the residents and dedicated community workers project aligns to schools , local neighbourhood from three diverse residential areas which are objectives and to secure as many positive currently undergoing a rigorous regeneration opportunities for Burnley from this project as programme and involve artists in these areas. possible. We also have a steering group made up of interested parties whom we report to on a bi-monthly basis.

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The Process We started with quite a large group of around 30 young people, and undertook an intense programme of workshops and group development work, undertaking explorations in art in the public realm, meeting artists and learning about neighbourhood awareness. But we then slimmed this down and are working with a core team of 15 individuals aged between 12 and 17 so we could work in a more focussed way in commissioning the artist and the level of understanding required to make that decision. All these young people attend one of the four Building Schools for the Future schools drawn from our three housing market renewal areas.

The Commissioning Programme

The Major commission

The community commission

Unlike the other Big Art sites around the country, Burnley doesn’t have just one specific site. We have a whole town to consider, three neighbourhoods to involve and a host of social issues with which we want and will needed to engage with. It soon became clear that to expect an artwork or an artist to take this all on board, as well as to expect the young people to keep an engaged level of understanding and ownership, might run the risk of diluting the artwork and under representing, or at worst trivialising the complexity of Burnley as it goes through this challenging time. So, we decided to split the project into a main commission for the town centre and a community commission where three artists will work in residence with communities across the three housing market renewal areas.

Through a process of selection the young people favoured and chose Greyworld, led by Andrew Shoben to deliver the major commission for Burnley town centre. Greyworld’s practice is to create new media interventions in the public realm and as they describe on their website “…to create works that articulate public spaces, allowing some form of self-expression in areas of the city that people see every day but normally exclude and ignore”. The group instantly took to Greyworld’s straightforward simple, ideas and the sense of fun and mischief they evoke in all that participate in them. It was this simplicity and the value of bringing people through enjoyment and delight that struck a chord with our group and made a compelling argument for why this should happen in Burnley. On the 14th March 2008, the Burnley Big Art Project will launch its piece of artwork created by Greyworld around sites all over Burnley town centre. The artwork has been given the simple name ‘Invisible’. Exactly what it will look like remains a closely guarded secret until the celebration and launch event, but I can tell you, it will be a truly fantastic commission uncovering hidden corners and grey spaces bringing a little wonder and magic to them.

The neighbourhood commission has been led by a joint community steering group, which involves representation from the schools, community representatives and partners from the three priority neighbourhood areas. We have decided to have three artists in residence based within the three neighbourhoods, engaging members of the community across generations over February and March. The artists will be placed within an anchor organisation, within the neighbourhood to provide the artist with a local context. The second part to the community engagement programme is to have a venue in the town centre for the whole of March. This space will have a diverse program of activities, exhibitions and workshops and be an outlet for the artists in residence to show what they have been doing. The venue will be a vibrant location for young people and all members of community to come and spend time, as well as a place to find out more about the Big Art Project and the Greyworld commission. Paul Hartley, Community Engagement Officer, Big Art Project in Burnley Email: Burnley’s Big Art project ‘Invisible’ is launched at 6pm on Friday March 14 2008 in Burnley Town Centre. A major Channel 4 series chronicling progress towards the artwork will be broadcast later this year.

nalgao Magazine Spring 2008

“I really enjoyed the Manchester Car Art Parade commissioned by Walk the Plank. Artists from all over the country changed cars into pieces of art. My favourite car was the ‘Fossil Fuelled Digger’, that was a metal triceratops mounted on a digger.” Sam,Young Person on the Big Art Project. “Borwick Hall was the best because I felt very self conscious before but now, when we started the teambuilding activities I felt more comfortable after.” Lesedi,Young Person on the Big Art Project “When we went to Liverpool we met Humberto Velez at the Albert Docks, and his piece ‘The Welcoming’, it was well good” Anthony, young person on the Big Art Project.


What the participants said:

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Who owns public art?

