ARTS AT THE HEART
Working for local government arts and creative industries The nalgao Magazine Issue 22 Winter 2008
A Passion For Excellence How an Improvement Framework can protect your service Inside: Blackpool conference report Wayne Hemingway MBE â€œA Passion For Excellenceâ€? Explained Interview with Martyn Allison, IDeA Project Case Studies
Chair’s Introduction Facing The Music 2 nalgao News 3 nalgao Updates nalgao Budget Survey 4-5 Cultural Olympiad Update B-Side The Seaside 6-8 Regional Roundup 9 - 10 Capital of Culture Update – Portrait of A Nation 11 - 12 Cover Feature: A Passion for Excellence Improve and Survive 13 - 15 Yes We Can!: The Arts at the Heart Interview – Martyn Allison 16 - 17 nalgao Conference Report Conference Introduction 18 Brilliant Blackpool! 19 Turning The Tide: Blackpool 365 20 - 21 David Bateman: Poems From the Floor 22 - 23 Wayne Hemingway Speech 26 - 28 Green is for Go 29 Conference Evaluation Report 30 Open Space Forum Breakout Reports 31 nalgao Case Studies All Rather Rother – the Language of Poetry 32 Dance Crewe 33 Without Walls - Street Theatre 34 - 35 The Art of Inclusion 36 Partnership Reports Reaching Out 37 Understanding engagement 38 - 39 Interim Encounter 40 Insight Required 41 - 43 On The Campaign Trail 44 Reports and Reviews A Week In The Life 45 Book Reviews 46 Nalgao Trustees 47 Editor: Paul Kelly Cultural Futures Tel: (w) 01202 363013 (h) 01202 385585 Mobile: 07825 313838 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Published by nalgao Tel: & Fax: 01269 824728 Email: email@example.com www.nalgao.org Editorial research time kindly provided by the Arts Institute at Bournemouth
“A Passion for Excellence”, now provides us with a simple means of proving our worth
Facing The Music Would you believe it? SATS for 14 years olds scrapped, the 42 day clause defeated and dropped, much of the British Banking system virtually nationalised, the price of petrol falling, an Afro-American President elected, Gordon Brown seen smiling, joking and apparently popular and Bank interest rates at just 2%. Six months ago if you had suggested these developments you would have been committed quicker than your nearest and dearest could say Jack Straw. These are indeed strange times. In the meanwhile, life in the world of the arts goes on, relatively untroubled. But in the words of that timeless Irving Berlin song, so nimbly choreographed by Fred Astaire, “There may be trouble ahead…” Quantifying what that trouble might be, when it might arrive and what it might mean for local authority arts services and Arts Council budgets – the twin pillars of state support – is almost impossible at this stage. But a scenario of significantly higher public sector debt leading to increased pressure on public sector budgets, and recessionary forces causing a downturn in business sponsorship and reduced box office takings, does not augur well for local arts initiatives. As Arts Council Chief Executive, Alan Davey, noted in his keynote speech at the nalgao conference, the arts may be heading for a ‘perfect storm’. And as our editor wryly pointed out in a question to Alan, in the book of the same name, the boat sunk. So whilst all seems calm at the moment, we cannot afford to be complacent. We have recently published the results of our annual arts services spending survey - which is outlined in this issue - and I can’t help feeling that local authority arts officers are in a slightly bizarre position. On the one hand we are winning many of the arguments. There is now a concerted effort at government level to push access and participation and Angela Watson’s article outlines how Arts Council England is playing its part in that. And local authorities are one of the DCMS’s best means of on-the-ground co-ordination and delivery. On the other hand, recent global financial developments, including a near doubling of inflation means arts services are facing even tougher times than in the past. But the publication by DCMS, IDeA and the LGA of “A Passion for Excellence”, now provides us with a simple means of proving our worth and our feature on this report and the interview with its guru, Martyn Allison, should help you, if you have not already engaged with this lifeline. But if they are facing difficulties, arts officers certainly know how to enjoy themselves. Over 200 of our members gathered at Blackpool, were wowed by the hidden gems there and spent a memorable evening in the stunning Tower Ballroom being entertained with a wonderful cabaret before taking to the dance floor. Our conference report in this issue will tell you more. If I have one thought regarding the future it’s that we need to hope for the best but plan for the worst. Or, as we are arts officers, to quote Irving Berlin again, ”Let's face the music and dance”.
Lorna Brown Chair of nalgao Cover photo: ‘Atom’ one of the Mid-Pennine Panopticons. Design by Peter Meacock, Katarina Novomestska and Architecture Central Workshop. Photo by Paul Kelly
Leading Learning Update
nalgao South East has teamed up with its Arts Council colleagues to stage a regional conference on Partnerships at The Maltings, Farnham, Kent on Friday 27th March 2009. The conference will explore the partnership framework established by ACE and local authorities in the SE region, but with examples of good practice that other regions can share in. The day will include keynote presentations, breakout sessions and an Open Space forum in the afternoon, looking at the improvement agenda and how future partnerships can be developed to best serve local communities and artform development. More programme and booking information will follow in due course in nalgao ezines and on the nalgao website www.nalgao.org
The Leading Learning programme, managed by former nalgao Chair, Sue Isherwood, is now underway. There are twenty nine participants on the course, ten of whom are nalgao members! Participants have all embarked on 360 degree reviews. The first course residential ran in the Midlands in October and evaluation work on this is underway. Martyn Allison took a major role over first two days and highlights for participants were presentations from Irene Lucas, Chief Executive of South Tyneside and Derrick Anderson, Chief Executive of Lambeth. Both, reports Sue, were ‘inspirational’. A second phase of the course is expected to run with an improved format next year. The original proposal to CLP was to run the programme three times – and to demonstrate sustainability after that.The first year is heavily subsidised by CLP, the second year also has subsidy and the third year none. The current cost is about a quarter of what is really costs to run. Sue is hoping to raise sponsorship to keep the course at an affordable rate. We will be carrying more details in future issues of ‘Arts at the Heart’.
Deft Work! Mission Money Models has announced the launch of its fourth phase – Designing for Transition (DEFT). The continuing programme picks up on the recommendations made in MMM’s 2007 report ‘Towards a Healthy Ecology of Arts and Culture’ and has been designed to test ideas for responding and adapting to the numerous and complex trends affecting arts and cultural organisations. It is aiming to demonstrate what works and help accelerate infrastructural and organisational transformation in order to better support the creation and experience of great art. Clare Cooper and Roanne Dods, Co-Founders and CoDirector’s of the MMM Programme said: “We believe strongly that the arts offer a vital source of meaning in our increasingly uncertain world. Building the resilience and sustainability of individuals and organisations working in the arts in order to better support that crucial role is therefore an important task. Accelerating the ability of all of us to evolve has never been so essential and harnessing the restorative and regenerative power
nalgao has teamed up with Mailout and Sheffield City Council to stage its next national seminar on 6th February 2009 at The Showroom Cinema and Workstation, Sheffield. The seminar will look at arts with hard to reach groups and communities. The seminar will include keynote presentations, breakouts and a study tour. More programme and booking information will follow in due course in nalgao ezines and on the nalgao website www.nalgao.org
The contribution of artists to our society and economy is not being properly or fully realised and the way state support for artists is managed needs to be changed to address this. Local Authority support for the arts is a mess. Those are just some of the messages in ‘New Flow’ a new book by Tim Joss, Chief Executive of the Rayne Foundation and formerly Chief Executive of the Bath Festivals. New Flow is web-published on the Mission Money Models website and is downloadable for free. The version currently on the web is 1.0. Joss is inviting comments and responses and will be publishing version 2.0 of New Flow in response to these next year. Download New Flow at: www.missionmodelsmoney.org.uk/u/new_flow_tim_joss.pdf And read the AAH review on page 46.
Reaching the Unreachable
ARTS AT THE HEART
The nalgao AGM on 8 October gave warm thanks to Mark Homer, Assistant Director for Culture and Adult Education Services at Lincolnshire County Council who stepped down as nalgao Secretary after at least 12 years on the nalgao Executive. Catherine Davis from Hertfordshire Council Council has taken on the role of Secretary. There are no other officer changes, but the organisation welcomes some new Regional Representatives. The full list of nalgao Trustees is on page 47 of this magazine.
of arts and culture in designing the transition to a more sustainable world is an imperative. Deft is our contribution to that journey.” The DEFT programme is being supported by the Scottish Arts Council, The Northern Rock Foundation, The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Newcastle and Gateshead City Councils and Arts Council England's North East office. More details can be found on MMM’s website at www.missionmodelsmoney.org.uk
New nalgao officers
Art Online Gets Better Public Art South West (PASW) has announced a facelift for their very comprehensive Public Art Online website. New features include a fast find search - for artists, researchers, commissioners, consultants and local authorities - which will direct them to areas that PASW think will be of particular significance. PASW has also retrieved all the archived material and put it in date order and rationalised content into key and easy to manage headings. The site also carries new case studies and commissioned papers on project management, and the planning system. See for yourself at: www.publicartonline.org.uk
nalgao updates ARTS AT THE HEART Winter 2008
nalgao Local Authority Budget Settlement Report 2008/9 Pete Bryan
Introduction In May 2008, nalgao undertook a fourth annual local authority arts spend survey to assess the level of arts spending forecast for the current year. The survey was emailed to the relevant head of arts or culture in all authorities in England and Wales, whether in membership of nalgao or not. 73 authorities responded, representing over 17.8% of all authorities in England and Wales, a similar level of responses as in 2007. Summary Findings
greatly to the crosscutting agenda, with: - 68% of arts services contribute to the development of community wellbeing,, exclusion and promoting equality. - 70% of arts services support children and young people’s services and education. - 59% of arts services contribute to economic regeneration. - 59% of arts services support stronger and The survey has revealed the following trends safer communities initiatives. from responses received: • At least two arts services have been re-instated, • It is estimated that the total local authority arts with new arts officers appointed to Somerset service spend across England and Wales is £214.5 and Worcestershire County Councils. However, million. This represents expenditure of £4.23 per at least 4 authorities have cut their arts services head of population (mid-2007 population completely in 2008/9, adding to the 27 that figures). However this excludes special one off have already completely cut their services in revenue and capital developments such as the last 5 years. This represents a loss of arts ‘Capital of Culture’ – see note below. services to 733,100 people and a gain of arts • There has been a 2.5% decline in the number of services to 1,078,200 people. authorities reporting a real term budget cut. But • Three authorities are considering completely the level of responding authorities experiencing a cutting their arts services with a loss of service real term cut in arts provision for 2008/9 to a further 358,100 people. remains high at 63%. • It is estimated that partnership funding • There has been a decline of nearly 5% in the accounted for an additional £16.6 million from number of responding authorities reporting a those authorities responding, averaging decline in arts spend over the past two years. £227,890 per authority or an estimated £93.4 However this figure still remains high at 71%. million for all authorities in England and Wales. • Local authority arts services are contributing • Partnership funding from other sectors internal The survey has also shown a certain amount of recovery as compared to the last two years but has also once again demonstrated the vulnerability of non-statutory arts services. Many respondents are still finding the funding of arts services difficult, especially in light of further local authority efficiency savings.
Pete Bryan nalgao Administrator email:firstname.lastname@example.org
The full Spending Assessment Report can be found in the reports section of the nalgao website This report represents a snapshot of the health of www.nalgao.org local authority arts services and offers an insight into trends that demonstrate a slowing down of the declining financial base for local arts delivery. Although major cuts in arts spending have decreased a little in comparison to last year, Note The situation we have reported is not uniform the state of the industry is still vulnerable. across the country and we think there is a form Trends in 2008/9 are similar to last year’s study, of ‘post code lottery’ for arts funding. There have demonstrating a relative standstill in local been a number of significant arts developments authority arts services, which will have a major in a small number of authorities. Some of these effect on arts delivery and development in have been revenue-driven initiatives such as England and Wales. Liverpool Capital of Culture. Others have been capital driven such as a new £6.5 million arts Whilst major cuts in services are less apparent centre in Kent and new theatre developments in this year, we see very limited development opportunity, and a growing disparity between the Leicester and elsewhere. Many of these are oneoff initiatives and thus we have adjusted our strong providers and the rest. There is also figures, where appropriate, so we can establish worrying lack of the presence of arts culture targets in LAAs and in arts services’ knowledge of the trend excluding exceptional items.
LAAs, which makes future influencing in this important area less than effective.
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
£874,870 on the arts. The range of local authorities participating is broadly comparable to last year. This figure special one-off items (see below) if these are deducted from the allocation, the figure reflects a more modest spending of £38.7 million averaging £523,182 per authority.
ARTS AT THE HEART
to the authority has increased by 7% compared to last year, but external partnership funding is down by 5%. • Arts Council project funding has played a valuable part in support local arts initiatives. 40% of respondents had received secured Arts Council lottery money towards local projects totalling £1.28 million. But our returns show the amount secured from this source has fallen by 30% in a year. • Partnership funding represents a leverage ratio of £1: £1.67. If income generated (eg earned and box office income) is also taken into account, this figure is greatly increased. • There is also worrying lack of the presence of arts culture targets in LAAs which makes future influencing in this important area less than effective. IDeA reports that only 25% of local authority arts services are in LAAs compared with 61% local authority sports services. Whilst the arts are contributing to the crosscutting agenda, they are not being written into LAAs, which has serious implications for future levels of funding. • 73 authorities contributing to the survey for 2008/9 declared a total £63.9 million of controllable arts budget for 2008/9, giving an average council spend, per authority of
Cultural Olympiad Update In 2012, Weymouth and Portland will be the only location outside of London to host a complete Olympic sport. So a lot of attention is being focussed on this small South West seaside area. Alan Rogers explains the issues in creating an opening event to kick off the UK Cultural Olympiad.
ARTS AT THE HEART
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
(the seaside) Alan Rogers As the host for the 2012 sailing events, the regeneration of Weymouth and Portland is now receiving regional and national attention. The Borough has been prioritised by all the regional agencies via Culture South West (People, Places and Spaces) as a key South West location for the development and delivery of the UK Cultural Olympiad. B-Side (the seaside) is one of a raft of ideas that help address these issues, creating opportunities for young creative people to participate, developing new audiences for the arts and leaving nationally known events as a legacy for the Borough. The event began by instigating new partnerships between cultural agencies, RFOs, educational institutions and artists’ networks. This partnership is still in flux and there will be new partners in 2009. The intention is to formerly constitute B-Side after the reach, capacity and responsibilities
of all the partners have been decided. B-Side 2008 partners were the Weymouth and Portland Partnership, PVA Media Lab, Departure (Dorset’s art in education agency) Activate (the theatre and dance development agency for Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole), Weymouth College, Weymouth Arts Network and Dorset Community Music. The mission statement for “B-Side” 2008 was to create a multi-media, site-specific arts festival, animating public spaces in Weymouth and Portland during September. It sought to prioritise young and emerging artists, from across the South West region. Inspired by the “flip side” of vinyl recordings, B-Side artists explore less commercial issues affecting South West coastal resorts. We patched funding together from a variety of sources, winning RIFE Lottery money from South West Screen with which we commissioned four artists to make
B-Shed Installations with artwork by Gavin Morris,Tom Rosenthal and Laura Mulhearn. Photo by Paul Kelly
from Valencia, Dance South West’s intergenerational piece “Pulse FX” and Live Music Now/Superact with their “Bandstand Marathon”. I think it’s fair to say that there is some latent and long standing ignorance within some elected members and some council officers, of the role that culture plays in regeneration and the value in hard economic terms, which events like B-Side can bring to the Borough. However, there are signs that these attitudes are changing. The South West Regional Development Agency has just awarded £6.6 million to the Esplanade Regeneration Scheme. The borough council have just applied for a culture-led CABE “Sea Change” award, worth up to £4 million. Arts Council England SW is pledging financial support for the Public Art Commissioning Plan, published earlier this year. As more support comes in, more confidence is imbued and more lights go on within a local authority that has struggled in recent years to maintain its existing commitments, yet alone look to the future.
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
take part. The others were selected from an open call in the South West, which solicited 43 responses. The long-term strategy for B-Side begins with the local and regional initiatives. The idea is to encourage national submissions in 2010 and invite international artists for 2012, which dovetails with the core values of the Cultural Olympiad: welcoming the world, inspiring young people and leaving a lasting legacy. B-Side 2008 was one of the first projects in the South West to win the “Inspired By” mark from the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games. Unfortunately this year, the award came too late to use the “Inspired By” logo, but the event was marketed as part of the launch of the UK Cultural Olympiad. Originally the dates for the event were planned for early September, as a strategic attempt to lengthen the tourist season, but we moved them in order to launch as part of the UK celebrations. We shared the weekend with a major production from Inside Out, “Veles e Vents” by Xarxa theatre company
ARTS AT THE HEART
short films. Arts Council England South West gave an equal contribution, which we used to commission 11 site-specific bursaries. The Weymouth and Portland Partnership awarded six bursaries to artists living and working in the Borough. Dorset County Council, Weymouth College and seed money from the 2012 SW Regional Programmer completed the funding package for this year. But our application to Awards for All was unsuccessful. The total accumulated from the variety of funding bodies was £23,000. I know that this was barely adequate and the whole event relied on goodwill from all involved. The artists (see next page for project details) were selected in a variety of ways. Six bursaries were reserved for local practitioners, as there is need to encourage the indigenous creative community to participate and market themselves within the Borough. Four artists, who were selected to map the sites and produce the initial visual information, were given the opportunity to
St Peter’s Church, Portland, artworks by Julie Hill
Inside one of the B-Sheds. Photo by Paul Kelly
ARTS AT THE HEART
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
Cultural Development in Weymouth and Portland
nationally. The largest proportion of the community is currently made up of people Regional agencies, in partnership with Weymouth within the age range 30-64 at 57%. The number & Portland, have begun building the of people with a Higher Qualification in infrastructure to support a new approach to Weymouth is 8.8% compared to 18.3% in regeneration through culture. There are some Dorset. Returning graduates have little new key appointments: the Jurassic Coast Arts opportunity to continue their professional Officer, the Cultural Champion for Dorset, the practice, particularly within the arts and creative Creative Places Development Manager for Dorset industries. Lack of professional & training and my own appointment as the Arts opportunities and low wages together with high Development Officer for Weymouth and house and property prices are contributing Portland, The new appointees are charged factors. (amongst other things) with forging new cultural Weymouth and Portland Borough Council partnerships and linking ideas and proposals currently has no money to support cultural together to form joined-up strategies. activity as part of regeneration. It has no arts My post of ADO was created through officer, sports officer or heritage officer partnership working, culminating in a Grants for (having lost the latter two in staff cuts last year) the Arts application to Arts Council England, at the very moment in the Borough’s history in South West for the majority of my salary. I work which they are most needed. The Council was for the Weymouth & Portland Partnership and unable to give financial support to any of the am hosted by Weymouth College. This allows me events that opened the Cultural Olympiad. a great deal of freedom to operate but onerous But it did whatever it could do in the responsibilities in reporting back and negotiating circumstances. It facilitated meetings, arranged a variety of agendas (which, it has to be said, are insurances, liaised with police and other services, not usually conflicting). I have a strong working gave council owned land for free, gave officer relationship with the local authority (Weymouth time, publicised events and willingly assisted in and Portland Borough Council) whilst being many ways. Without this help, independent independent from it. cultural events would have great difficulty in On a strategic level, I am the ‘bridge’ between getting off the ground. borough, county and national initiatives for the Cultural Olympiad. I also work from a bottom Alan Rogers up approach and refer to the Weymouth and Arts Development Officer Portland Community Plan, written in response Weymouth & Portland Partnership to community consultation. This, together with Tel: 01305 208708 two other quality of life surveys at borough and email: email@example.com county level, led to the invention of a new annual event for the Borough, entitled B-Side. A full, illustrated report on B-Side 2008 should be The demographics of Dorset, as laid out in available from mid-November on: the Dorset County Council document “Shaping www.b-side.org.uk. Our Future”, show a deficit of people aged 18 – 40 living in the county. Dorset is to a large extent rural and young people of a certain age Details of other organisations involved in the leave, returning to Dorset mainly to start a Cultural Olympiad launch can be found at: family or retire. Weymouth and Portland have www.insideoutdorset.co.uk, different problems. Indices of deprivation are www.dancesouthwest.org.uk and 4% higher than the SW region. Young people www.superact.org.uk. between the ages of 20-29 only make up Tel: 01305 208708 10.28% of the population compared to 12.66%
Weymouth’s Cultural Olympiad Opening Programme B-Side (The Seaside) Julie Hill transformed St Peter’s deconsecrated church on Portland into a Sunday afternoon casino. Sammy Izri’s photography and sound recordings created local memories and thoughts on the closure of Weymouth’s The Cactus Tea Rooms, where Jane Bailey also presented recorded conversations on a new B-Side vinyl record. In Weymouth Pavilions’ expansive Ocean Room, Jenny Mellings’ film retraced the 40 mile round trip her father took by bicycle in a blizzard from Wareham to Weymouth maternity ward on the day of her birth 50 years ago. Nothe Fort, a defensive position overlooking Portland was last saw military service as a nuclear bunker. Here David Rogers’ Soldiers’ Verse, poetry audio installation remembered the names of soldiers from local war memorials whilst Tom Marshman gave a performance on male identity and Andrew Sherlock’s small confined installation in the former nuclear bunker reflected the plight of a survivor of a nuclear attack. Whilst up on the ramparts, Matt Davies broadcasted the sounds of the safety fence. We also had a small series of painted beach huts, the B-Sheds, on the East side of Weymouth’s pretty harbour where Laura Mulhern explored the flip side of the beach chalet life including an end-of-the-pier peepshow aspect.
Veles e Vents - Xarxa Theatre, Valencia An estimated 10,000 people attended the spectacular Veles e Vents (Wind and Sails) event on a hilltop above Weymouth, overlooking the London 2012 sailing course. In the lead-up to the event in Weymouth, over 250 children and young people from across the region were involved with Inside Out’s educational programme. Workshops were held at Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts. Inside Out’s Cultural Olympiad spectacular was a one-off signature event. It followed the huge success of Inside Out 2007.
Extraordinary cycles, West Midlands
Some of the regional Cultural Olympiad programme and plans are reflected in these reports from the Regional Creative Programmers.
Paul Kaynes West Midlands Creative Programmer for London 2012 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paralympic Priority Caterina Loriggio
Big Dance, West Midlands
Summer 2008 saw a fantastic start to the Cultural Olympiad in the South East of England with over 200 events in 5 weeks. 94 Olympic Handover events took place ranging from a day of picnics, from dawn till dusk, across the whole of West Sussex accompanied by a travelling cabaret and the passing of a giant baguette baton, through to an Olympic lap around the City of Southampton including motor boats, yachts, canoes, runners, bikes and horses. Paralympic Handover Day is particularly important to the region which houses Stoke Mandeville, birthplace of the Paralympic Movement. On September 17 more than 50 past Paralympians met there with future 2012 Paralympic hopefuls to celebrate 60 years since the first ever Stoke Mandeville Games and watch the Handover live from Beijing. They were joined by 300 local school children who, with the past Paralympians, led a lap of honour around the track carrying the flags of each Paralympic nation. The event launched plans for a Stoke Mandeville archive, a critical output to the region’s Legacy Trust programme, Accentuate, and featured work commissioned from artist Rachel Gadsden.
75 organisations took part in Open Weekend to launch the Cultural Olympiad. Many venues were open to the public for the first time and Screen South supported the showing of previously unseen film archive in 11 cities. The region fully embraced LOCOG’s brief to Light Up with the Spinnaker Tower illuminated in the 2012 colours, school children from Gravesham leading a light parade and large scale artist commissioned events in Dover and Windsor funded by ACE and SEEDA. Dover engaged ‘The World Famous’ to transform the famous coastline and white cliffs in to a nostalgic dance of pyrotechnic colour and Windsor Festival produced their first ever outdoor work with Laurent Louyer creating a series of light installations throughout the town. Her Majesty even gave permission for the Castle to be included on switch-on night. The South East is focussing its Cultural Olympiad activity on festivals, outdoor performance and the development of disabled artists, cultural providers and audiences. Caterina Loriggio South East Creative Programmer for London 2012 email: c.loriggio@culturesouthea st.org.uk
The Cultural Olympiad in the West Midlands got off to a flying start this summer with a dedicated regional launch event. Featuring a spectacular sound and light show and performances from MOBO award winning artist, Soweto Kinch, the Orchestra of the Swan and female acapella group, Black Voices (amongst others). The evening also paved the way for a weekend of over forty events across the region as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad Open Weekend. Looking ahead, work is now underway to harness and maintain that momentum in the run up to 2012. An ambitious Legacy Trust programme has already been approved and will form the basis of West Midlands Cultural Olympiad celebrations over the next four years. The programme focuses on four distinct areas and has been designed to involve the widest number of people possible, as well as build on existing regional strengths and showcase our unique cultural life to a local, national and international audience: 1. Dance Programme: A programme of events which will make use of the region’s strong dance
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
infrastructure and encourage wider participation in dance – particularly among young people and diverse communities. 2. Community Games: Inspired by Dr William Penny Brookes, the creator of the annual Wenlock Olympian Games founded in Shropshire in the 19th century, this strand will encourage communities across the region to stage their own sporting and cultural community games and celebrate their local distinctiveness. 3. International Programme ‘Connections’: This will be a 6-9 month festival in 2011 involving events in different parts of the West Midlands. The focus will be on delivering economic and marketing benefits and showcasing the West Midlands via trade and cultural collaborations. 4.Young People As Cultural Producers: Celebrating the creativity and dynamism of the region’s 14-25 age population by providing opportunities for young people to be cultural producers and decision-makers themselves, working with organisations such as Creative Partnerships.
ARTS AT THE HEART
Paving the Way
Igniting Ambition The East Midlands 2012 Great Exhibition Paul Brookes To help ignite ambition and celebrate the hosting of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the East Midlands is working with a number of partnerships to create each year a different showcase festival, before culminating in 2012 in a unique, regionwide, festival of cultural events provisionally entitled “The East Midlands Great Exhibition”. The Great Exhibition will be preceded by four annual showcases, in each of the summers of 2008-2011, each of which will be bigger in duration, in geographical spread and in scale of operation; each building expertise, capacity, participation and profile for the big celebration in 2012 and for sustaining the activity in the years beyond. Legacies will be embedded through the hosting of a World Youth Biennale in the region in 2013 and through the organising of a further regional Great Exhibition every three years.
Idea 13 and other Eastern tales
DJ Mukl’s music and video projection illuminated Norwich castle, seen from far and wide. What was so exciting about the whole range of events was the evident enjoyment of the thousands of people engaging in this broad array of activities. Over this weekend the whole cultural sector celebrated some of their best and most cherished assets as well as growing new ones. From celebrating our heritage to developing new works by leading visual artists. Another valuable dimension of the weekend was the depth of engagement of young people in the development and production of the projects. For example in Norwich young people devised and produced new pieces of animation and dance to accompany the illumination of the castle and in Luton members of the Youth Orchestra performed the newly composed music and young members of a local carnival group performed in the show in
promote understanding of diversity. The showcase will last two weeks and will conclude with the Leicester Caribbean Carnival parade on Emancipation Day. There will be other showcases with international links in 2010 and 2011. Finally, in 2012, the whole region will come together to create a unique celebration, lasting the five months of May through to September 2012, showcasing new work that has been commissioned and offering a platform for other major Cultural Olympiad projects.
Paul Brookes East Midlands Creative Programmer for London 2012 Email: email@example.com Main picture: Tegala, Simon Halo, Luton Inserts: The Body Electric, East Midlands Last Roll, East Midlands
ARTS AT THE HEART
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
An initial allocation of £1.61 million has been offered by the Legacy Trust UK for the five year programme, spanning the five years 2008-2012. An additional £2 million is being sought from public and private sector partners. The first highly successful showcase was in Derby: the One Big Place/Derby Feste events created to mark the Beijing Handover and the launch of the Cultural Olympiad. Quad, the city’s new visual arts and film centre, opened its new building to the public during the Derby Feste weekend; Quad is strategically placed next to the city’s outdoor Big Screen, the first of what we hope will be many Live Sites by the time we reach 2012. In 2009 a second showcase is being developed in Leicester for the staging of the 2009 UK Special Olympics, which provides a unique opportunity to raise awareness of disability arts and sports and to
Liz Hughes In the East of England the Cultural Olympiad was launched in style this weekend with a rich variety of activity at over sixty events. From Ely cathedral glowing pink across the fens, to a sold out slam night at Norwich’s The Garage on Friday night, to Metal’s Village Green event including over 7,000 people in cultural and sporting activity in Southend, to a story dancer telling Molly dancers about the sporting history of their area in Cambridge on Saturday and on Saturday and Sunday Simon Tegala’s Halo shone over St George’s Square in Luton and Shazad Dawood and
costumes they had helped make themselves. There will also be a strong legacy from these events, for example in Southend they used the weekend to recruit members to a new cultural consortium for the area, known as Idea 13. In other areas people are enthused by the activity this weekend and are now planning what they can do next. The main idea behind the launch weekend was to open up our cultural treasures, and perhaps ask people to look at them in a new way. It truly was for everyone, and for my part the memories will last forever. It’s just a shame I couldn’t get to all 60 events.
Liz Hughes Creative Programmer for the East of England for London 2012 firstname.lastname@example.org .uk
Teenage Kicks Portrait of a Nation Sarah Langworthy
So what’s been happening across the country? In London, youngsters have developed the ‘This is who we think we are’ project which is an exploration of cultural heritage and identity through dance, performance and film. It involves sixty, 14-19 year olds from across the capital who are focussing specifically on the impact of migration from the Caribbean and Africa, and showing how it altered the cultural landscape forever. It’s been all about fashion in Bradford as 20 youngsters decided to tell the story of their history and culture through clothes. The budding Stella McCartneys and Karl Lagerfelds told the story of their hometown through their designs and at the same time reflected their hopes for who they wanted to be in the future. ‘Home – A Portrait of Birmingham’s Vibrant
Liverpool is the lead city in the Portrait of a Nation project due to their status as European Capital of Culture 2008.
Portrait of Bradford
Throughout the city’s cultural year there has been an emphasis on reaching the entire community, to get them talking about Liverpool, what it’s like to live in the world-renowned city and what they want to see happen in the future. Portrait of a Nation fits perfectly into the cultural programme and the finale, which took place in December, will be a highlight of the year. Across the city, youngsters have been working on five different projects. The Comedy Trust enabled a group to work with local comedians to learn stand up, sketch writing and animation skills. Becci Reid who is 16 years old has been taking part and honing her comedic skills. She said that working with the trust has been great for her confidence and added, “We’ve taken inspiration from the scouse language and we do make fun of those things which are typically
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
Urban Villages’ was developed and delivered in partnership with Birmingham’s leading arts organisations. Working alongside professional artists, 60 young people worked as apprentices, learning new skills and covering everything from opera to photography. Across the water, Belfast created a ‘Contemporary Icons’ project which explored the local musical heritage of Northern Ireland. Using blogging and social networking sites the teenagers hosted online discussions and created virtual exhibitions concentrating on their interpretation of music.
ARTS AT THE HEART
For the past two years, hundreds of young people across the UK have been exploring what it means to be a teenager in modern day Britain. From local dialects to fashion, places they hang out, to the music they listen to, their lives are shaped by the cultures, places and people around them. “The Portrait of a Nation” project, which is headed up by the Liverpool Culture Company and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), has joined together 17 cities in a national conversation about how young people feel about their heritage. Since 2006, teens from cities like Inverness and Brighton have been learning more about where they come from, talking about what makes their hometown so special, looking at what culture and identity means to them and focusing on their hopes for the future. Working closely with the majority of arts, education and heritage teams in the 17 local authorities, groups were identified to take on the challenge and explore their heritage in their own unique way. And once the work was well underway, every city has been encouraged to put on a special event to showcase the work their young people have been involved in, giving members of the public the opportunity to understand a new and creative perspective of where they live.
Portrait of Liverpool
scouse – but in an affectionate way!” The other Liverpool projects are Sola Arts in which a group of Somalian girls have created posters around their heritage and experience, and FUSE where refugees and asylum seekers were given the opportunity to explore their identity through performance. National Museums Liverpool has worked on ‘Making your Mark’ where children have created an art piece called ‘The Portrait’ using graffiti and images of tattoos, piercing, clothes, hair styles which represent youth culture today. The Urban Whispers project has seen young people in North Liverpool set up their own website and podcasts dedicated to what it’s like living in Liverpool and tackling issues such as racist attacks, gun crime and bereavement. From this small set of examples it’s clear to see the variety, depth and commitment the young people have invested in their individual projects. It has been imperative that an initiative on this scale is on the radar of influential decision makers.
ARTS AT THE HEART
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
Appeal to Politicians
In October a young representative from each city took their story to Westminster with the aim of meeting MPs and telling them about their work to date. They had an audience of 60 MPs including Culture Secretary Andy Burnham MP, Charles Clark MP and Charles Kennedy MP. The teenagers were united in their appeal to politicians, asking the politicians to listen to how they wish to be perceived as young British adults and the issues which matters to them. They also talked about their experiences in the project so far and shared what makes the place they call home so special. They were joined by Phil Redmond, Deputy Chair and Creative Director of the Liverpool Culture Company, who knows how important it is to ensure influential people are aware and
support the project. He said, “Portrait of a Nation has given hundreds of young people a great opportunity to look into their heritage and talk to this country’s decision makers about what cultural heritage means to them. “From my work on Grange Hill, Brookside and Hollyoaks I know that giving teenagers a platform to discuss what it’s like to be a young person in modern day Britain is something which shouldn’t be under-estimated.” The initiative culminated in a spectacular finale event in one of Liverpool’s most stunning venues – Grade I listed St. George’s Hall. All the youngsters involved in the project from across the UK descended on the Capital of Culture on 1 and 2 December to showcase elements of their work. Many influential decision makers and well known names took part in the event, but the main aim of the two days was for the young people to talk to each other, share their hometown experiences, find out what they’ve got in common or how their values or identity differ.
“The voice of modern day Britain will be brought together in one city in what will be a fitting end to the project.” Carole Souter, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “The debate around Britishness and cultural identity has spread from Westminster to the street and December’s event has been the culmination of everything the young people have experienced. We’ve given them a voice to tell us what is important and
their responses created a Portrait of Our Nation as seen entirely through the eyes of young people.” Portrait of a Nation has empowered thousands of teenagers to explore their roots and really think about what they want the future to hold for them. Through activities, both regionally and nationally, they’ve found out a huge amount about themselves and what part they play in Britain today. It also goes to show that cities can work together creatively, not just on policy-led processes, and produce something wonderfully original and thought provoking.