Spring 2008

nalgao Magazine

There has always been a critical debate around public art, but the debate substantially shifted from the aesthetic to the impacts with the 1995 publication of Sarah Selwood’s “The Benefits of Public Art in Britain” (now out of print). The critique was recently revived by Josie Appleton in “Culture Vultures”, an extract from which we reproduce here, by kind permission. nalgao and its members may not agree with the comments or sentiments in this article. But we think it important to acknowledge the critiques of prevailing practice and are pleased to include them in our review of public art. Paul Kelly, Editor

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From Real Estate: Art in a Changing City by Hewitt Jordan Beech

However, today’s public art is not really the expression of community values or desires: it’s driven by officialdom, and its spirit springs from the policy specifications of bureaucrats. Such art is about officialdom’s image of the public, not real communities of living, working men and women. It’s anodyne art: offering a soothing kind of participation and the affirmation of local identities. Just because an artist has proved to the Arts Council that he or she has consulted a community about a sculpture, that doesn’t mean that it genuinely represents that community. No wonder that many of these new artworks go almost unnoticed. They are often local curiosities, obstacles that pedestrians have to navigate like a lamppost or a tree, but rarely the focus for public passion. Once it is unhinged from official specifications, public art can help to humanise our towns and cities, and express public desires. It also provides new aesthetic possibilities, and potential for a more productive relationship with an audience.

Patchy Surveys Public art today is funded by a network of organisations, which collaborate closely in the funding and organisation of projects. Though they are coordinated at putting public art up, these organizations are not so coordinated at keeping track of how much they are putting up or how much they are spending. All the indications are, however, that it

There was another use of public art, though, this time from the left. By getting a community’s creative juices flowing, artists hoped, their political juices might start flowing too and ‘stimulating a sense of being able to create something in an increasingly frustrating and alienating society’. Today’s public art policy has absorbed the policies of both right and left – it seeks both to stimulate the economy, and to stimulate political action. It has boomed in the 1990s and 2000s, a time of growing public disengagement from politics and political life. When the elite was at a loss about how to reach a sullen and atomised electorate, public artists offered their services as mediators. As the business of political engagement began to seem like a highly complicated task, public artists said that it was only their special brand of ‘creativity’ that would work.

What public art can do

Public art does have a role today, though it is hampered from playing this role by the patronage of the regeneration industry. Our cities are indeed empty and soulless, made up of too many anonymous streets, traffic islands and walkways. Mostly we pass through space without thinking, or Creating new identities while plugged into our iPods. A good public artwork Today’s public art is very much led by an elite – can interrupt you, make you think; and perhaps much more so than in the nineteenth century, represent something of what you feel or believe. when it was largely funded by public donations and This also provides new opportunities for artists – campaigns. Artists are told to go and create public opportunities that perhaps Antony Gormley, of all identity, or encourage participation, however they artists, has exploited to the full. Public art should see fit. Neither are public artists under much provide the disciplining and sobering pressure of pressure from local communities, most of whom making art for an audience, a group of people who did not even know that they wanted a public have to live, work and play around your work. Public artwork until they got one. As a result, the sites also offer a whole new series of aesthetic regeneration industry has become a law unto itself, possibilities; not only good light, but an opportunity developing its own standards and methods for to play off and express a whole variety of different evaluating public art. landscapes, from woods and cliffs to public squares. Today’s public art policy is a historical novelty. The reason why Gormley succeeds, and has Broadly speaking, we can divide British public art become so popular, is that he doesn’t make phoney policy into three periods: art as propaganda; art as attempts to create public identity. He does work beautification; and now, art as regeneration. that is both personally meaningful and keys into Art as propaganda lasted between the early the zeitgeist. nineteenth century and the early twentieth century, We should break up the cosy consensus that has emerged around public art between the state and and resulted in statues of royalty, local quasi-state bodies in the regeneration industry. Then philanthropists and military figures. Many works we might see the production of more public art that were funded by public donation. If somebody actually means something. wanted to put up a statue, he or she would often JosieAppleton is convenor of the Manifesto Club, call a public meeting and open an account for a group that defends freedom in all its forms subscriptions. Art as beautification held sway from the early twentieth century onwards, but particularly between A full version of this piece appears in ‘Culture Vultures – Is UK Arts Policy Damaging the Arts’ Edited by Munira 1945 and the 1970s. Art was used to enhance the Mirza and is available as a download from: public environment. Art was also seen as a marker of economic prosperity. Art as regeneration was a new approach to public s/138.pdf art which emerged in the 1970s and 1980s. Whereas Arts at the Heart is grateful to Josie Appleton, Munira Mirza and Policy Exchange for allowing us to print in previous periods art was seen as the expression either of political values or economic self-confidence, this extract. now art was invested with the power to create new identities, and spark economic development. There was an idea that public art could change people’s sense of themselves; give them a suitably strong self-image, and project that image to others.


The regeneration industry

amounts to big numbers and big bucks. In 2002, the National Lottery reported that in the previous six years it had spent £72.5 million on 1500 public art projects. High-profile projects come with chunky price tags. £986,500 was spent on public art for Bridlington promenade alone; Coventry’s ninepiece Phoenix Initiative cost some £1million. For a national picture, we have to rely on patchy surveys from art research bodies. These suggest that the numbers of public artworks started increasing dramatically in the mid-1980s. In 1984, there were an estimated 550 works of modern art in Britain; by 1993, it was estimated that 750 public art installations had been created over the previous 10 years. In the decade of the 1990s there were over six times more sculptures than there were at the high point of ‘statuemania’, between 1900-9. The official aim is to regenerate communities, both economically and socially. Indeed, the hopes for public art often verge on the delusional, with claims that these sculptures will, like a magic wand, transform the area – creating cohesive communities, conjuring up a new image and a vibrant economy.

nalgao Magazine Spring 2008

Of all forms of art, public art has perhaps been the most strongly affected by the new cultural policy climate. New Labour has politicised art, demanding that it build communities, regenerate economies and include marginalised groups. Public art – an inherently political form – has proved an ideal candidate to wield towards these ends. Art that sits in a square or street is different to gallery art. Gallery art can be justified on the basis of individual free expression, aesthetic criteria, or the proclivities of the art market. Public art, by contrast, should be accountable to the public, and so lacks the defence of the gallery. Over the past few years, government policy has led to a new breed of public art, which is leaving its mark on cities, towns and villages across the UK. This new breed of public art is different to public art of the past, and indeed from other forms of contemporary art. Today’s public art has new funders: state and quasi-state bodies, such as local authorities, the Arts Council, the National Lottery, development corporations and arts consultancies. Together, this group could be described as ‘the regeneration industry’: it funds public art on the basis that it will help regenerate communities, by forging new connections and public identities, and improving local economies. Contemporary public art is developing its own aesthetic, and there is a new generation of artists who are sustained by public art commissions.


Josie Appleton

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case studies ARTS AT THE HEART Spring 2008

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Weaving theWeb Frances Watt

Contributors would include everyone from the “big players” such as the Buxton Festival, to small voluntary arts groups operating from village halls. The criteria for making a listing or an entry on the site’s arts directory are simple – if you are involved in the arts in Derbyshire – you are in. If you are running a venue that could take an audience of five hundred or fifty, your venue can be included, giving clear information about licences, capacity, access issues and more. People putting on a large or small-scale event can list all the information on a simple form, which is then checked over and uploaded by the editor into an events diary. Artists, arts organisations, clubs and creative practitioners can create their own listing in the arts directory, including adding an image. Artsderbyshire now also offers artists a “minisite”. This is free web space with its own ‘html’ The idea for the website came about in 2003, address and as many images and pages as when what was the then ‘Derbyshire Arts Officers desired by the artist or arts organisation. Group’ discussed ideas to try and work more The“Dark Arts” collaboratively together. They wanted to better All listings are free and the site enables members answer the needs of artists and creative practitioners in this huge urban and rural county of the public and creative practitioners to access information across the whole of the county, in a bordering Manchester, Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire. readily accessible way. The route to the website’s creation was not In 2004, Arts Council England changed its always simple, however. Many officers had to funding structures and the Derbyshire Arts undergo a steep learning curve in what would Partnership (DAP) came into being bringing sometimes seem to them like “the dark arts” of Derbyshire and Derby City arts officers into a web design and technology. closer network. DAP’s focus was on ‘the creative economy’, and the artsderbyshire website was “The major difficulty was the translation agreed as the major project to play a role in between technical limitations and the networking across this vast area and promoting abundance of creativity and flexibility the arts activities, events, artists, organisations demanded by the arts officers!” and businesses that are present here. In Derbyshire, five years ago, a group of arts officers decided to combine resources to create a website which would not only be a ‘What’s On’ guide to publicise the diverse arts activities in the area, but would also link and network creative practitioners across the county. The idea for the artsderbyshire website - was born. Five years later, its statistics for its first full year of operation speak volumes for its success: • Over 15,000 unique visitors • 25,000 visits • 750 artists, arts organisations and clubs signed up to the arts directory • Over 2,000 arts events profiled • Over 8,000 inbound links from other websites