Sarah Langworthy Liverpool City Council Email:Sarah.Langworthy@liverpool.gov.uk For more information about Portrait of a Nation visit www.portraitofanation.net. To find out more about Liverpool’s Capital of Culture year go to www.liverpool08.com and to learn more about HLF visit www.hlf.org.uk The Cities participating in the project have been: Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Brighton & Hove, Bristol, Canterbury, Cardiff, Derby, Leeds, Liverpool, Newham (London), Manchester, Newcastle/Gateshead, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, and Inverness.
APE has three main objectives: Increasing recognition of the value of culture and sport in the wider economy. Creating a greater emphasis on expertise and good judgement when looking to improve standards and raise performance.
ARTS AT THE HEART
nalgao features Winter 2008
“A Passion for Excellence” (APE) is the result of a six year journey. That journey stemmed from observations by a number of senior cultural and local authority managers that cultural services had a huge amount to offer communities but seemed to be continually overlooked in local government thinking; always willing, never invited. Both culture and local government were missing out as a result. “Culture and sport” says the report, “are the glue that holds communities together.” Local teams, theatres, festivals and galleries are all sources of interest, entertainment, income, and above all, local pride…Parents want safe and exciting places close to home where their children can play. Fans want successful and entertaining local teams to follow and clubs with strong identities true to their roots. People feel better about themselves and where they live when they have these things.”
ARTS AT THE HEART
Leaders of Place
Paul Kelly inspects “A Passion for Excellence – an improvement strategy for culture and sport” and asks can you afford to live without it?
Improve and Survive
So, it’s been a tough year for you as Arts Officer for Blather District Council (or wherever) and you are just about to go into your 2009-10 budget-setting round. The prospects don’t look that good, either for you or for your colleagues in other cultural services. And you know from inside information about the Council’s mediumterm budget review exercise that even if you survive unscathed in this budget cycle, it’s not going to get any easier in future years. The problem is that you have some really innovative arts organisations in your area who are doing social engagement work by the shedful and who are relying on your funding and goodwill. You also have some really fantastic cross-cutting projects and initiatives. Your line manager and Director periodically make appreciative noises about the hard work you put in and the positive impact it seems to be generating. From time to time you take your Executive Member for Culture and Leisure out on fact finding and orientation trips and they seem to come back enthused and positive. But somehow all these efforts never quite translate themselves into budgets and resources. You’ve lost 20% of your budget over the last three years and the prospects for the future don’t look that bright. You seem to be continually sprinting just to stand still. So how on earth is a forty page document written in government-speak about a cultural improvement strategy going to help you? It’s called “A Passion for Excellence”. You know all about both of those, even though your passion is getting a trifle frayed at the edges.
Democratisation: pushing money and responsibility down and out to the lowest possible levels, being open minded about who is best placed to deliver services, and trusting people in the community to know what cultural and sporting services they want and need. APE is about supporting local government as “leaders of place”, working with their local partners to deliver better outcomes, improve the quality of life locally and improve the delivery of cultural and sport services to local people. The strategy sets a framework for improvement in the culture and sport sector and includes the mechanisms and tools to support selfimprovement. The report is aimed at local authority leaders and chief executives, people who are often preoccupied with planning, housing, management, finance and maybe education and social services issues. Culture is not always on their radar. So one role of APE is to help you say to them, “you’ve got these assets and services, do you realise how much they are contributing to your corporate priorities?”
National Indicator Adult participation in sport and active recreation (NI 8) Use of public libraries (NI 9)
Stronger communities Visit to museums and galleries (NI 10) Engagement in the arts (NI 11) Participation in regular volunteering (NI 6) Children and young people (be healthy)
Children and young people’s participation in high quality PE and sport (NI 57)
Children and young people (make a positive contribution)
Young people’s participation in positive activities (NI 110)
ARTS AT THE HEART
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
This message of the social and economic value of culture is starting to register with local authority leaders and Chief Executives, says IDeA’s National Advisor for Cultural Services, Martyn Allison. But what they are telling him in return is that specialists, like arts officers and museum service managers, need to understand the corporate issues that councils are having to respond to and either re-focus their services to address those agendas or provide evidence of how their existing
work is contributing. Of course a number of local authority arts officers realised this a while ago and have been doing this for some time. But they have been hampered by two things, lack of a common set of performance data and lack of a common methodology for collecting evidence of impact. How can you prove how good your arts service is if there is a different way of measuring success in every local authority? APE is seeking to create an evidence framework so local authority cultural services officers can demonstrate to heads of services, chief executives and councillors the value their activities and services can offer and the difference they have made. Of course some cultural services, including the arts, have been doing this for a while now. But overall the methodology has been inconsistent and the response has been patchy. “Sport,” says Martyn Allison, “grabbed the agenda six years ago and many library services have moved from a services agenda to an outcomes agenda.” But local authority arts services, he says, are now fast catching up. “There was an opportunity with CPA, but the arts never cracked the data sets”, he says, which assumes that arts officers understood what the CPA data sets were about. When it comes to Local Area Agreements things are looking a lot better for the arts. But there is a clear inconsistency across local authority cultural services. According to IDeA’s ready-reckoner, 61% of local authority sports services are in Local Area Agreements. The figure for the arts is 25%, for Libraries 12% and for Museums just 3% engagement. The variation shows, says Allison, that local authority cultural services are not sharing ideas and expertise.
Many of these issues stem from “Strong and Prosperous Communities” the 2006 Local Government White Paper which seeks to give local people and local communities more influence and power to improve their lives. And with this word ‘improvement’ comes the ‘Improvement Agenda’ and the 35 national performance indicators for local authorities.
Evidence So, there are two concepts that are central to APE. Evidence and improvement and thankfully the White Paper and allied measures make it relatively simple to address both. Firstly, for the cultural sector as a whole there is a maximum of just seven indicators to report on (see box). And for the arts there is just one arts-specific indicator NI 11 public engagement - and two other possible ones (volunteering and young people’s participation). Think back to that recent time when the arts were faced with a ‘basket’ of 35 possible arts indicators to choose from. The new regime makes it simple, focused and comparable!
Improvement “Some people really don’t like the word improvement”, says Martyn Allison. “But when I talk to arts managers or cultural service teams them about what they are doing and where they are going, actually most of them know and I’ve yet to meet one that doesn’t want to improve! So there’s a bit of a gap between language, perception and understanding.” The improvement toolkit that comes with A Passion for Excellence, makes it really easy. The toolkit is a set of self-reflective questionnaires covering;
outcomes. So, three simple but powerful concepts underpin this whole complex and possibly foreign field:
Challenge (B) Performance and address underperformance
Support Through: (C) Regional support structure, (D) Sharing knowledge and learning, (E) Leadership and workforce development
• Leadership • Policy and Strategy • Community Engagement • Partnerships • Resource Management • People Management • Customer Service and • Achievement and Learning The toolkit gives arts officers and their service managers a chance to look at what is being done and what could be better. And of course year-onyear, the toolkit will also contribute to evidence of change and outcomes. “But,” stresses Martyn Allison, “it’s important not to mix up performance management with performance
Ten things you and your council can do to deliver the strategy and improve culture and sport services: 1 Show how culture and sport can contribute to delivering your sustainable community strategy by examining the evidence from other places and making the case in your council 2 Show how culture and sport can help deliver your LAA improvement targets 3 If increasing participation in culture and sport would help you improve outcomes for your communities include one of the participation indicators as an improvement target in your LAA 4 Invite representatives from the culture and
measurement. What we have seem to have done in the past is spend a lot of time focusing on the performance indicators and their measurement when actually what we needed to do was focus on management issues. Good performance measurement and better outcomes is the result of good performance management.” And of course good management should make working at the coalface just that little bit more satisfying and rewarding.
The Improvement Framework At the heart of the 40 APE page document is a very simple diagram (see diagram above) setting out three extremely clear principles and the relationships between stakeholders and
sport sector onto your Local Strategic Partnerships and its thematic partnerships 5 Commit to using the new culture and sport improvement toolkit to self-assess your organisation and use it to define your improvement priorities 6 Consider using one of the external challenge processes to help you improve 7 Get involved in the development and delivery of culture and sport strategic reviews 8 Help support the development of your culture and sport regional improvement network 9 Identify what you are good at and share it with others. Take the opportunity to learn from your colleagues 10 Offer to become a peer or support your professional body in making their contribution to delivering the strategy.
It sounds easy in theory, and it can pay dividends in practice. I often remember a breakout session at the 2007 nalgao Conference led by Esko Reinikainen, Arts Development Officer at Monmouthshire County Council. Shortly before Christmas 2006, Esko found himself called to meet his service Director where he was told that Monmouth’s complete Arts Service, including his job, was being cut, as part of budget savings. Esko decided this decision was based on poor knowledge and information. So he gathered evidence, he got the support of his local arts community and the local press and he challenged the view that Monmouthshire’s arts service was dispensible. And as a result, Monmouthshire still has an arts service. But why wait for a crisis to introduce your own improvement framework?
Paul Kelly Editor Email: email@example.com You can download “A Passion for Excellence” from: http://www.idea.gov.uk/idk/core/page.do? pageId=8829078 The Culture and sport improvement toolkit (18 files) can be downloaded from: http://www.idea.gov.uk/idk/core/page.do?pageId =8722761#contents-1
By “Culture and Sport” we mean: • The performing and visual arts, craft, and fashion • The creative industries • Museums, artefacts, archives and design • Libraries, literature, writing and publishing • The built heritage, architecture, landscape and archaeology • Sports events, facilities and development • Parks, open spaces, wildlife habitats, water environment and countryside recreation • Children's play, playgrounds and play activities • Tourism and visitor attractions • Festivals and attractions • Informal leisure pursuits.
Improving Places Delivering Outcomes
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
(A) Data and evidence of impact on outcomes
Monitor what you are doing and collect data and evidence of impact. Challenge or question how well you are succeeding and if you are not, make changes! Get Support; engage with your community, your regional agencies, your Councillors and your fellow local authority cultural services and share your knowledge, ideas, skills and aspirations.
ARTS AT THE HEART
Yes We Can! - The AAH
ARTS AT THE HEART
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
Paul Kelly spoke to Martyn Allison, National Advisor for Culture and Sport at IDeA about
Thereâ€™s lots of good practice in the arts and in Local Government arts services, so why was this improvement strategy needed? Yes, I agree there are some brilliant examples of how the arts make a difference to peoples lives. If this is the case then why do the arts struggle to position themselves in councils when it comes to corporate priorities and funding? The same is true to varying degrees for the rest of the culture and sport sector. The strategy emerged from a realisation that the sector as a whole needs to raise its game in modern local government if it is to be taken seriously by chief executives and lead members. Good activity alone is no longer enough. The sector needs to show it understands what issues councils need to address, can contribute to these based on evidence and can deliver effectively when asked to do so. It is in these ways that it needs to improve and the arts need to do it alongside their colleagues in the culture and sport family rather than on their own. What do we mean by improvement? Good question! I understand the arts sector may not like the term improvement and prefer the term development. Iâ€™m not sure the words mean
the same thing but language seems to matter. Improvement means to get better at what you do and how you do it. Itâ€™s quite a simple concept really. The term is common currency in the rest of the public services and the private sector. The term continuous improvement means that as an organisation you are continuously seeking to make better the services or products you provide to the public. If you don't do this you either fail to meet their needs or go out of business. Public sector reform has been about making public services more relevant to users and citizens, making them more effective and delivering them as efficiently as possible. As receivers of public services we all recognise this and as providers we need to strive for it. Why are the arts any different if they are receiving public funding? If they are commercial then the business argument applies.
The report talks about addressing underperformance. Who judges underperformance and how? In the past the answer would probably have been the Government and the Audit Commission through the numerous indicators and standards. Now the answer is us. We as a
sector need to be comfortable with setting our own objectives and standards that reflect what our communities want and need and delivering against them. The concepts of self assessment and self improvement are now at the core of the strategy. The new single improvement tool (culture and sport improvement toolkit) is simply a benchmark that describes what an excellent organisation looks like. You can assess yourself against this honestly and identify what you are good at which you can share with others and where you need to improve by learning from others. Again very simple and it works.
How is the improvement strategy going to be used? The strategy is a statement of intent owned by all the key players across the sector. It sets out an agreed road map for improving culture and sport services in councils including their partners. It aligns with the wider improvement strategy agreed across central and local government demonstrating that the sector believes it is important to local communities and is committed to improving what we do and how we work. It sets out some key ambitions in
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
How does it fit with other policy initiatives like the Comprehensive Area Assessment? How long have you got? The CPA measured the performance of council services and at present culture and sport are the weakest block in the CPA. The CAA will judge how well a community is served by its councils and other partners working together as a local strategic partnership. It will judge how well the community needs are defined, if the key improvements in outcomes have been properly identified and prioritised, if all the organisations and partners are working well together to solve these problems, if the targets set in the LAA are being met and if the councils and partners are committed to self improvement. That word again. This is where culture and sport can demonstrate the
At the end of the document you say one of the measurements of success will be its take up. How have Local Authorities responded in the eight months since it was published? Well firstly we need to remember many of them were actively engaged in the process of designing the strategy, the toolkit and the data sets. This has What tangible benefits for the arts might been a partnership with councils. This is sector lead this initiative achieve? improvement. We know 50% of councils attended Well if you believe that the arts do make a the regional events. A recent IDeA survey showed difference to peoples lives and improve where 76% of councils who responded had read the people live, now you have a chance to prove it. strategy. However I suspect the reality among many Those councils who have put the arts in their working in councils, including the arts sections, is LAA clearly believe they can. However we now that this is not on their radar and if it is they do not have to deliver and show that we can improve really understand it. I suspect there is also a participation and when we do it does make a proportion that are aware but hope it just goes difference and contributes to the outcomes. We away. The reality it that it’s not going to go away have spent years claiming this but without any and this agenda of improving public services is now real evidence. These councils now have a chance here to stay even if elections change the tone and to prove it and produce that evidence. For the the technology. Organisations like nalgao are critical rest we have an opportunity to help them by to getting these messages out and demonstrating sharing our best practice and learning from real leadership on this agenda. If we can get them. If they succeed we all have a good story everyone rowing in the same direction the future for to tell when we go into the next spending review this sector I believe is very good. If we fail to engage and when budgets are set in councils. This is not with it I fear we may revert to being undervalued rocket science it is simple logic. Let's not miss and marginalised in councils even more than some this chance. of you may be now. It’s up to us. contribution it makes to improving peoples’ lives and achieving the outcomes. Of course if it is not doing this but is focused on other agendas then the CAA may have something to say about it or the council may view it as an irrelevance or a luxury it cannot afford. Quite a challenge for us all.
ARTS AT THE HEART
terms of improving data and evidence, organisation competence, leadership and proposes doing this together not as separate services. The challenge is now for all of us including councils and those working in councils to do their bit. If we do so I think the sector can be in a very different position in three years time. If it doesn't, given pending spending reductions, I fear the worst. It’s crunch time.
“A Passion For Excellence - an Improvement Strategy for Culture and Sport”
nalgao Conference Report Blackpool, October 2008
The 15th nalgao annual conference, took place in October in Blackpool. The programme attracted a wide cross section of delegates and speakers from local authorities and arts organisations across the UK for three days of presentations, interaction and networking. This 14 page section outlines some of the issues and themes that were raised. In his opening welcome, Councillor Tony Williams, Blackpool Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Communities remembered playing bass for a local rock band supporting the Rolling Stones at the nearby magnificent Empress Ballroom. That was the night the audience rioted and the Rolling Stones were banned from Blackpool, a ban the Council has only just rescinded. Councillor Williams also played bass with Jethro Tull. His Mother, he said, attended the concert and said she quite liked the band. ‘Except for the bloke out front who stood on one leg and blew raspberries into his flute’. Only in Blackpool… We also had a stimulating keynote speech from Wayne Hemingway of Hemingway Design who illustrated the banalities of the environment we live in and told us that Arts Officers could change more than they realised (see pages 26-28). Alan Davey, Chief Executive of Arts Council England spoke about the challenges Arts Council England was facing and how they were addressing them before answering some challenging questions from the floor. In her keynote speech,
Louise deWinter, Chief Executive of the National Campaign for the Arts talked about some of the campaigns that NCA is currently undertaking and how a strong partnership with local government could help win them. The conference included, as ever, some artists in residence, this year writer David Bateman who appropriately wrote of Fish and Chips, seagulls and conference questions amongst other things. Our resident photographer was Yannick Dixon, whose photos adorn this section, and the writer John Siddique and performance groups Sound Wave, The Pixel Playground and Faceless Street & Community Arts. As you will see from the rest of this conference report our delegates enjoyed an absolutely fabulous (and we use those words quite deliberately) cabaret at the stunning Tower Ballroom and they thoroughly enjoyed the conference programme, the sea air and Blackpool’s generous hospitality. It was not all fun and frivolity. We were delighted to have both the DCMS and the Arts Council in attendance. Some hard issues were aired and shared and have helped set the tone for nalgao’s work in the year ahead. But I think all the delegates who attended would join us in saying Blackpool was well switched on and really brilliant. We’ll be back!