Art in the Dome Lower Gallery, Derby

From the outset, there was a realisation that “brokers” or “translators” between the designers and arts officers would be needed. During the first phase, web consultant Kieran Cooper was appointed to work on the brief and iron out expectations on both sides. After this there was a long period of discussion about the technical specification of site. The key element was translating the ideas and goals of the arts officers into the technical language of the website developers. After Kieran Cooper had drawn up the brief and the web developers, Futurate in Sheffield, had won the tender, a dedicated Project Manager was appointed. Debbie Porter of Essential New Media acts as broker between designers and officers, ironing out problems and sorting out errors (or ‘bugs’) which inevitably appear in a website of this size and ambition. On a project of this scale you need someone who can understand the technical demands of the web development and foresee the problems that can come along.

collaboratively on a joint enterprise. The arts officers are able to point queries and suggestions from people in their areas to the site and assist members of public to find information. They can also direct council colleagues, who may want to use artists or arts facilitators to the site. Councillors and officers can see instantly the wealth of creative activity in Derbyshire and it has become a powerful and tangible advocacy tool for arts in the county. As for the future, its part-time editor's post has local authority funding for three years, and there will be further funding drives to develop

the website to become more interactive. As well as maintaining the networking and information role of artsderbyshire, it is hoped to develop the site as a basis for other digital arts technology projects in the future. Derbyshire Arts Officers see it as strategic tool for arts development, and the aim now is to persuade future funders that this is the case. FrancesWatt Derbyshire Arts Partnership Manager Derbyshire County Council Tel: 01773 831394 Email:

nalgao Magazine Spring 2008 ARTS AT THE HEART

After a long development period and consumer testing, the website was promoted via road shows and training courses and eventually went “live” in October 2006 – three years after the idea was first discussed. And of course, this is when all the little problems came along…ranging from the major (the site completely crashed when what seemed like a small editing error led to a technical melt down) and the minor - artists forgetting their username and passwords to access and edit their entries, remains the most frequent user problem. After eighteen months, the website has gained an excellent profile and support from the creative community it serves. The BBC even streams artsderbyshire listings into a large open air Big Screen in the centre of Derby’s busy shopping area. It now profiles individuals and groups, offering them publicity and marketing web space. Many artists and organisations have been contacted by new clients offering them work after reading about them on the site. Clubs and societies have recruited new members, and events have been reaching new audiences. The site also establishes links between artists for collaborations and general networking and we know users have been finding that particularly useful. In addition to the content generated by the users - the site also offers advice, information and news pages, giving up to date information on jobs, commissions, opportunities, funding and training. This is all reinforced by fortnightly ebulletins that registered users can sign up to (all free). The public can also sign up for a general monthly “What’s On” e-bulletin drawn from the events listing information. Artsderbyshire has also brought local authorities together, with arts officers working

case studies

Technical meltdown

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The Intercultural cities Conference, 1-3 May 2008, Liverpool

Making DiversityWork

reports ARTS AT THE HEART Spring 2008

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Rachel Kirkwood and Phil Wood In the cities of today and tomorrow, how can people from different cultures really live together – rather than just rub along side one another? This is the central theme of this three day conference taking place in Liverpool, European Capital of Culture, from 1-3 May 2008. Although a large majority of people in the UK and rest of Europe think living with people of other cultures could enrich their life, somehow the thought doesn’t always translate into action. And given that the road to separation is a blind alley, new thinking is needed on how diverse communities can co-operate in productive harmony instead of leading parallel or antagonistic lives. The conference will take a fresh look at how, in a world of increasing mobility, people from different cultures can make diversity and mixing the engine that drives the prosperity of their cities. Key issues for our age, especially for those responsible for planning and regeneration, the local economy, community cohesion, education and culture services. During the three days, leading speakers from across Europe, the UK, and also the US, Canada and Australia will provide real examples of how being intercultural works, bringing social, cultural and economic advantages.

Engage and interact This however is no happy-clappy, rainbow nation plea. The conference message to the political, business and community leaders of Europe’s cities is that the stakes are high. The places that not only accept diversity as a fact but actively go out to make it work will gradually outpace the cities that fear or ignore it. Some of the most exciting and innovative parts of London, Amsterdam, New York and Toronto – but also some of their most nurturing neighbourhoods – are at the forefront of this new trend for intercultural urban spaces. And the conference will be under no illusions that this intercultural city will be an easy environment to attain. Being an active citizen here demands that you engage and interact; that you question and are prepared to be questioned by others, that you listen and are listened to; and that you are not afraid to disagree but you will go the extra distance to work through and solve a conflict to get a common solution. It also implies a recognition that the management of conflict is a skill which can and should be acquired, not just by a few specialists but by all who play a role in the routine operation of the city. The conference will offer models of creative conflict resolution in neighbourhoods; case studies of how planning, architecture and urban design can encourage mixing; examples of incentives and policy measures which make co-operation a more attractive prospect than indifference or suspicion. Much of the substance of the programme derives from international research conducted by Phil Wood and Charles Landry for their book, The Intercultural City: Planning for Diversity Advantage, recently published by Earthscan.

Intercultural invention Because dialogue is the watchword, the conference will be

highly interactive. ‘Headline’ speakers will be available to meet and debate with delegates, who will in turn have the chance to make presentations and influence the agenda and outcomes. The conference will conclude with a set of recommendations on how Europe’s cities can achieve their own diversity advantage through being more intercultural. The conference also marks the UK’s commitment to the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008. Interculturalism is a new and generally misunderstood terms in the UK. It seeks to replace the term ‘multiculturalism’ which has been seen to encourage difference and separation. The new ‘intercultural’ approach seeks cohesion and integration. It is no coincidence the conference is taking place in Liverpool. Once one of the world’s great ports and a focus for international migration, it is now redefining itself in response to changed circumstances. The conference will allow delegates the chance to explore this process first hand with visits to civic, community and business projects. It is also one of the highlights of the Culture Company’s “Cities on the Edge” programme, a cultural partnership of six European port cities – Liverpool, Bremen, Naples, Marseilles, Istanbul, and Gdansk. As historical points of departure and arrival for millions of people, these cities have become important places for encounter and exchange, and for intercultural invention, in areas ranging from dialect and music to food and architecture. Of course with Liverpool being European Capital of Culture, conference delegates are promised an exciting range of treats beyond the conference programme including dinner at Anfield, the shrine of football, the Albert Dock world heritage site where Tate Liverpool gallery is based, and the pleasures of Liverpool’s acclaimed night life and music scene. The conference is organised by Comedia and Euclid, in association with Liverpool 08, with support from the European Commission and the Council of Europe. Rachel Kirkwood EUCLID Tel: 0161 245 3235 Email: PhilWood Comedia Email: For more information on the conference, including prices, and to book a place please visit , email or call the EUCLID office 0161 245 3235. Other useful website include and