Lorna Brown & Katherine West Conference Chairs
ARTS AT THE HEART
Blackpool Tower at night
Georgian architecture and early Victoriana, Blackpool has gems from a later era, epitomising the ‘naughty nineties’ of Edwardiana. And what gems they are! The walk from the train station to my hotel, past the windswept beach, and then to the Winter Gardens didn’t augur too well, passing terraces with peeling paint and drab 1970s shopping centres. And the large billboard advertising Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown on the front of the Winter Gardens rather eclipsing the rotating neon sign welcoming nalgao delegates, set an interesting tone. But the Tardis-like Winter Gardens were extraordinary. The Spanish Hall where the bulk of the conference was held, was like a set from an old Errol Flynn movie and the Empress Ballroom, was vast and beautiful. Variety is what Blackpool was built on and it has seeped into very the fabric of the town. The Grundy Art Gallery where nalgao held its AGM was cleanly minimalist, just as a contemporary art gallery should be. In contrast the famed Blackpool Illuminations seen by conference delegates from the very finest vintage Trams, were I think I would say, surreal. I don’t think I can recall seeing a bigger collection of kitsch in one place in my life. The study visits at the nalgao conference can be a high point and this year did not disappoint. This year you could go walking in Blackpool, with
two choices of tour, head off to St Helens to see their Big Art Project, visit Preston to see creative industries projects there. Or you could take a sort of outward bound trip, as I did to the East Lancashire Panopticons, a series of iconic public art pieces in improbable places, up lanes so narrow that the coach had to park whilst we scaled D roads. The sculptures were impressive and the panoramas were breathtaking – or maybe that was just the cold. And then there was Blackpool’s Civic Reception in the utterly stunning Tower Ballroom, a marvel of its age. The impossibly camp, yet stylish cabaret had nalgao delegates entranced. At the end of the official floorshow, the assembled mass were summoned onto the Tower’s famed dance floor to learn and execute a dance more delegate than delicate. And they responded with gusto. As one arts officer wrote at the conference end, ‘Please, can we have Mr Bear every year?’ If you couldn’t attend, I hope the photos in this issue give you a flavour of what you missed. So, if we arrived expecting little, Blackpool proved us completely wrong. I for one shall be returning when I can. And I am sure I can speak for all who attended the conference when I say, ‘Thank you Blackpool!’
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
I first visited Blackpool about twenty years ago. I was working for North West Arts and would come and visit Blackpool’s the Grand Theatre to see what they were doing with the grant we gave them – all £2,000 of it! I can’t say the town made much of an impression on me then. It seemed the sort of place you came for funfair rides, kiss-me-quick hats and sticks of seaside rock. So I must confess, I booked for the nalgao conference without huge enthusiasm or without expecting a lot and quite possibly I wasn’t alone. Now, I have attended many nalgao conferences, if not most. And on a good day I have vignettes of them all. I recall a rather wild conference Celidh in Leicester. And I remember Graham Long’s mobile phone ringing incessantly as he delivered a keynote speech at the Bristol conference – and he answered the call! I recall eating fish and chips on the pier at the Civic reception in Brighton and Bernard Atha’s stentorian and impassioned conference introduction in Leeds. And then there were the venues; the last minute rather unexpected and unusual settings of Aintree Race Course in Liverpool, the bewildering and cavernous London Dungeon and the delightful Cambridge Corn Exchange. And am I dreaming or was there once a conference in Telford? And so to Blackpool. Well, it’s not exactly Liverpool is it? Yet how wrong can you be! For whilst Liverpool’s grandeur is built on glorious
nalgao visit the Grand Theatre. Photo by Yannick Dixon
ARTS AT THE HEART
Paul Kelly Editor Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Whoopee Club
Turning the Tide:
ARTS AT THE HEART
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
Paul Kelly Like the tide coming in and out, the fortunes of towns and cities ebb and flow, albeit more slowly than twice-daily. For Blackpool, the economic tide has been out for some time. Once it was, without question, Britain’s number one holiday resort attracting in its heyday, more than 17 million visitors a year who stayed in more than 100,000 beds in hotels or B&Bs. But the rise of foreign travel in the 1960s and 1970s meant that Blackpool, however warm its welcome, could not compete with the sunny Costas, Islas and, more recently, the Floridas and Balis of this world. Millions still visit Blackpool , but there has been a spiralling decline in visitor numbers and, therefore, income. And like a number of British south coast resorts, Blackpool has become a sort of ‘Costa del dole’, or ‘Benefit-by the-Sea’. This has attracted worryingly high levels of social and economic deprivation, affecting 70% of its population. It became the tenth most deprived area in the UK, with life expectancy at an all-time low, and unemployment, teenage pregnancy and suicide rates on the rise. Tourism accounts for 85% of Blackpool’s economy and as that has declined, so many young local people, unable to find permanent jobs and affordable housing, have left the town. But the tide is turning, and the arts and
culture are playing a role in Blackpool’s self re-invention. Two factors have assisted this. First, CABE’s report “Shifting Sands” helped to raise the issue of Britain’s declining seaside towns. The report acknowledges the huge contribution that seaside resorts have made to Britain’s cultural identity and heritage. “Coastal towns are now reinventing themselves with ‘flair and imagination’,” it says, “designing new high-quality buildings and open spaces using the ‘bold ideas, outstanding initiative and good design’ that characterised the resorts in their heyday.”
Subvention Fund And it also helps if you have an internationally renowned authority on the economic, demographic, cultural and management issues that face cities around the globe on your side. Sir Peter Hall is professor of planning and regeneration at University College London and President of the Town and Country Planning Association. A blitz evacuee, he attended Blackpool Grammar School for seven years from 1943. And until earlier this year he Chaired Blackpool’s Urban Regeneration Company, ReBlackpool. Blackpool 365 is a £1 billion regeneration project drawn up by international urban design company EDAW to improve the urban fabric, the
Baywatch The arts have not always responded well to such situations, sometimes putting aesthetics and notions of style and excellence ahead of pragmatic proposals that will deliver the economic outcomes. Blackpool, king of variety and commercial by upbringing, has no such qualms. They have one of the biggest beaches in Britain, so they are now staging the European Beach Volleyball Championships and the Britain Tour Masters series in a new purpose-built area.
Blackpool Tower and Lights
Paul Kelly Editor Email: email@example.com Additional reporting by Sarah Herbert and Alison Jones, with thanks. For more details on Blackpool 365, a 40 page PDF of the plans and projects is downloadable from www.blackpool365.com and for details of the Festival of Lights go to www.festivaloflight.co.uk and http://www.zeronorth.com/fol/events.htm The Five Project Themes • Beach Sport • Blackpool Reunited • Dance • Magic, circus and variety • Fire & Light
Gaudiness and Gaiety Extending the season has long been a demand of tourism marketing officers and Blackpool has really risen to the challenge, creating a new festival in, wait for it, February of all months. Showzam! which launched in 2008 is a Festival of Magic, Circus and Variety. This includes a ‘Heat the Streets’ involving a number of artistic commissions and a circus parade through town plus ‘The Circus of Wonders’ exhibition and Miss Behaves Variety Nightly with sword swallowing, comedy hula hoops and ‘a little bit of hanky
World Ballroom Dancing Championships
level of flexibility. Projects like this always take longer than anticipated to get going and the subvention means that budgets can be rolled from year to year. The terms of the deal negotiated with NWDA means that Blackpool’s new festival programme has to have an international or national dimension and has to feature new events. It also has to meet one of five themes (listed at the end of this article). And predictably the aim of all this is to attract additional visitors, increase bed nights, increase media coverage, create indirect jobs and increase direct economic benefit; all standard regeneration fare.
panky’. And the festival will be topped off by a Carnival Ball with a flower theme. “There’s a great performing arts culture in Blackpool,” said Liz Pugh. “You don’t really have to teach children dance. They’ve known all the steps since the age of about two. And there’s a direct link here with the Royal Ballet School.” The Council said, Robert Owen, is developing income streams from events, sourcing sponsorship, developing partnerships in the town working with key agencies like ACE and the Heritage Lottery and linking into regional and national initiatives like ‘Taste Lancashire’ and the Cultural Olympiad. It’s hard to give a proper flavour of this initiative in words. But as a cultural planning disciple, what I really like about this aspect of Blackpool’s development is that they are not trying to be something they are not. They recognise the gaudiness and gaiety of their past and the skills that this has brought to the town. They know these are distinctive strengths and they’ve decided to celebrate and extend them. Quite a number of delegates at the nalgao conference said they would come back to Blackpool. The cultural developments in Blackpool 365 means there are a number of distinctive and entertaining events that are worth coming back for. Which of course is precisely what Blackpool wants to achieve!
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
Art Car Parade
It’s the kind of Baywatch with balls that Blackpool thrives on. The programme themes respond to Blackpool’s strengths for example building on its reputation for ballroom dancing – the world championships are held here every year – expanding it into salsa, street, northern soul and staging the UDO World Street Dance Championships. Allied to this, Walk The Plank have worked with Manchester’s Company Fierce to create a new outdoor performance programme and an allied urban arts festival. Other aspects of the festival programme involve programmes of fire and light: seeking increase the number of light-related festivals through the winter, including those for Diwali or the Chinese New Year. Blackpool has always had a reputation for armed forces R&R, so Blackpool Remembers will strengthen those associations with opportunities for reunions, and memorabilia. A new public art project at the town’s war memorial has strengthened that with simplicity and grace. Blackpool is creating another new dance event in May 2009, Out2Dance. This will celebrate indoor dance, that has long been a part of Blackpool’s entertainment tradition, but outside in the open air. And it will mix styles like aerial ballet and ballroom. The Festival of Lights that runs through the Autumn as part of the Blackpool Illuminations featured nine artists who created an extraordinary range of illuminated installations and sculptures. And five community projects contributed to these. The Festival also featured a parade of hundreds of lit-up motorcycles cruising down the prom, a massive Art Car Parade.
ARTS AT THE HEART
transport system, create more visitor attractions and introduce a re-vitalised town to a new generation, creating a new wave of economic development, of course, in the process. The impressive masterplan includes renewing sea defences, renewing and improving the promenade that forms part of Blackpool’s famous ‘Golden Mile’, creating new parks and extending the town’s indoor shopping centre. A modest but significant part of this massive capital infrastructure plan is the creation by Visit Blackpool of a new festivals and events programme and this was the subject of a presentation at the nalgao conference by the Blackpool Council’s Head of Marketing, Robert Owen and a related presentation by Liz Pugh, Director of Salford’s Walk the Plank company, best known for their travelling theatre ship. The festivals and events programme is economically driven, designed, unsurprisingly, to bring new visitors to the town. It has attracted £3.5 million from North West Development Agency (NWDA) with a planned match funding target that will create a total budget of almost £5.7 million over three years. Unusually, NWDA’s investment is not a grant, but a subvention fund, which the Council has to apply to for the amounts it needs. This, says Owen, gives a useful
: n a m e t a B d e i c n v e d Da n resi
ARTS AT THE HEART
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
i t e o p e c n e r Confe
e Cambridge th t a s n o ti a rv ty obse ool based poet astute and wit ’s rp e w o iv R L n e h m o Jo r lc e e Aft to w were delighted conference, we ere’s how he captured us. .H David Bateman or. Paul Kelly, Edit
The Memory Of Things Blackpool (With thanks to Alan Davey for assistance with details)
Twenty Arts Officers Twenty Arts Officers on a walking tour Twenty Arts Officers on a walking tour & if two Arts Officers should just casually happen to pop into that convenient shop just over there to get something & then not come out again until the last of the party has just disappeared from view – ‘Well, damn! What do you know – we must have just missed them!’ – There’d be eighteen Arts Officers on a walking tour... (Repeat verse structure, subtracting two further Arts Officers per verse, & ad-libbing further plausible excuses, until there are no Arts Officers to arrange funding for the creation of any further verses.)
Views Into North Prom Windows I walked this way this morning: south along North Promenade with window after window of hotel guests at their breakfast. Now it is nearly midnight, & as I catch up with a gaggle of Arts Officers making their way back north, it is the bright interiors of the hotel bars & lounges that draws our eyes. ‘Look,’ says an Arts Officer. ‘There’s a lady singing with her sparkliness on!’
Onstage in the Spanish Hall of the Winter Gardens, the Chief Executive of Arts Council England is having a weird Proustian moment. Forgetting just now the conference & what he was going to say next about embedding a relationship with local government based on trust & respect, he is remembering instead a certain evening on a certain family holiday, his father happily, comically drunk in this very room all those years ago. It is, says the Chief Executive of Arts Council England, not a bad time to dwell on 1946 when the Arts Council was first set up, & to consider its original aims; but really he is dwelling on 1973, & the laughing & the dancing & the swaying & the singing & not least the brief loss of the dentures of his drunken father of yesteryear.
Chips On The Prom
Ask, why are you an Arts Officer? Jot it down, so you know. It makes it into another dimension. We’re going to talk now about the big picture.
Making networks is really vital. A problem halved is a problem shared. The Charity Commission have constitutions you can download. It makes it into another dimension. Collecting the data is also really really really key. You’ve probably been given sheets. It might have a smiley face.
The AGM – a view from the writer-in-residence It is the NALGAO AGM &, being writer-in-residence for the Blackpool conference, I am writer-in-residence for this too. Unfortunately the entire business of the AGM escapes my attention as I am too busy writing this other poem about seagulls.
Is it symbolic that when I at last throw three chips onto the tarmac, the big big gull gets two of them, & is it symbolic that in the sudden rush of gulls, it is hard to tell who gets the third one at all?
Include VIPs in your invitations. Exchange names & numbers. Talk the talk. They love it. Just simple things like that. Do you understand those corporate aims? Learn to say No. I’ve tried & failed. We’re all a bit, kind of, waaaah! & scatty. & finally, it’s not only up to you. Get those things into their little heads. It should be driven by corporate objectives. You’ve probably been given sheets. & also, one other final thing. Use your creativity. Act & dress appropriately. It might be a smiley face. & also, one other final thing. We find it really difficult. They’re really lovely people. It makes it into another dimension. Establish external relationships. We had the Dalai Lama came, last May. When the shit hits the fan, be happy. Just simple things like that.
The young gull perches on the bench at my shoulder, making occasional feed-me noises, while the big big gull hogs the promenade to my front, between me & the setting Blackpool sun, chasing off all comers from prime leftovers-throwing territory. The other gulls lurk around the edges, & as I eat my chips & drink my coke, I’m wondering if I can work all this up into a convincing allegory, an allegory that Arts Officers will like.
Yes, I am sure it is, though symbolic exactly of what I will have to decide later, The conference raises questions, or better still, I will leave it important questions, to the Arts Officers themselves important questions to ponder to decide what is what, while taking your comfort break: which will also give them questions about the uses of arts in society, a sense of involvement questions about the roles of arts in the economy, in the poem, an enabling sense questions about the functions & relations of genuine creative participation, of funding providers... & also at the end, perhaps a slight wry sense of sadness But taking a comfort break when I mention that itself also raises questions, the only three chips I gave the gulls other questions to ponder were the ones as you gaze idly at the address with bad bits in. on the hand-drier: questions like, David Bateman is there really an ‘e’ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org in the middle of Edgeware?
You need to set your PIs. Bigwigs like to see that. Talk to your Finance Officer & understand where your money is Just simple things like that.
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
(With thanks & apologies to Sharon Scaniglia & Joanna Smith, this is a cut-up poem of quotations from, & also a total travesty of, their session, ‘A Survival Guide For New Arts Officers’)
ARTS AT THE HEART
Arts Officers’ New Survival Guide
Poem On Religious Hatred & The Growing Danger Of Self-Censorship
‘Oh I do like to be beside the seaside’ Conference feedback: “This conference was truly inspiring!” “I just wished I could have done two of the study tours, but the break out sessions, key note speakers and evening entertainment provided a great balance this year.” “Thank you Blackpool for possibly being the most insane and la la! place.”
ARTS AT THE HEART
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
“This has been the best conference I have ever been to. Blackpool Council has been brilliant and organised wonderful breakout sessions and evening entertainment, which made me network in a way I enjoyed - I usually avoid networking.” “The civic reception was a brilliant insight into Blackpool's charm and charisma - it was a great addition to the conference.” “Blackpool has stunned me: what an amazing place, and fantastic civic reception - thank you.” “This was my first nalgao conference and it was brilliant. Especially liked the study tour (walking tour of Blackpool) and the civic reception - real flavour of Blackpool and what it's achieving.” “Has made me want to come back to Blackpool.” “Wayne Hemingway was fabulous. Study tour fantastic and Blackpool - just brilliant. Very surreal and a little mad.” “Stimulating, supportive and inspiring as ever! Thursday evening in the Tower Ballroom was fantastic - will be hard to top.” “The cabaret evening was brilliant came away from the conference feeling inspired and energised.” “So much to see, so little time…..”
“Can we have Mr Bear every year?”
nalgao conference nalgao Magazine Winter 2008 ARTS AT THE HEART Conference photos by Yannick Dixon, Lorna Brown and Paul Kelly. Email: email@example.com Web: www.yannickdixon.com
Creative Minds Can Change The World! Wayne Hemingway, Hemingway Design
ARTS AT THE HEART
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
Keynote speech nalgao conference, Blackpool Wednesday October 2008 1
Cheers, afternoon. First of all, our time as creative people has come. When I look out at you lot and the job that you do, I don’t see the word art at all. I know you’ve got that nominal title and that this conference has got the word art in it. But there’s much more to that; you’re part of the creative industries and for the first time ever the creative industries are seen as something very important financially to this country. And it’s a time when we are going through financial crisis and you see service industries suffering like crazy. Retail is just about to fall off a cliff, believe me, it’s going to be bad over the next six months. If you think the figures that you’re seeing from the likes of MFI and M&S are bad now well just you wait and see what they’re going to get like. You’ve got the situation with housing, you’ve got the situation with the banks; they’re all part of the service sector. The creative industries have been second only to the service sector in terms of balance of payments to this country for a long time. We are now at £65 billion per annum and as the service sector plummets, we’re going up. And so the Government is talking about how can we change this economy to being more of a creative economy and you’re part of that. Now you can look at that and think is that about just ensuring there are good artworks or any kind of artworks around? Or can you use your skills to kickstart a sector that replaces manufacturing and starts to replace a bust service sector. And yes, you can. At Hemingway Design we do quite a lot of housing developments which involve the developer contributing to a Section 106 agreement that can be allocated to a public artwork. And quite often it end up with some bloody Cormorants – some are in flight, some are half in flight, some are in a little group – what is a gathering of Cormorants called? A flock? Or you might get the entrance to a housing developing – the authority that allows this on its patch deserves to be in the book Crap Towns. (laughter) Not just for delivering shite housing. But if it’s going to be daft enough to commission
an artist to take some money from a house builder and do this for the entrance to a housing development, then bloody hell, it deserves everything it’s going to get. And I’m sure that the artist who did this was well meaning. And I’m sure that the arts officer has a brain on him or her – they haven’t shown it, quite clearly! We’d do a much better job in this country if public space, if buildings, if housing developments, if schools didn’t just involve artistic minds in the placing of some nominal piece of art but were actually ingrained in the design process. I think that an artist who was commissioned to do some art at a school could actually put their mind to how the school curriculum worked; not just getting kids doing more art, but how the curriculum was designed and how it worked. And somehow your main job, I think, is to get the artists who you know and love to do more than deliver art. And this country will benefit so much financially as well as socially and artistically.