Speakers at the Intercultural cities conference include: • Globalization guru Saskia Sassen, • New York Times writer Gregg Pascal Zachary who argues cities and business must ‘mongrelize or die’ • the world authority on cultural diversity and city planning Leonie Sandercock, • Lord Bhikhu Parekh who says it is time to rethink multiculturalism • Keith Khan, Head of Culture for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Adapt or Die Clare Cooper of the Mission, Models, Money programme outlines the findings from their three year study and outlines the plans for their next phase MMM:Designing for Transition

other forms of financing beyond grants and donations. There’s an informative article on the potential use of new and alternative financial instruments by arts and cultural organisations on our website. Survival of the fittest MMM’s next phase of work ‘Designing for In the last fifty years, the UK not-for-profit arts and Transition’, which is currently itself in design phase, cultural sector has rightly been regarded as one of is proposing to run a series of pilots with arts and the world’s leading producers of high quality, popular cultural organisations and funders in the use of and challenging work. Indeed many believe that the new and alternative financial instruments, the last 10 years has been a golden age for arts and development of new kinds of collaborations culture in the UK, helped in part by the doubling of including shared services, and the creation of more cultural funding by the Labour government. intelligent funding communities made up of both However, in common with other parts of the public and private sector funders. These and other world such as the USA and Australia where not-forprogramme strands will all be feeding in to a major profit organisations are a primary delivery vehicle piece of policy work on how a healthier arts and for cultural experience, the sector in the UK is cultural sector can be created and sustained. facing major structural changes brought on by The MMM group believe that the responsibility technological advances, global interconnectedness for developing new responses and enabling and shifting consumer behaviour. A watershed has continuous adaptation to our ever-changing been reached where organisations must adapt to environment lies with all those who make up our evolving technologies and the different ways the ecology. With arts and cultural organisations, with public are engaging and participating with arts the agencies, organisations and individuals charged and culture or risk finding themselves marginalised. with building their capacity and those responsible Navigating this change is no easy matter. for devising the frameworks of public and private Hundreds of not-for-profit organisations critical funding which support them. to both our historical and contemporary cultural Our collective challenge is to accelerate this Opportunity for rapid evolution still fledgling cultural evolution. Abraham Lincoln canon, the creators and producers of this ‘golden age’, are over-extended and under-capitalised. Often Despite these challenges, the MMM programme has famously said: “The dogmas of the quiet past are with high fixed costs and inflexible business models found a great appetite for change across the sector inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is many are highly dependent on annual public sector and many examples of new methods of operation piled high with difficulty, and we must rise to the and new business models are already emerging as grants to survive as patterns in attendance and occasion”. So too must we. Clare Cooper Mission Money Models demonstrated by the growth of freelancers, earned and fundraised income from the private facilitators, networkers and producers. The sector change. This scenario, whilst allowing ubiquitous charity legal structure which most non- Tel: 07914 375226 Email survival, offers very little scope for fundamental profit arts and cultural organisations operate under Web: transformation into more responsive, adaptive, Towards a Healthy Arts and Cultural Ecology: is being recognised by many as inherently too sustainable mission-led businesses delivering cultural excellence to an even wider general public. conservative and risk averse. New legal structures John Knell: http://www.missionmodelsmoney. Yet this ability to evolve has never been so essential. which enable different kinds of funding and,719 financing flows such as Community Interest MMM’s work during the period from 2004 to New and Alternative Financial Instruments: Companies are being actively explored whilst as 2007 has found that the challenges faced by the much interest is being shown in expanding the sector fall into three broad categories: responding x?siteID=1&navIDs=712,724 spectrum of income sources available to include to rapidly accelerating changes in the wider environment, building the skills and knowledge base and re-aligning existing financing, funding and organisational development structures.You can read the report and recommendations from their third phase at levels of misalignment are evident in funding mindsets and mechanisms and there are knowledge and skills gaps which also exist in the current capacity building infrastructure. There are concerns that the original mission and existing roles and structures of the main public funding agencies and some intermediary organisations are no longer ‘fit for purpose’. Public funding and business support agencies are taking insufficient account of the business development needs of mature non-profit arts and cultural organisations. Cultural organisations are reporting that the quality of organisational development support is not good enough and that there is confusion around which support agency offers what service. Public and private funders are helping to sustain the under-capitalisation of the sector through working practices that contribute to overextension and undercapitalisation. and the continuing fragility of those they fund. Cultural policy itself defines structures that discourage or encourage certain behaviours and funding practice has a profound effect on the ecology of the arts. John Knell argues persuasively, in a provocation paper, for more intelligent funding of the arts and cultural sector on our website.


nalgao Magazine Spring 2008


Intelligent Funding Winston Churchill spoke of how “we shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us”. Our financial structures influence our behaviour, so do our organisational structures and our mindsets. The evidence from the MMM Action Research underlines that it is by no means only arts and cultural organisations that need to respond to change faster and drive up performance. Serious

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nalgao Magazine Spring 2008


AWeek In The Life…

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Tuesday We had a Wiltshire and Swindon Arts Alliance inception meeting with our new project management consultants and then I had an Arts Services Management Team meeting. One of the things we talked about was business emergency procedures, so looking at where do we store and access all of our key data and information. We agreed a new system for where we store everything, so if only one of us was able to get into the office they’d be able to find everything they So what does a Local Authority Arts Officer needed easily to cancel shows, inform the public actually do? How do you respond when a friend and generally keep the service moving. or relative asks you that? In this new regular Wednesday feature, we intend to lay the profession bare! To I had my annual budget meeting with the senior kick it off, Arts At the Heart Editor, Paul Kelly Finance team looking at next year’s revenue spoke to Swindon Borough Council’s Head of budget, always a challenging meeting! Then I had a Arts - Helen Miah meeting about the BBC Big Screen. Swindon will Monday have the first BBC Big Screen in the South – a I started on Monday morning with a meeting with permanent one. It’s part of the regeneration of the Director and General Manager of Swindon Wharf Green, which is being transformed to Dance to discuss the Local Authority’s funding of become a vibrant lively outdoor space. It’ll be like a the company for the next three year period, now giant television and will always have something on. that we are pretty confident of their Arts Council And we’re hoping to showcase locally made films settlement. Then I spoke to one of my Councillors and use it for things like interactive games – really who is on the Board of Swindon Dance as there was fun stuff like imaginary football where the ball is on a Board meeting that evening, which I also the screen and the kids have to run around and attended. So quite a lot of time was spent looking imagine where the ball is. The big screen is really after them. I also had to proof read the copy for the exciting. I also had a long conversation with my latest Artsmad Newsletter. Artsmad is our “agency” boss. I’m also organising a party for a culture admin for arts and children and encompasses both formal worker who’s taking early retirement and had to and informal learning settings. deal with 60 replies to the invite today.

Thursday In the morning, I had a meeting with Steve who looks after Artsminds for me which is our network and forum for creative artists and we had useful planning session and review of where we are with it. And then I had a 1:1 in the afternoon with my Marketing Manager, Nicki. One of things we looked at was the consultation we’re about to undertake using ‘Swindon People’s Voice’ which is a representative sample of Swindon’s population they are paid a small amount and they come in and do questionnaires and focus groups. We’ve got the next issue for the arts and we’re looking to find out more information about what they know about what we do and what they like and what they’d like to see more of. We also want to know do they go outside of Swindon to access things that we could provide, and do they even know about all the things we do? This will provide invaluable baseline data for the new arts Performance Indicator, which fingers crossed, looks like being included as one of the top 28 PI’s in our LAA2. Friday I had an awayday with my Group Directorate which is Environment and Regeneration. We spent the day working with the senior management team on the bones of next year’s business plan. That might sound like we spent all day talking budgets. But actually we spent most of the time talking about what are the priorities for us as a group and how can we deliver on them. A lot of it related to the Local Area Agreement looking at what the big headlines are. We agreed that there would be a priority around embedding arts and culture in key strategies, policies and plans. And we also spent some time looking at how the Directors and Heads of Service work together. It’s not always as straightforward as it might seem on paper. I didn’t have any evening things last week, which is unusual. I normally have a couple of evening events or meetings as well. To find out more about what I get up to you can read my blog, which also includes a potted career history and some rather embarrassing photos, follow the links from artsandculture