Happiness One of the greatest issues in this country at the moment is civility and social progress. We sold Red or Dead back in the 90s and I wrote this article called the Wimpyfication and Barrattification of Britain which was attacking crappy house builders for delivering crappy housing and saying that it was not just about being ugly, which is very important, but it was also doing very bad things socially for us. And I started to link this with the civility and social progress agenda – you know housing is not just about a roof over your head and it’s primary function shouldn’t be about making money. And it’s not just about architecture either. It’s about having a safe, secure, private place with all the ingredients for happiness which to me are access to community, accessibility to great public transport, open space, leisure and a place to buy essentials. And the people who know most about happiness, in my opinion, are creative minds who grow up and go through school in a very different
way. The majority of what a creative mind thinks is how do we make life better? So that’s what we do when we think about places, when we think about any regeneration schemes that we do. And when we think about any housing developments that we do the first thing that we think about is happiness. And it’s a very difficult concept to get across to architects, and developers believe me! I’m also Chair of an organisation called Building For Life which is part of CABE. And we did some research which showed that over the last seven years housing developments in the UK, 83% of them are poor or mediocre and 29% of them shouldn’t have been built. I’ve been in this industry now for just short of ten years and when you see the calibre of some of the people who are actually delivering them, you will see why those figures come up. And there’s a very different thing from building a place from a mathematician and a structural engineer’s point of view and building it from a creative point of view. This is the gateway entrance to a town called Swindon which is reasonably successful economically. This has been built as the main gateway to the one nice old bit of Swindon which has got a fine old Brewery which has been renovated with nice landscape around it. And you come into Swindon and you see this. Now there are over 600 properties that look like that as you come into Swindon. This one’s been built by Barrett’s. What’s the average of a first time buyer in this country? Yes, 34 or 35. So you’re 34 or 35 and this is the only choice of place you’ve got to go and live. You know £160,000 for a one or two bedroomed flat here. How many of you lot would live in there? How many of you do live in a place like that? Does anybody actually want to buy one (silence) What did someone say, ‘looks like a prison’? (laughter) You can see that straight away because of the way your mind works , but how come that 80% of the housing that’s being built is an approximation of this ? If 80% of the housing
ARTS AT THE HEART
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
we build looks like prisons, who do we blame? You blame the planners. Anyone else blame anyone else?
Get Yourself Elected No, you can’t blame the house builder. You can’t blame the architect either because they’ve got mouths to feed; it’s very hard to make money out of an architectural practice so the majority do what the client says. I personally would close the business down rather than build something like that but we are in the fortunate situation of having sold a business and being financially secure. Don’t blame the housebuilder either because the housebuilder’s job is to use shareholder investment, which could well
very political. That’s why we were successful with Red or Dead, but I’ve not come here to tell, that story. But it was that political mind allied with an artistic mind that did it. The other thing is, think back to that Swindon housing. About two years ago I took my Mum, who lives just round the corner from here in Garstang, to the townships of Cape Town. Has anybody been to a Township in Capetown? (audience response). It was deprived but had a sense of community. I left there completely uplifted. I can be quite emotional. I expected to go there and come out really quite depressed. I came out there and I kept thinking, what would I prefer to live in, a community like that one in Swindon where it says “I am a number and I have no choices” , where the only bit of green
the power of two. (laughter). This is the kind of play area that we deliver in our housing developments now. When we showed a picture very much like this to one of the planning authorities we were working with a few years ago, you know me and my wife were sitting there and saying ‘you know, we’re sick of this springy chicken lark’. We want to deliver play areas that feel natural, where kids can be creative and where they can balance and fall off and where they can play in sand. And they said, ‘Oh we love your ideas about community and we agree with the things you are saying about the damage that’s being done with too much health and safety, but you can’t have a play area with sand all on the ground’. And I thought immediately, oh he’s on about dog shit again. So I said, well we’ll put a fence
ARTS AT THE HEART
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
“We’d do a much better job in this country if public space, if buildings, if housing developments, if schools didn’t just involve artistic minds in the placing of some nominal piece of art but were actually ingrained in the design process.”
be your pension fund to building housing like that – as low a cost as possible and to make the biggest amount of profit to keep the shareholders, the investors happy and to maximise return so that your pensions provide you with the best value at retirement. And that’s what they’ve been doing. So, in one way we can blame us for allowing our pension investments to be used in this way!! In another way how could we blame us? It’s the Elected Members that are allowing this to happen. The planners are under-resourced and anyway they have to go to the Elected Members. So, what could you do about that? What can we do about the Members to make sure that this doesn’t happen? Any of you, could be a Council Member. It takes nothing to do it. It doesn’t cost you a penny. Any of you can do it. You’ve just got to get yourself elected and that is not that difficult either if you put your heart and soul into it (loud laughter). If you’re good! If you put your heart and soul into it you can do it. The problem is far too many councils, far too many towns and cities just rely on the old folk to be members. I am not decrying the good souls who volunteer their time to sit on council committees. It’s just the way that for good reasons it tends to be demographic; people at or approaching retirement age (they often have more time at this age, the mortgage has often been paid off and the kids have flown the nest). And how can this demographic hope to fully understand the hopes and aspirations of young people 40 or 50 years their junior? I’d be confident about going on any planning committee and showing them there is another way. There’s loads of people like me. And probably a lot of people out here like me as well who could probably do it. It’s that whole thing about to make things better we have to do more and we have to become political. I think there’s real power when you combine an artistic brain with somebody who’s
space is that useless strip down the side of the road. The Township image demonstrates choice and opportunity...ok starting from a low level but at least there is empowerment to influence your environment. This (the Township) is deprived but we are also regenerating lots of deprived areas on the UK. And I think the housing that we are doing is actually going to make the people more deprived whereas these people (on the Township) have got the chance to raise out because at least they’ve got opportunity and freedom and we’re taking that freedom away. And again it’s us [creatives] that consider freedom more than many professions. So again when you talk about freedom and you see that [housing Estate] that says ‘no ball games’ and there are 57 of those on an estate in Aberdeen in places that should say “More Ball Games”
Egg Butties The creative mind, usually thinks about the positive side of life rather than the negative side. And yet our lives are being ruled by the negative side. And all we end up doing is a little bit of fussy stuff on the side. You know, ‘let’s bring an artist in’. And it drives me bloody mad! (laughter) Because this is what we would do. That is what we think about. So we went out doing guerrilla tactics going all around putting these signs up. But I don’t blame the kids. You know they’ve been given ‘No Ball Game’ signs. They’ve been given give bloody springy chickens to play on (loud laughter). And yes, I can see the art in this I can imagine entering the Turner Prize dressed as a chicken rocking slowly on it, five people rocking slowly on it. But they are not placed here as art. We allow council play officers with hardly a brain in their head to deliver that. And we’re happy then with some Cormorants taking off. It’s a really simple equation. Five springy chickens equals ten ASBOs to
around it to stop the dogs coming in. He said ‘no, it’s not about that, it’s about sand…’ And I said ‘what are we on about?’ And he said ‘well babies will crawl around and eat the sand’. And I said, ‘that’s not a problem, we can replace it, it’s only £1.99 a bag at B&Q’. (laughter) And you know, we’ve all been to the beach, you know, your kids, or even us or our nieces or whatever have been there and had their egg butties for dipping it in the sand and eating it. But what’s the worst thing that happens to the kids? They get bad shit for a couple of nights. They don’t die. (laughter) From nought to the age of 16 what percentage of time do you think people spend in education at school? You’re right, 15%. So kids spend 15% of their time at school and 85% of it is spent in the environment where they grow up. And the environments we give them are absolutely shite. Some so called experts argue that kids today want play stations not great outdoor spaces but research from organisations like The Children’s Play Council easily debunks that. Is it any wonder that we came bottom of the UNICEF study of child well-being? Is it any wonder that 18% of the British prison population is made up of under 18s. The next highest in Europe is 9%. We’re worse than the bloody Americans! And we’ve got to do something about it. That’s what the creative mind can do. Thanks for listening.
Wayne Hemingway Hemingway Design www.hemingwaydesign.co.uk 1
Wayne Hemingway’s speech was well illustrated and the audience responded accordingly. The full speech and many of the slides he used is downloadable from the conference section of the nalgao website – www.nalgao.org
Green is for go Exploring ways forward for sub regional partnerships Kat Fishwick
“How did we do?” “I don’t know, how did you do?” Andy is unimpressed, but unsurprised (he’s known us for a day already) that we failed to set ourselves a target. He then tells us that the fastest it has been done is about 1.5 seconds. We know our first method isn’t going to get anywhere close to that, and so take about 30 seconds to come up with an entirely new method (it involves starting out holding on to the dot). Tokenistically, we claim we can get the time down to about 4 seconds, but we’re still not that interested in the target, we want to try our idea and see what happens. It takes us about 3 seconds to walk round the circle – it’s cold and quite early in the morning. But some for some reason Andy and Mark are looking singularly impressed.
High Aspirations With our attendance at the nalgao conference and the writing of this article, we are can tick off an action on our list created from our stakeholder mapping work. We identified one of our most important stakeholders as ourselves, the officers who do the work, and the success of the partnership as dependant on us all reaching a place where we value what we have achieved and feel we are in control of it. At the conference, we talked a little bit about this journey, then ran an exercise that gave all the officers present the opportunity to advise each other on how to get the best out of partnership
working. A table summarising all the suggestions made by the two groups is in the conference section of the nalgao website – www.nalgao.org It’s clear from the discussions that there are still tensions – strong leadership required for continuity versus the dangers of single dominant partners; high aspirations versus realistic measures of capacity; diverse priorities being brought together versus not wanting to do things together just for the sake of it. But it is also clear that across the country creativity is being applied to find solutions to all these issues and more. Local authority partnerships are alive and if not well, at least fighting for their health, and have a significant role to play.
Top left: Creative consultants – a key role to play Below: Staff turnover is high Illustrations: Camille Archer
Kat Fishwick Head of Arts (Maternity Cover) Tel: 01926 412492 Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
In December 2007 arts officers from Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire stood in a circle outside a Cotswold stone barn, wanting to get back to the nice warm fire inside. On the floor between us a green felt dot, about the size of a dinner plate. Mark and Andy – our facilitators on this creative training retreat – explained our task. Everyone must touch the dot, then swap places with the person opposite them in the circle. The aim is to carry this out as quickly as possible, and any physical contact between people constitutes failure. We talk – and listen (we’ve been looking at behaviour styles over the training days I am one of several “expressive” types in our group, and all of us are definitely trying to be a bit more considerate of quieter individuals than usual). After a while we come up with a slightly complicated plan and try it – it takes about 13 seconds.
They do this exercise a lot. With lots of different clients. Including the brightest and best of some global corporations. Apparently they have never seen anyone reduce their initial time so rapidly and with so drastic a change of method. Our ability to be creative, and to respond to change is unparalleled. And this is really important. For me it is why our partnership is worth fighting for. The green dot is a reminder of what we can do that is just as important as any successful joint project. The sub regional partnership here in Coventry, Solihull, and Warwickshire hasn’t been the smoothest of journeys. It was created for the original ACE agreements by dropping two neighbouring authorities (one very large) into an existing county grouping; it has seen 14 staff changes over the course of its existence; many of the officer posts are part time; it doesn’t map neatly to other partnerships (LSC groupings for example). It has had projects fail and succeed. However we’ve worked at it because we believe in our strength collectively as authorities. Working together, we’ve created a dance development network for our sub region. We’ve pushed forward public art with training programmes taken up by officers from across regeneration, parks, tourism and other services and a new guidance pack due out at the end of the year. We’ve explored and rejected a range of support methods for the visual arts and crafts sector. And finally we are about to sign a new agreement, with a financial and staff resource commitment from each partner authority to the partnership itself, rather than to any specific project outcome.
ARTS AT THE HEART
New Guidance Pack
Our Best Conference Yet!
ARTS AT THE HEART
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
Thank you Blackpool! That was the verdict of delegates attending nalgao’s 15th conference in Blackpool. As part of nalgao’s strive for continuing improvement, an exit survey was conducted at the nalgao conference in Blackpool, with delegates being requested to complete a short questionnaire. The consensus from responses and from word-of-mouth comments and emails returned after the event suggests that the 2008 nalgao conference proved to a really excellent event, with a good range of speakers, breakout sessions and study tours. The destination of Blackpool delighted delegates, particularly those who had never been there before. The conference attracted a total of 219 delegates (including presenters), a 15% increase on last year’s event in Cambridge. Despite the fact that several local authorities have declared moratoriums on staff attending conferences and we note that the ‘credit crunch’ bites, it seems that the nalgao conference is still viewed as a very important event on the local authority arts calendar. The very positive feedback from the Blackpool delegates is likely to ensure that it stays that way. Overall delegates have been extremely positive in their feedback with words such as inspiring, informative and energising coming up regularly in their comments. The balance of social and formal events was applauded and people particularly enjoyed the Civic Reception, which was viewed as a ‘hard act to follow’. Any criticisms were put forward constructively and the conference seems in a position to take these on board and build on what has been achieved this year.
What people liked • The venue and Blackpool itself • The Study Tours • The Breakout sessions • The cost and value for money • The conference met delegate training and CPD needs • The food What people wanted • More room for discussion at Breakout sessions • More creativity in the structure and design of sessions • More practical sessions • More ‘playful’ methods of presentation and learning • An informal networking event, with drinks, at the end of • A re-think of the timing and nature of the Open Space session • More study tours • A good range and quality of speakers • A visible screen • Better keynote speakers and more contentious speakers • More artists/companies to exhibit & attend. • Artists & officers to meet and talk more so know how they can help each other. • More space and time to swap ideas & projects with other ADOs.
Themes and ideas for sessions for 2009 Most thought that a central theme was not important. Rather, the range and quality of speakers and presenters was paramount. But ideas for presentations for Conference 2008 included: • Survival • Fundraising and funding (run up to Olympics & post "credit crunch") • Mixing different artforms with technology to reduce the carbon footprint • Cultural Olympiad: continued discussion on 2012. Working between ACE / LA / Voluntary Sector • Cultural Entitlement and the relationship between state funding and the market • Showcasing Excellence • Engaging hard to reach communities in the arts - what does public engagement in the arts actually mean? • Supporting Creative Industries • Living Places, Agenda, following on from Wayne Hemingway's public art house development speech • Festivals • Artistic Quality v Process in community arts projects in the context of the McMaster Review • Young People 2009 • Common standards for LAs in providing gateways and pathways for participation in the arts (with NCA) • Arts with non-arts money • Creativity and Arts Officers - have we become lost in the paperwork? • How we focus on our priorities - when we work to so many agendas how do we decide which are core? • Sustainability
Photo by Yannick Dixon
nalgao annual conference 2008: Pete Bryan
Conference Thanks We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who participated this year, and particularly Blackpool Council for hosting the conference this year. Carolyn, Lynne and their combined arts teams did a wonderful job in developing the local infrastructure to the conference, in putting together a representative selection of study tours, and organising the social evening on Thursday. They also financially contributed to the conference with considerable help in kind. We would also like to thank other North West regional members and the Conference working party, very ably Chaired by Andrea Bushell (Oldham MBC) that has developed the conference in 2008., and also for arranging study tours and breakout sessions. nalgao would like to thank EUCLID and Arts Professional for sponsoring the conference this year. Finally we would like to thank ACE for supporting our GfA Conference Development programme, which is now in its final year of development. The three year grant of £77,669 has allowed us to develop more interactive and participative conference programme in 2008 and has enabled us to build a strong platform for future events.
Pete Bryan nalgao Administrator Email: email@example.com The full Conference evaluation report is available on nalgao’s website in the 2008 Conference section. www.nalgao.org
As usual the nalgao conference allowed delegates to set the agenda. This year it was another batch of active discussion forums, which were documented by the facilitators.
7. How can we make the Cultural Olympiad less boring? Hosted by Paul Kelly (The Arts Institute at Bournemouth) Reports of findings on these discussions can be found on the nalgao website www.nalgao.org in the 2008 Conference section.