Many thanks to Helen Miah. If you’d like to share your working week withArts at the Hearts readers, Email Paul Kelly at

Many of us are children of a welfare mentality with the built-in notion that social care is impossible without state support and management. This is the ideal on which public funding for the arts is also built. It’s a noble ideal and particularly apt when there is mass poverty, significant health and mortality issues and a damaged private sector - as was the case in Britain in the 1930s and 1940s. But, argues Andrew Mawson in his splendidly readable and sometimes inspirational book, ‘The Social Entrepreneur’, the welfare model and mentality that goes with it can create stasis, obstruction and failure – both of imagination and delivery. Mawson moved to Bromley-by-Bow, a deprived part of East London nearly 25 years ago, not as a social worker, but as a Presbyterian Minister. Over time he felt that all the public sector produced was policy reports, task forces and committees. But none of these actually changed anything. By working with people on the ground and using skills and materials in quite low key ways, he was able to start an extraordinary process of transformation. But the key to it was also to insist on the best and not to settle for anything less. When he arrived he found a dilapidated church with 12 elderly parishioners and £400 in the bank. Today, the three acre Bromley-by-Bow site houses the first integrated health complex of its kind, a new landscaped park, a ‘communiversity’, with over 700 students,

a business centre with over 22 social enterprises – all of this employing 140 staff. Creativity, says Mawson lies at the heart of social entrepreneurship. “Social entrepreneurs,” he continues, “…do not follow conventional ways of working. Their view of the world begins with people, passion, experience and story – not politics, statistics and theory.” They “… ‘re-arrange the furniture’ in ways that unsettle, challenge and confront…” And Mawson sees art as central to the regeneration process. “Art projects,” says Mawson, “can break the patterns of failure with which places like Bromley-by-Bow become associated by raising expectations and encouraging people to look at their situation with fresh eyes.” And his project has shown the meeting point of excellence and access, “We have always focussed on working with practising artists, rather than art teachers.” He explains. “Our artists make high demands on the people they work with; they don’t tolerate mediocrity or half-heartedness.” Written in an easily readable style, ‘The Social Entrepreneur’ shows how the arts can be integrated with wider community developments and gives an acute analysis, by example, of the problems of bureaucratic paralysis. His eye-opening book suggests that Local Authority arts officers are budding social entrepreneurs, if we but knew it. Spend a tenner and get inspired!

David is a national representative for ACE on the nalgao Trustees Committee, and members may be interested to know that his second book of prose has been published. His first book, Sawn-off Tales, was a critical success, and his second volume packs a similar punch, full of surreal tales and flights of fancy. Each story is like a small, neat parcel and you just want to keep on opening them. Often ultra-short (with most observations being just a page long), the book is compulsive, addictive, and you want to read just one more – so you stay up and finish the whole thing in one sitting. This is compelling reading, challenging the mind, imagination and perception – often humorous, sometimes disturbing but never disappointing. Think League of Gentlemen, or Flann O’Brien, or even The Mighty Boosh – these stories are like fireworks waiting to go off, leaving you with a new urban myth – weird, comic, absurd and often disturbingly true.


by David Gaffney Salt Publishing @ £12.99 (ISBN 978-1-84471-342-4)


Aroma Bingo

- Making Communities Work by Andrew Mawson Atlantic Books ISBN 978-1-84354-661-0

nalgao Magazine Spring 2007

The Social Entrepreneur

Pete Bryan nalgao administrator

Paul Kelly

The LastWord If you are worried that the McMaster report on excellence will summon a return to old fashioned elitism, we can put your mind at rest and reveal that his intentions have been well and truly gazumped - by popular culture. The average ticket price paid by fans to see the Midlands rock group Led Zeppelin’s reunion concert at O2 (built with £900 million of lottery players money), the average ticket price mind, was £7,425. Now that’s what we call elitism!

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If you would like information about nalgao Please contact: Pete Bryan, nalgao Administrator 01269 824728 email: Copy deadline...


If you would like information about nalgao Please contact: Pete Bryan, nalgao Administrator 01269 824728 email: Copy deadline...