Other unreported Open Space Forum sessions included: • Finding your Talent (creative minds and the 1. How do nalgao and ACE work together? 5 hrs of culture initiative): Gill Cooper (City Hosted by Gail Brown (Kent CC) and Kirsty of York) Bell (W Sussex CC) • The downturn in the economy being a good 2. Arts Strategies focus for us and the effect on authorities: Hosted by Esko Reinikainen (Monmouthshire John Siddique (poet) CC) • Festivals & events and the development of 3. How can artists and art organisations and communities & social cohesion: Nick Dodds local authorities work better together? (Festivals & Events International) Facilitated by Edwina Vine (Campaigns • Balancing excellence with participation Associate at the NCA) targets: Heidi Bellamy (S Norfolk Council) 4. DCMS open space – What can DCMS do for • Can arts organisations seriously be engaged you? in the commissioning process of the Local Facilitated by Mandy Barrie (Head of Arts) and area agreement? Tina Glover: (Junction Arts) Kirsty Leith (Head of Arts Policy) at the DCMS • Does the term creative industries actually 5. Rural Touring (RT) and Rural Cinema (RC) help more arts happen? Adam Gent Open Space Forum session: “ Inspired by (Bournemouth BC) the carbon footprint debate” Hosted by Claire White, Arts Development Reports of these sessions will be added to the Officer, West Lindsey District Council website when we receive them. 6. Arts & the Under 5’s Pete Bryan Hosted by Emma Richards (City of York) nalgao Administrator The subjects raised and discussed were:
Open Space Forum Breakout Reports
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
Next year’s conference will be in Swindon. Future interest has been expressed by Surrey. Kent and Newcastle are popular locations with delegates. There is also a desire for a conference in Scotland. Several delegates asked for the venue to be centrally located with easy access by road and rail.
ARTS AT THE HEART
case studies ARTS AT THE HEART Winter 2008
All Rather Rother The language of poetry… Hilary Lane Olive Monkcom lives in a retirement home in Bexhill on Sea, a seaside town with, until recently, the oldest population in Britain. Mrs Monkcom, who is 94, made the decision to write everyday when she retired to the town 20 years ago. Olive Monkcom’s poetry has never been published before. Thanks to ‘Word County’, a written and spoken word programme that has been designed to celebrate a sense of place and create opportunities for local communities, this is the first time Mrs Monkom has seen her work in print. East Sussex has coastal towns like Bexhill and Hastings which are reinventing and repositioning themselves, with large areas of social housing on their outskirts. And it has market towns and a large rural hinterland, all of which present challenges in relation to isolation and social cohesion. Set in what is thought of as the affluent South East, even before the current economic downturn, East Sussex occupies a perhaps surprising place in league tables of deprivation having some of the most deprived wards in the country. In rural Rother, which stretches inland behind Hastings, six professional writers who live in the district read and talked about their work to a packed audience in the upper room of the Ostrich, a pub in Robertsbridge, a small community in the High Weald. Bringing together a writer of science fiction, a travel writer, a novelist, two poets and a journalist reinforced the message that writing can hit spots other art forms cannot reach and the many and various ways in which ideas can be expressed and common experiences shared and understandings grow through the written word. A competition, “All Rather Rother” was launched for memoir, short prose fiction and poetry. And a prize-winner in three of the categories was Olive Monkcom. The judges, author Charlotte Moore and poet Liz Smith
Mrs Monkcom (seated) and her fellow winners. Photo by Justin Lycett
Grant for the Arts. It matches local priorities with opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to get to and enjoy events they can participate in and enjoy with professional artists and performers. The partnership aims to spread and build on specialist expertise that exists in the area across the county as a whole, in this case Word County is managed for the partnership by Mark Hewitt of Lewes Ethnographic Imaginings Live Literature. The partnership is convinced of Poet John Agard’s work is part of the GCSE the power of poetry to communicate at an curriculum and has been widely published and emotional level across all sections of our broadcast. In Hastings, John and fellow poets communities bringing a sense of belonging Grace Nichols and Imtiaz Dharker spent time and a new understanding of our common and with Hastings Museum and Art Gallery’s diverse culture. Hilary Lane World Art collection to write new works Cultural Strategy Manager exploring and bringing to life the wealth of East Sussex County Council intriguing artefacts in the permanent display. Tel: 01273 481871 Rhythms and resonances from their own Email: firstname.lastname@example.org experiences of relocation to new cultures added a further dimension. knew at once that a new and original voice had been found and Mrs Monkcom’s work now features with that of the other winners on the East Sussex County Council website. Not singled out in a category or programme for ‘older people’, Mrs Monkcom enjoyed holding her own in a group of new writers of all ages.
“Just as with the treasure, there was nothing between us and the poets.” Audience feedback The poems have been published by the museum in an attractive and popular booklet and as a series of wall panels. The project culminated in a live performance by the poets who were all brilliant at drawing the audience into their work through surprise, laughter and depth of feeling. Children from secondary schools, their teachers and parents with other members of the local community, a significant proportion of whom are recent immigrants, felt a real sense of enjoyment and privilege which has had lasting effect. A feedback form summed up the experience for many. “Treasures were brought in and placed on display. There was no glass, no display cases between them and us – and then the poets walked in. The setting was intimate – almost like being at home – with the poets reading their work to us. Just as with the treasure, there was nothing between us and the poets.” The museum is planning more work using this model and building on its new audiences. The communities that best survive times of economic uncertainty have been shown to be those in which people get together in groups to enjoy pleasurable activities. Word County is an East Sussex Arts Partnership programme supported by an Arts Council South East
When Snow Fell in Bexhill
In the morning… I looked from my east window and I saw The pale gold sunlight cast a creamy glow On milk-white roofs. Sharp points of pad and claw Made asterisks on fresh-laid virgin snow. At noon… I looked from my north window and was chilled To see blue shadows stretched on snow-robed lawn Daubed with a giant brush. My mind was filled With melancholic thoughts, remote, withdrawn. In the evening… I looked from my west window. Setting sun, A ball of scarlet splendour, riding low, Submerged. The velvet cloak of dusk undone Spread folds of silk, pearl-grey, across the snow. At night… I stood to listen by my open door. Still there the silent snow. A falling star Shone through the veil that trailed from Heaven’s floor. Lambent, mysterious, a light from afar. Olive Monkcom
Dance Crewe Adam Holloway
Google search But the question really, for one-off projects such as this is, was it all worth it? One audience member, Judy Ogden, a local teacher, summed up the experience of many of the participants and audience members. “I was very impressed with the range of dance styles on show. The participants
How was that addressed alongside all the other priorities? Well, artistically, not an obvious one for the mix of performance work on a railway station. In the end though, the ‘garden’ went right to the heart of the piece itself. Olive and Otto of The Body Cartography Project came up with a new word for the dictionary. The journey of the piece around the station and in the minds of onlookers played out as a ‘re-wilding’ of the station. And when you consider that this most iconic of stations is soon to be re-located two miles out of town, and you think about what will be left behind, this piece of art was a simple vision of the future. Adam Holloway Cheshire Dance Tel: 01606 861770 Email: email@example.com
For more information on Station/Stationary, visit: www.cheshiredance.org/station.html www.bodycartography.org www.spacescheshire.com, http://cyog.blogspot.com/search/label/cheshire %20dance For others interested in developing this kind of event, Cheshire Dance has, for example, a 70 page Health & Safety document for the production.
The Origins and Aims of the Project The Local Authority commission, Station/ Stationary, originated from Cheshire Year of Gardens 2008 (CYOG08), a broad based partnership initiative involving Cheshire County Council, Visit Chester and Cheshire, the North West Development Agency, Arts Council England and all six District Authorities of Cheshire. Key ‘Gateways’ into the County were identified in the CYOG08 business plan for joint activity branding and animation to: • Create gateway features • Promote Cheshire as a gateway to Liverpool in 2008 and • Improve and increase visibility at gateways to the northwest such as Warrington Bank Quay, Chester and Crewe stations, Manchester & Liverpool airports.
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
came from many different age groups and obviously got a great deal of satisfaction from their hard work. The event took the audience on a ‘magical mystery tour’ of the parts of Crewe Station they might not ordinarily see. Each new venue created a sense of anticipation for the audience and the journey was often exciting, sometimes amusing and occasionally bizarre.” The original parameters for the commission were that it was to be temporary and could be installation, performance or intervention with an aim to demonstrate the positive impact that artist commissions can have within broader schemes, such as the Cheshire Gateways Marketing Strategy. As such, Station/Stationary formed a key element of both the arts programme and the marketing strategy for Cheshire Year of Gardens 2008 (CYOG08). In terms of profile beyond the attending audience and participating groups the project was seen by approximately 600,000 people as a feature on BBC Northwest Tonight and was extremely well covered in all the local press, radio and internet blogs. Further to this the project was highlighted by the regional Cultural Olympiad team as an example of good practice in the London 2012 Open Weekend and continues to be used as conference case study material. One month on, a Google search on ‘station stationary crewe’ highlights 27 of the top 30 search results being occupied by the project. In delivering the project, Cheshire Dance and The BodyCartography Project engaged many of the big employers in Crewe. Crewe & Nantwich Borough Council, Manchester Metropolitan University and most obviously, Virgin Trains were all involved. The project received additional support from the Weaver Valley Regeneration Partnership and further sponsorship from a neighbouring employer to the station, Mornflake Oats. Former Mayor of Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council, Michael Roberts, one of the key supporters of the event commented, “I was over the moon to see so many young people involved in working so enthusiastically and patiently together to create something so unique. They really wanted to learn and, together. It was a privilege to witness such co-operation.” And finally, what about the gardens theme?
ARTS AT THE HEART
The successive groups of fifty non-rail travellers gathering on Crewe Station for an hour at a time at the end of September were just too big to be groups of train spotters. And they weren’t looking at the trains either. Rather, their attention was focused on an hour-long processional dance, film and music performance, “Station/Stationary”, produced by Cheshire Dance and The BodyCartography Project and hosted by Virgin Trains. The ten shows on Crewe station attracted more than 500 people over five days. And it all started with a theme about gardens! (see box) To devise and assemble this innovative project, the artistic team worked with more than 100 performers from a wide range of groups including five youth dance groups, a tea dance group, a full brass band, a blues guitarist and a group of dance artists. Together they sought to encourage audiences and commuters alike to re-engage their sensory curiosity of one of the UK’s iconic railway stations. The first ‘stage’ was a fully working platform, the second a platform used by staff only and the final section played out on a disused platform well on its way to being returned to nature. Costumes journeyed from the normal to the animalistic. A key generator for the movement material saw performers starting as pedestrians and finally driven by the energy of wild animals. And to further enrich the audience experience, three ‘Gardens of Distinction’, namely Tatton Park, Norton Priory and Chester Zoo, were used as locations to create material for the film installations, some used as part of the performance whilst others were located in other parts of the station in a completely unrelated fashion and to entirely unsuspecting onlookers. The final physical manifestation of the theme saw 100m2 of turf installed on one of the platforms for the duration as an act of garden creation.
Wired Aerial Theatre, Fervorosa, at Norwich and Norfolk Festival. Photographer: JP Masclet
case studies nalgao Magazine Winter 2008 ARTS AT THE HEART
Without Walls Engagement with Excellence
Bawren Tavaziva is a dancer, choreographer, musician and teacher. Born 32 years ago in Zimbabwe, he moved to the UK in 1998, joined the Union Dance Company, moved to Leeds based Phoenix Dance before going independent in 2001 and forming Tavaziva Dance Company three years later. His work has been seen at The Place, The Royal Opera House, at Walsall’s New Arts Gallery and on tour in the UK and Europe. Bawren is also one of the new faces of Street Art alongside companies like Periplum, the young circus company Acrojou, Paschale Straiton and the Wired Aerial Theatre Company. All of these companies and others performed to many thousands of people this summer thanks to an innovative Street Arts consortium – Without Walls – which, has just reached the end of its second year of jointly commissioning and presenting new outdoor shows by British artists. Outdoor arts, from annual festivals to one-off commissions, are now being recognised for their ability to change lives, to engage and bring together communities and to shape our sense of place and identity. Arts Council England has published a strategy and action plan for outdoor arts development called New Landscapes and London 2012 organisers LOCOG has placed outdoor arts at the heart of many of their national and regional cultural initiatives. Hundreds of thousands of people nationally experience and engage with the arts through outdoor arts festivals and for many it might be the only time that they do so. Outdoor arts are uniquely democratic, free, accessible and suited equally to both distinct and shared cultural expression. They can change our relationship with the places in which we live, creating a sense of belonging that has a positive effect on our health and sense of well being as individuals and as communities.
Deaf and disabled
Without Walls came into being from a shared desire to support the development of innovative work by a new generation of outdoor artists, and as a crucial part of that offer to provide a coherent touring platform for the presentation of shows so they could develop across a range of outdoor festivals. The intention was to provide a touring
Claire Teasdale and Donna Close, both Local Authority Arts Officers describe the benefits that being part of a national consortium can bring to local arts agendas. engagement, a sense of being part of a national project with international profile. The consortium is currently undertaking consultations with local authorities to assess the opportunities and to discuss beneficial and imaginative ways of working. Donna Close, Brighton and Hove City Council and Claire Teasdale, Bristol City Council Donna and Claire are also Directors of Without Walls. You can contact Without Walls by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit their website at www.withoutwalls.uk.com
Artists touring the Without Walls consortium in 2008 included:
The Without Walls Street Arts Consortium comprises: • Greenwich + Docklands International Festival (London) • International Riverside Festival (North East) • Winchester Hat Fair (South) • x.trax Manchester (North West) • Brighton Festival (South East) • Norfolk & Norwich Festival (East) and • The Bristol Do (South West).
Company Fierce and Walk The Plank www.companyfierce.co.uk Paschale Straiton - The Séance www.timewontwait.com Prodigal Theatre - The Urban Playground www.theurbanplayground.co.uk Acrojou - The Wheel House - www.acrojou.com Motionhouse Dance Theatre – Underground www.motionhouse.co.uk The World Famous – Full Circle www.theworldfamous.co.uk Wired Aerial Theatre in association with Brenda Angiel – Fervorosa www.wiredaerialtheatre.com Periplum - The Bell with fire & pyrotechnics from the World Famous - www.periplum.co.uk Tavaziva - Beautiful People www.tavazivadance.com
Full details of members festivals and the Without Walls programme are at: www.withoutwalls.uk.com
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
air. The festival was programmed with a lot of consideration and artistic quality and diversity were at the core of those programming decisions. With the help of CAST and Theatre Bristol it has also helped artists look outside their own city and see the festival as something that can support them through more ways than a weekend’s booking. The Bristol Do and its artists also benefited from the artistic reputation of the Without Walls consortium partners which helped attract Arts Council officers and City Councillors to the event. Outdoor work provides a unique opportunity for strong delivery partnerships that extends far beyond just financial support, as important as this is. In supporting and presenting outdoor work there is engagement and dialogue across diverse council departments like tourism, traffic, licensing, health and safety, children and young people services, adult social care and so on. This can provide the arts officer with an opportunity for cultural advocacy internally that reaps dividends across their portfolio. The Cultural Olympiad, the advocacy and support of Arts Council England and the commitment of key local authorities to increase engagement with the arts provides fantastic opportunities for rich international, national and regional partnerships to deliver outdoor arts events. The major threat to this is that the rush to increase quantity of activities may reduce the quality of the process, of the work produced and of the experience for artists and audiences. Without Walls has established a successful development model over the last two years that has helped to commission, nurture and support carefully selected, exciting and high quality British work that has been shaped by artists and audiences across the Reaping dividends UK. This has demonstrated that engagement and In Bristol, the impact of Without Walls on local arts excellence can go hand in hand and that provision is particularly clear to see. The Without opportunities for extending this national network Walls focus has helped the city's street art and will only bring more benefits to artists and circus sector by supporting its development within audiences alike. a national context. Bristol City Council worked in This year as we enter the four years of the partnership with CAST a group of local circus and Cultural Olympiad the Without Walls consortium is street performers and the theatre development looking to extend the partnership to include more agency Theatre Bristol to present their new festival local authorities and other partners to work with on The Bristol Do in September 2008 - a 2 day free specific commissions and presentations. festival of performance, circus & games in the open This will provide participating cities local
ARTS AT THE HEART
platform for new work that would meet this important need, as well as using the collective weight of the consortium to encourage the development of work by some new voices in the outdoor sector. Without Walls also wanted to work with deaf and disabled artists, culturally diverse artists, support creative cross art form collaborations and encourage practitioners from other disciplines to create work for the sector. Arts Council England invested in these aspirations, and two Grants for the Arts awards have enabled the creation and presentation of some nineteen shows. Without Walls has invested commissioning funds in work by three different deaf and disabled companies, supported new work by four different culturally diverse companies and have supported some companies into the sector who had not previously considered this style of working. The value of this investment to the companies has been immense. Tim Tubbs, Producer of Tavaziva Dance Company, articulates the impact; “Creating an outdoor show was a real challenge for us. It was crucial to us that we had the opportunity to take such a new piece of work to lots of festivals in one season. It is wonderful to be playing to such large and appreciative audiences – we are reaching more people than we typically do in venues. Without Walls has certainly had a lasting impact on our work and we are looking at how we can continue working in the outdoor sector as a result of our experience this year.” As a national consortium, Without Walls can frame, support and develop the artistic and strategic sector objectives whilst working with its partners to deliver maximum local impact.
Artz Plus is a case study to show how rural Dorset arts provision for children with additional needs has helped to meet a whole raft of local authority priorities and Primary Care Trust (PCT) outcomes: health and well being, inclusivity, diversity and provision for children and young people. In its wake this disability arts project has brought on board organisations delivering similar objectives, Mencap, PCT, Dorset Education & Childrens’ services and Active Dorset. A Dorset wide review of children with disabilities was carried out in 2004 by the Community partnership, it identified that families felt unsupported during the summer holidays. East and West Dorset arts officers subsequently worked with parents of children with additional
for the delivery of an inspiring range of dance, arts, crafts, drama, music and storytelling activities delivered by artists trained to work with children with special needs. Following requests from parents a specialised ‘Sportz Plus’ activity menu was incorporated and delivered by Active Dorset. With steady sources of funding the price has been kept at an affordable £3 per workshop and met with much appreciation from this target group.
Trust of Parents The project introduced free training for support workers and has since built up a bank of specialised staff assigned to one-to-one care for all the children who require it. A specialised
boredom, stimulates creativity, and provides fun and opportunity to socialise. It also offers a couple of hours of respite for parents. Siblings can join in at their level alongside their brother or sisters. As with all successful projects Artz Plus is still evolving and taking advantage of all funding avenues, the latest challenge is to expand the service into Extended Breaks. New for 2009 will be ‘Play Plus’ giving the opportunity for more play, delivered by the East & West Dorset lottery funded play projects. Inclusivity in an exclusive way? Despite best of intentions by service providers, Artz Plus has demonstrated through the demand for its unique service that inclusivity is something noble to strive for, but venues have a long way to go to achieving
The Art of Inclusion Inclusivity in an Exclusive Way
ARTS AT THE HEART
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
needs to tackle the resentment and exclusion they felt towards the provision of imaginative and creative activities on offer for mainstream children during the summer holidays. Despite the Disability Discrimination Act, the reality, is that children with additional needs still have barriers to access to the arts on offer around them during the holidays. Parents have a number of concerns about barriers to accessing arts and play activities. For example has the artist planned a wide enough variety of activities for the non dexterous or attention deficit children? Other barriers are as simple as not having an extra support worker to attend their child’s needs leaving mum to stay and help, or having inadequate facilities. Price is a barrier to those with low income and knowing their child may not cope with the length of the session, or that their able sibling may end up being their helper all goes into the mix before signing up for an activity. It was for these reasons that parents helped plan Artz Plus with East and West Dorset District Council. A successful application to Arts Council England enabled the project to develop and flourish which has produced a first class template
Photos of Artz Plus by Samantha Cook
database of artists with a range of high quality arts experiences is now available to the project. All rural venues were risk assessed by parents and a database of ideal venues is also available. The main challenge in the early years was building the trust of parents. Venues and parking had to be right, support workers had to be trusted, the quality of the activities had to be attractive and the right length to turn out for. Artz Plus learnt much on its way to achieving this. In Summer 2008, 180 children attended activities, none cancelled and additional classes were provided. Over four years of Artz plus, 600 children with a wide spectrum of additional needs have enjoyed the benefits of these stimulating participatory arts experiences. The workshops have allowed children to explore their creativity and try something new. Artz Plus has been a great success and provides Councillors with the evidence they require to report that the local authority can deliver on aspects of the wellbeing agenda through arts and culture, and the provision of services to young people. It has provided disadvantaged children in rural district authorities with creative, high quality arts activities, not readily available in the curriculum. It has shown it alleviates holiday
it given their financial constraints. We believe there will always be a place alongside children’s cultural provision, for projects such as Artz Plus. Tracy Cooper Arts Development Officer East Dorset District Council Tel: 01202 639012 email: email@example.com Jude Allen Cultural Officer West Dorset District Council
Artz Plus Project Feedback “...this has been a godsend for my son who gets bored very easily. …” “I can leave my children with confidence knowing they will be safe and happy.’ “ … it is good that we can leave our children in such capable hands for such small fees and that they are included in activity which is at their level.”
Reaching Out Angela Watson
Arts Council England is working to increase the number, range and depth of experience of people attending and participating in arts activities. The Arts Council wants to show in three years time that many more people are attending and participating in arts activity. It is also developing tools for understanding the quality and depth of experiences that audiences have. What does this mean for local authorities and their partners, and what support can they expect? Arts Council England has asked Angela Watson & Associates and Yew Consulting to develop a national programme of support for the local authorities and local strategic partnerships that have targets for increasing attendance and participation in the arts in their local area agreements. This will involve close working with the national and regional offices of the Arts Council as well as all the audience development agencies. The national programme will complement the support programmes being offered by regional Arts Council offices. Our work will still be useful to you even if you are not one of these authorities. The programme will help raise the profile of the arts right across local government and the tools we develop will be useful to any council that wants to see more people involved in the arts. Arts organisations and artists should benefit too, through increased efforts to connect more people to existing or new activities. In some areas there may also be new funds available.
1. ‘Have you attended any creative, artistic, theatrical or musical events in the last 12 months?’ and if so, ‘How many events have you attended?’ 2. ‘Have you spent time actually doing any creative, artistic, theatrical or musical activities, or any crafts in the last 12 months?’ and if so, ‘How many times have you done any of these activities?’
What’s it all about?
Barnsley MBC, Bradford MDC, Brighton and Hove City Council, Croydon LBC, Darlington Borough Council, Doncaster MBC, Dorset County Council, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Essex County Council, Greenwich LBC, Harrow LBC, Hartlepool • Finding out the keys to success and good Borough Council, Hounslow LBC, Kent County practice to significantly increase attendance Council, Milton Keynes Council, Northumberland and participation County Council, Rutland County Council, Shropshire County Council, Southend on Sea Borough Council, • Raising awareness, promoting and connecting Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, Swindon the programme to other relevant national and Borough Council, Torbay Council, Waltham Forest regional campaigns. LBC, Wokingham Borough Council.
Angela Watson Principal Partner, Angela Watson & Associates Tel: 01827 714733 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Yvonne Barker Director, Yew Consulting Tel: 01273 208986 Email: email@example.com
Bedfordshire County Council, Bournemouth Borough Council, Cumbria County Council, Herefordshire County Councill, Leeds City Council, Lewisham LBCl, Lincolnshire County Council, Luton Borough Council, Middlesbrough Council, Newcastle City Council, Northamptonshire County Council, North Yorkshire County Council, Manchester City Council, Oldham MBC, Somerset County Council.
We are focusing our work in three areas: • Providing guidance on: - interpreting and using existing data at a local level to help with service planning - the NI11 data collection process, timescales and targets - local data collection
We are running national and cross-regional workshops in the New Year. But our main way of delivering the programme is through the NI11 Community of Practice website. This is a website where you can find practical information, generate discussion, take part in debates and share learning with others. Anyone can become a member. You don’t have to work for local government. Registration is easy and it’s free.
The 24 councils that negotiated an NI11 target with government are:
The Communities of Practice for local government website is facilitated by the Improvement and Development Agency for Local Government (IDeA). It is described as ‘a community platform supporting professional social networks across local government and the public sector. It provides a secure environment for knowledge development and sharing through online communities of practice.’
The 15 councils that plan to adopt local targets for NI11 are:
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
What are we doing to help?
ARTS AT THE HEART
Twenty-four local authorities and local strategic partnerships have included the national indicator ‘engagement in the arts’, otherwise known as NI11, in their local area agreements following negotiations with government. A further fifteen plan to adopt NI11 as a local indicator. This means that by March 2011 these authorities aim to achieve a significant increase in the number of over 16s attending or participating in arts activity three or more times over a twelve month period. ‘Significant’ is the key word here. For most local authorities it means a targeted increase of 3% by March 2011. If you do the sums you will appreciate the scale of the challenge. To meet it requires a big shift in arts programming and promotion, not more of the same. Achievement of the targets will be measured through the Active People survey. This is a national survey about people’s leisure and recreational activities carried out by Ipsos MORI. It asks a representative sample of the general public the following questions:
Every local authority, including those that have not chosen NI11, will learn in December what proportion of their population currently attends or participates in arts activities three or more times a year. In theory local authorities and their partners have the three year lifespan of the local area agreement (until March 2011) to achieve their target. However, the Active People survey that will be used to measure whether the targets have been achieved will collect data from October 2009 – October 2010. This means that what people are doing during the next few months will influence what they say in the survey, so there’s no time to lose in putting your plans into action!
To register, visit www.communities.idea.gov.uk/welcome.do Please do sign up, get involved and let us have your views and ideas. You can contact us through the Community of Practice website or direct.
partnership reports ARTS AT THE HEART Winter 2008
Understanding engagement New insight from ‘arts-based segmentation’ Anni Oskala Can we identify distinct arts consumer ‘types’ among English adults? And if yes, what are they like – how and why do they engage (or not engage) in the arts? What other leisure interests do they have? And how might we tempt them to engage further? The latest piece of audience research by Arts Council England, ‘arts-based segmentation’, was developed to answer these questions. This research: • Analyses the patterns of arts attendance and participation and attitudes towards the arts among English adults • Identifies 13 basic arts consumer types – the 13 ‘segments’ • Provides rich profiles of the segments
What do we know about the segments? The thirteen segments are distinguished by their preferences and attitudes towards the arts. We have lots of information about their attendance and participation in a wide variety of arts events and activities and the reasons why they do, or do not, engage. The segment profiles also provide other information about each segment, including other leisure interests, demographics, media use and attitudes. For instance, the Family and community focused segment (see Illustration 1) engage in the arts through occasional visits to carnivals or other family-friendly events such as musicals, pantomime. Typically in their 30s or 40s, with moderate financial means, their priorities lie with their children and connecting with the local community. They like to spend a lot of their free time at home, cooking and feasting with family or friends, watching TV (with higher than average interest in movie and lifestyle channels such as Film4, Living and Sky Movies) or reading a book.
Anni Oskala Strategy Officer, Research Arts Council England For feedback or technical questions about the research you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Five possible steps for using the segmentation: 1. Look at the segment profile of your area. Which segments are particularly characteristic of your local population? Which are uncharacteristic? 2. Look at the range of arts opportunities you are currently providing against the profile of your local population. Which segments do you think you are currently reaching with each activity? Where might there be gaps in provision? 3. Select segments that you think offer the most potential for increasing their arts engagement in your area. Your selected target segments can consist of existing engagers whose artistic life you hope to deepen and broaden, and/or segments who are not currently engaged. 4. Assess whether you can reach the selected target segments through improved delivery of your existing activities, or by providing new ones. 5. Use the information in the segment profiles to inform the content, delivery, marketing and communications of existing activities and/or newly-developed initiatives.
Finding out more Visit www.artscouncil.org.uk/audienceinsight to access more information about the research and to download our summary publication, Arts audiences: insight. For those areas that have targets for increasing attendance and participation in the arts in their local area agreements (NI11), local level segment information is available from the NI11 Community of Practice website - www.communities.idea.gov.uk /welcome.do (see article by Angela Watson, p.37). Other local authorities who would be interested in this analysis can contact email@example.com for more information. The NI11 Community of Practice website also includes information on how this research relates to other sources of audience data and how you might be able to use it.
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
ARTS AT THE HEART
How can this research be used The research might be of interest to you simply as a source of broad insight into national patterns of arts engagement. It can also be used as a tool to support strategic planning of arts engagement initiatives. – see box for details.
Main Image: Family and community focused segment Map: Time Poor Dreamers Around Rutland Bottom left: Time Poor Dreamers Segment
Occasionally they might also go to the cinema or take a trip to an amusement park. Segments in your local area The segment profiles themselves are based on national data. We have, however, also developed a local level modelling of the segments, created for us by CACI Ltd. This allows you to find out: • the proportion of your local population estimated to be in the different segments • the areas in your Local Authority where different segments are particularly likely or unlikely to live – for example, Illustration 2 shows how the estimated proportion of adults in the Time-poor dreamers segment varies in different wards around Rutland
ARTS AT THE HEART
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
I am very aware that I am writing about a job that most readers will know a great deal more about than I do. I work for Arts Council England, South West, but last year I had a valuable opportunity to spend some time working within the culture team of a local authority, Plymouth, a small unitary authority for a city of about 250,000 people. Plymouth is a growing city - a few years ago this was pretty unique amongst English cities, and maybe this is still so. It certainly has more births than deaths, and a university whose students rate it as one of the best cities in the country, surrounded by a beautiful coastline on one side, and Dartmoor National Park close by inland. It was around the time that the Principal Arts Officer left, and the Arts Assistant had already gone, that the Director responsible for culture sport and leisure – and housing and various other things – felt that it would be a good time to review the role of such support in the 21st Century, take breath, look around, and see whether other cities were doing it differently, and possibly better. Plymouth, the second largest city in the region, is a priority place for Arts Council England, South West, where I was working. And my role at the Arts Council was squarely focused on building good working relations with our local authorities. The Regional Commentary process had identified some joint areas for improvement in our working relationship, I had never actually worked in a local authority, and the council was keen to take on someone with an understanding of cultural policy, to help with the process of deciding what was going to be right for Plymouth. This before the Director made a permanent appointment.
is vast in terms of numbers of employees. My direct line manager, Assistant Director of Culture, Sport and Leisure, was responsible for around 500 staff. At first that seemed unrealistic to me. After all, there were about a dozen people based in the office, like me – and surely that was his team. Whilst I worked there, it became apparent just how much he had to be responsible for, everyone down to the lifeguards and ticket sellers in the pools. Only the arts team had no buildings owned by the council, so this had not really occurred to me, but he was dealing with grievance procedures, or undertaking risk assessments with the museum staff. Yes, there is a team that he works with, but it is tiny! Soon I came to realise that the size of the arts teams vary wildly across councils, depending, I assume, on the perceived importance of the sector. This advocacy role, supporting the councils, is clearly an important one for the Arts Council to continue doing. The major shock to me, pretty early on, was that having got to know the portfolio holder through some of my work with Plymouth, before I started the secondment, by the time I started (early July), hey, guess what? The colour of the council had changed and here was a new Cabinet member for culture, who was as surprised, I think, as I was! I had been there about one day, when I was asked to accompany him to a meeting with a local choral society. They don’t waste time, do they?
Wondering About Democracy
Amateurs? I was a bit out of my league. What about quality – how do I judge it in this circumstance? How do I advise this portfolio holder at his first meeting with ‘the sector’? Well, we managed, of course, but it was an eye-opener, Major shock very quickly, onto another kind of very important, I was fascinated by the difference from working in but more community-led arts support than I was another public sector bureaucracy. A local authority used to.
In a way, I think that this was what was most importantly brought home to me in the exercise. Yes, I came up with a different way of working, that will bring the arts sector in Plymouth closer to the decision making centre, link the arts and creativity more widely with economic development, planning and youth services – this is what I do, and what I want for Plymouth. But behind that there is a strong community too, that wants to participate in arts and culture, and, of course, councillors who are terrified of losing their votes. I consider myself professional, I have spent years doing my best to deliver a public service, but the way that my work could have been ignored, or overturned by people who care more about their votes than the views of someone steeped in specialist knowledge. That takes some swallowing! Believe me, I really spent some significant time wondering about the whole idea of democracy. Coward that I am, I haven’t started a revolution, but have retreated to my specialist ‘fortress’, protected by accountability via a government who doesn’t get voted in on its arts agenda, so is less interested in my views. Seriously, I think secondments are a fantastic way of gaining insight to, and respect for, other people’s jobs.
Catherine Devenish Creative Economy Development Manager Culture South West Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We believe there are two tools which enable arts organisations to meet these challenges: • Intelligence: an awareness of the changing world around us that looks way beyond our own database, and • Insight: an understanding of the needs, attitudes and motivations of our existing and potential audiences. These are not just helpful in informing the transition we all have to make. They are vital drivers of a wholesale culture change that is critical for those arts organisations looking to a sustainable future. Audiences are no longer content simply to consume. They are increasingly actively engaged in making and distributing art to growing, discerning but endlessly diverse and diffused audiences worldwide. And the blurring of boundaries between high art and popular culture means that increasingly anyone can claim to be an artist and present his or her work as art. Our audiences will be less inclined to worship at the altar of high art and the artist is less likely to be regarded as a priest. Consequently we have to offer a great deal more than just a passive consumer experience. This democratisation of culture, and the profound shifts in patterns of production, distribution and consumption will
middle-aged people are replacing those who are dying. People who liked rock music in their teens are still turning out for rock concerts in their sixties. So where new people are attracted to orchestral music, their attendance habits are proving radically different from their predecessors. Their frequency levels are a fraction of that of the dedicated audiences they are replacing. Modern audiences are both fickle and promiscuous – but this simply doesn’t serve the objectives of the traditional orchestral marketing model.
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
Gerri Morris & Andrew McIntyre Morris Hargreaves McIntyre In 1909, Caruso the legendary opera singer Caruso performed at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester. The following day 40,000 people turned out to Heaton Park, North Manchester to hear the recording of his concert broadcast from a gramophone player with a very big horn. And they were all wearing hats. A century later, opera is broadcast by satellite, with performances beamed live from the Met in New York to cinemas across the UK and the world, to sell out audiences. So – times they are a-changing – but many arts organisations still resemble the model of a century ago, and still approach their audience as a distant, respectful group of passive consumers whose hats have now been replaced by a sea of grey hair. At one time, orchestras sold a high proportion of their tickets through industrial subscription schemes. Targeted at people with little money and limited opportunities, a choice of two TV channels and without the internet, orchestral concerts could be the highlight of a drab week. But in the modern world, when the most common reason for a lapsed subscription is death, we need to reconfigure our offer and find new ways to engage people. All our traditional arts organisations were developed in very different times, for audiences very different from those we address now. If we are to adapt at the speed set by the fastchanging world around us, then audience insight is the catalyst we need to help us match that pace of change. It has been tempting for years to entertain the notion that orchestral music, and other art forms come to that, are simply not appreciated by the young. The prevalent audience development strategy was simply to wait for people to grow old. But there is little evidence that waves of
ARTS AT THE HEART
People are still turning out for rock concerts in their sixties
ARTS AT THE HEART
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
1909: 40,000 turn out for Caruso
come as a big shock to those organisations who see themselves as the exclusive purveyors of culture. Arts marketing particularly has to get a move on: while the world is changing at a frightening pace arts organisations are in glacial mode. Ironically, inherent conservatism in the sector results in a confusion between what is considered good practice and what is in fact merely common practice. What is particularly terrifying is that direct marketing campaigns aired in the 80s are still being repeated now; audiences are still receiving the same letter. We are in danger of norming rather than innovating and continuing to use 20th century tools to meet 21st century challenges. Arts organisations need to work with their audiences, rather than ‘do things’ to them. We need to open up, welcome in, collaborate. We need to accept that we can be challenged and inspired by the audience’s creativity and that responding to that stimulus – whether artistically, or in our organisational culture, or in our marketing – might provoke us to produce our best work. But this transition should not prove too difficult since current social trends are working in favour of the arts. Patterns are clear. To generalise, in the 80s the emphasis was on acquiring stuff that would make life better. We were consuming, accumulating things and measuring our happiness by how much we owned. In the 90s the emphasis shifted from blatant consumerism to buying a lifestyle – holidays in the Bahamas, ideal homes – often unattainable dreams reliant on a level of disposable income that was equated with happiness. We just outsourced the things we didn’t want to do. Now the aspiration is for ‘me’ time: the work-life balance. We hanker after more modest ‘perfect moments’ derived from authenticity, community and unforgettable experiences. Together, these contribute to quality of life. The arts can provide these moments – and probably better than any other sector. We can offer people authenticity. We can offer people the chance to get up close and personal with truly ancient and mind-blowing objects. We provide real experiences of watching
performers in intimate environments present us with an entirely new worldview, emotionally cathartic moments, intellectual stimulation or just a really good laugh. We provide perfect moments by the bucketful. Any multinational company with an unlimited budget would struggle to invent a better portfolio of experiential offers than we have at our disposal. And yet we still communicate our offer in an impersonal way and claim that we don’t understand the outcomes and impact of what we are offering. This is absurd. So what are the characteristics of a 21st century arts organisation and how do we become one? Morris Hargreaves McIntyre have been employed by a number of organisations in drawing up their 21st century development plans. We have identified seven distinguishing features of organisations which are geared up to, and able to engage with their audiences, in an open, flexible and progressive way. We call these the seven pillars – see separate box opposite. We have just finished working with four organisations in New Zealand using the seven pillars as the basis for a strategic planning process entitled Move On Up. This has transformed them as Simon Ferry, Artistic Director of Centrepoint testifies: “Move On Up has revolutionised and revitalised our company. We feel like a bottle of Fanta given an almighty shake, with the cap ready to blow! We have gone from an introspective, dependent company chasing multiple strategies to an audience focused, vision-led company determined to create its own future. Our strategic plan was a document of 35 pages that sat in the drawer. It is now a one page visual, living document that sits above my desk. It works for me, not me for it.” Many of the examples we see of the seven pillars in action are drawn from museums. In 1994, we wrote a report saying the development of museums and galleries was at least ten years behind the performing arts sector. Now, however, the performing arts are lagging way behind museums and galleries in terms of being audience-focused, insight–guided and outcomeorientated. Fifteen years ago Morris Hargreaves McIntyre developed Test Drive, a personalised, interactive
and audience-focused approach to market development. In Sweden last year, Malmö Opera has attracted more new attenders through Test Drive than all the Opera companies in the UK put together have attracted in the past 15 years. Morris Hargreaves McIntyre work and train internationally, helping organisations across the globe fast-track their arts marketing practice, based on experience from the UK. But in the past three years these ‘developing’ countries have quickly caught up and overtaken UK standards. It is now our international clients who are challenging us to develop innovative practice, which we re-import back to the UK.
Time to stand up Arts organisations in the UK must start using insight to change their culture. They must shift away from assuming that they deliver art to a passive audience. They must personalise their services and find new ways of engaging with the public. They must rid themselves of the illusion that everything they need to know is contained in their box-office database. They must transform the philosophy, ethos and values of their organisations. They must be prepared, if necessary, to address their structure, management information and performance measurement systems. This might be organic development for some, wholesale transformation for others. Our message is that this isn’t optional. Every time we speak to audiences, in hundreds of focus groups and thousands of interviews every year, we hear the same message: that the arts can and do transform people’s lives. The same passions that drive us to work in the arts drive people to engage with them. The deeply-felt personal, life-enhancing outcomes are not just our own fanciful constructs: they are real and emerge repeatedly and unprompted from peoples’ lips. But, increasingly, these audiences are expecting creative organisations to look, produce and operate as the 21st century organisations they perceive us to be. We need our management and our marketing to be as creative and groundbreaking as our cultural production. And we need to speak to people, listen to them and treat what we hear with respect. From the insight that we build from this conversation we can gain the confidence to liberate ourselves, to make the changes necessary for a sustainable future where our impact is truly felt and widely recognised.
Gerri Morris and Andrew McIntyre Morris Hargreaves McIntyre www.lateralthinkers.com This is an edited version of Insight Required. The full version can be downloaded from: http://www.lateralthinkers.com/Resources/MHM_ PDFs/insightrequired%20final.pdf
MHM’s Seven Pillars 1
The organisation is vision-led in a way that champions the art and the audience equally and the organisation has an absolute confidence in its artistic vision.
Everything the organisation does is insightguided. Audience research is the lifeblood of the organisation. Audience intelligence informs planning, refines creative projects, measures success.
2 The organisation is brand-driven, recognising that the best way to engage with its audiences is to communicate its essence, values and personality – its DNA – through a strong, assertive and widely understood brand.
3 The organisation is outcome-oriented, firmly believing that art improves the quality of life for individuals. The organisation measures success by the outcomes and impacts it is able to effect.
6 The organisation is interactively-engaged with its audiences, partners and stakeholders. There is a continuous two-way flow of communication and creativity which recognises that the audience is as creative, challenging and passionate about art as the organisation is.
7 The relationship between the organisation and the individuals who support it is personalised: the audience can define the experience they want to have from the organisation.
ARTS AT THE HEART
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
The organisation’s structures and planning are interdisciplinary: it is the responsibility of everyone within the organisation to understand, think about and respond to audiences.
partnership reports nalgao Magazine Winter 2008 ARTS AT THE HEART
Making a strong case for culture in order to protect local authority investment in the arts requires focused dialogue with policy makers, so at the National Campaign for the Arts I’ve been looking at the range of initiatives affecting local government and the arts sector, raising issues with representatives from across the sector to find out who’s talking to who, and in what directions conversations are heading. If joined up thinking really is high on the agenda of government agencies we need to see genuine support for local authorities in embedding the new ways of working demanded by the 2006 White Paper on Local Government. Ensuring that culture is recognised in Local Area Agreements (LAAs) and the work of Local Strategic Partnerships is just the start of an already challenging journey. The toolkits, case studies and research examining the place of culture within LAAs being drawn together needs to be supported by platforms for regular communication, sharing of learning and ways of advocating for the efficacy of culture in overcoming a wide range of issues close to the community agenda. Discussion at one of the open space sessions at the nalgao conference in October highlighted the energy at the local level and served as a reminder that building a strong cultural offer doesn’t happen overnight. The consistent need to demonstrate the impact of the arts both within local government and to the wider community requires the support of the sector to not only appreciate this need, but to come up with practical tools to help influence
the decision-making. The Local Government Association and Department for Culture Media and Sport’s Cultural Pathfinder programme is worth looking at for examples of ways cultural projects potentially can reduce traditional service provision ‘silos’. At least they serve to remind us of how vital it is to ensure that all stakeholders – from local participant to ward councillor, project manager to funder – are included in the communication cascade. Where the profile of culture and leisure is high throughout an authority, it has been achieved by getting on to the agenda of as many other departments as possible, and by positioning itself as a key partner for a wide range of existing services and new initiatives. In a recent interview for Arts Industry magazine Dr Ann Gosse, chair of the Chief Cultural and Leisure Officers Association, reminds us of the vital importance of leadership allies: ‘having a cabinet member and senior officer who understand how culture allies itself with almost everything else that councils do’.
Vigilance Identifying opportunities, spaces and barriers to act and influence at local level, arts development officers play a pivotal role in bridging the divide between government and the arts community and wider public. While seeking to support creative practice and instrumental outcomes simultaneously, successful cultural leaders are not only demonstrating the impact of cultural activities on the strategic priorities of politicians,
but encouraging the public realm to recognise their importance too. The progress made in terms of embedding improvement in the culture and sport sector was demonstrated with the launch of ‘A Passion for Excellence’ earlier in the year. (see article pages 13-17). Vigilance as to how the baseline figures for arts engagement serve the local authorities, and how promised support for areas prioritising the arts indicator in their LAAs will be delivered by the agencies and the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) is needed, as this will have much wider implications for future levels of funding. While constant changes in government, service delivery and decision-making make for an inevitably complex campaigning environment there is so much potential in the community agenda to highlight cultural interests. Quantitative data is convincing in terms of value for money and impact and qualitative data brings it to life so the challenge lies with the sector to come up with convincing ways to mix the two - keeping creativity at the heart of what we do.
Edwina Vine Tel: 020 7287 3777 email: email@example.com www.artscampaign.org.uk Edwina Vine joined the NCA on a Cultural Leadership Programme (CLP) ‘Peach’ Placement to explore the relationship between local government and the arts.
On The Campaign Trail The NCA looks at advocacy for the arts at local level Edwina Vine
Tuesday I have a one to one with my boss who’s the Executive Director [Pete Gasgoine, former Chair of nalgao, - Ed]and this is just usual nuts and bolts of how things are going. It does include some information about staff and so forth. In the afternoon I’m on a Matrix Management Group which looks at performance and improvement throughout the Trust. So I come in with a critical eye to look at how things are going in other Departments. It’s not arts related at all.
Thursday On Thursday it will be about recovering from Wednesday! On this particular Thursday in big bold letters in the diary it says ‘Remain in the office’ and this usually means the fire fighting stuff. So, there will be a catch up on all the kind of emails, the mail and the bits and pieces of operational things that a manager has to do. Friday I’m very privileged on Friday because I’m working from my home office. And this has become a regular thing now until Christmas. And again the
focus will go back to the applied learning challenge, because I will probably have a meeting on the Wednesday with my mentor on this and then the follow up will be on the Friday in terms of further desk research around community cohesion and setting out a particular agenda – a task agenda from that. Of course we’re a Leisure Trust and in terms of differences from a Local Authority, the one thing that springs to mind is that we are very much a social enterprise in that respect; we do have an autonomy that we can generate ourselves. There is a robust service level agreement with the council because there has to be. They contribute an amount of money annually to us and we deliver their culture and leisure services. But for me it is about us feeling very different. We can have our own business strategy, we can create income for ourselves and pump it back into our services. We do have two joint capital projects with the council. I mean the council still own the building assets so there are opportunities very to collaborate around on that. And certainly when it comes to the Local Area Agreement that’s a shared document. The Trust have a definite input in terms of the delivery and hopefully the commissioning of it.
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
Wednesday I’m again look at a report on Wednesday, but this is of special value, it’s what’s called an applied learning challenge. I went on a management Monday course – quite an academic course – on the Well Monday, first and foremost I try and keep a modernisation agenda, business change agenda clear desk in terms of the paperwork because by and so on and so forth. And the applied learning the end of the week it piles up fairly quickly. I’m challenge means that I take on a special project into report writing which is based on all the and work very closely with the hierarchy in the Festivals that have taken place over the Summer. council and find ways of how I can contribute to We’ve had our debriefing, so Monday, I’ve a piece council priorities as well as me learning from that to finish off around the Festival called the WoW more strategic high level area. And the thing for Festival – Wigan One World Festival. When that that is community cohesion. And I’m hoping to report is finished, it’s disseminated to a number find some resources from that as well because I of steering groups, so that’s the next task on it. do believe there is a hidden pot of money So that will take up more or less all of Monday. somewhere.
ARTS AT THE HEART
Paul Kelly spoke to Chris Wyatt, Arts & Festivals Manager at Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust about his week.
report and reviews
A Week In The Life…
reviews ARTS AT THE HEART nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
New Flow A better future for artists, citizens and the state By Tim Joss Published by Mission Models Money www.missionmodelsmoney.org.uk When it comes to the arts, says Tim Joss, Local Government is in a mess. In 1979 the Gulbenkian Foundation published a report by Lord Redcliffe-Maud called ‘Support for the Arts in England and Wales’. This, he says, could have lifted the arts on to a level comparable with education, libraries and social services. Instead, thirty years later artists and arts organisations find themselves swimming in a sea of initiatives and confusion. Is this really what increased government interest and investment in the arts has brought about? Tim Joss thinks so and in “New Flow – A better future for artists, citizens and the state”, he seeks to cut a veritable Gordian knot of confused language, assumptions and practices and propose a better way of thinking and acting.
The arts sector likes to think that, as a creatively driven and socially aware domain, it is ahead of the pack. Joss disagrees. The arts lag behind technological developments. They rarely engage with social enterprise. Artistic development processes have much in common with science but fail to match science’s approaches to public engagement, research, evidence, innovation and commercial exploitation. “Arts organizations,” he says, “have limited understanding of outcomes, a poor record of building up a body of evidence of the effects of the arts and hence a vulnerability when it comes to accountability.” The arts education models in use are now 25 years old and largely stale. And, he concludes, the arts world is insular. “With insularity goes suspicion. Arts organisations view others as funding competitors or commercial companies with suspect motives.”
Joss has a creditable track record in the arts sector, good connections with the world of science and is now Director of a charitable foundation supporting a range of initiatives, so he has a wide and informed overview of the issues. “What contribution,” he asks, “can artists make to society and how can we make these as open and effective as possible? How do we connect artists and citizens… And how do we get out of today’s complicated mess?” His proposals are novel, apposite and ingenious.
Money, he says, is not the problem. Society is more complex and exciting than when arts councils were formed. The arts council model can no longer cope with this complexity. The system, he says is ‘creaking with instrumental inertia’. And his explanations for this are intriguing. Excellence and access, the twin pillars of Arts Council missions involve completely different processes. To try and do both, says Joss, as ACE does, is inherently contradictory. Also access and public engagement are treated as if they are the same thing when in fact they are very different. Finally, the arms length principle at the heart of the system no longer makes sense; the arts want to be at the ‘top table’. You cannot, Joss notes, simultaneously be at the top table and at arm’s length from it.
The world we live in now, notes Joss, has changed massively from the one in which many arts organisations and funding institutions were formed. The producer and consumer are merging into the pro-sumer. The divide between professional expert and citizen is shrinking fast and in the commercial and social enterprise sector different ways of delivery and engagement are continually emerging.
We need, says Joss, to hear more from artists themselves. They need to be more central to the script. Artists aren’t being given sufficient chances to engage fully with society and if they do not engage with society, they risk having little to say to audiences. The arts and film council model, says Joss, has failed to alter significantly the social character of audiences for the arts activities it subsidises and they blame lack of public engagement
on the public’s ‘self-exclusion’ rather than their own policies and practices. It would be remarkable, he drily comments, if, against the backdrop of momentous change, state arts organisations created long ago were still relevant. So, says Joss, we must encourage artistic processes that go beyond narrow historic definitions and those artistic processes need research time, something common in industry, but often marginalised in the arts. To achieve this, Joss argues, requires not a new type of arts council but two arts bodies with different but complementary functions. One would act like a scientific research council and dedicated to creative R&D. It would sit at arms length from government. The other would be a business-like commissioning and delivery agency which should sit within or alongside government, so as to have a place at the ‘top table’. New Flow provides a really excellent synthesis of some key issues and context. Joss writes about the complexities clearly and lucidly. His observations are frequently insightful and the text is laced with pertinent facts and examples. He is forensic in his analysis but never cruel in his criticisms. Tim Joss wants the best for the arts and if enough people read this profound and stimulating analysis, the arts may just get the changes they deserve.
Paul Kelly New Flow is available as a free download from: http://www.missionmodelsmoney.org.uk/pag e.php?id=19 Tim Joss is seeking responses to New Flow and will be publishing New Flow 2.0, the final version, in 2009.
This review has been adapted from one commissioned by Arts Professional.
Chair of nalgao
West Sussex County Council
Vice Chair & NW Regional Rep
Vale Royal Borough Council
Hertfordshire County Council
Arts Devt in East Cambs (ADEC)
Eastern Region Representative
Suffolk County Council
EM Regional Representative
Nottingham City Council
Catherine Miller-Bassi London Reg Representative (job-share)
London Borough of Lambeth
0207 926 0764
London Reg Representative (job-share)
London Borough of Hillingdon
NW Regional Representative (job-share)
0161 770 4638
NE Regional Representative (job-share)
Sunderland City Council
0191 514 8459
NE Regional Representative (job-share)
Durham County Council
0191 370 8821
Southern Region Representative (job-share)
Milton Keynes Council
Southern Region Representative (job-share)
West Oxfordshire District Council
South East Region Representative (job-share)
Waverley Borough Council
South East Region Representative (job-share)
Kent County Council
SW Region Rep Representative (job-share)
Swindon Borough Council
SW Region Rep Representative (job-share)
Dorset County Council
WM Regional Representative (job-share)
Redditch Borough Council
WM Regional Representative (job-share)
Worcestershire County Council
Yorkshire Regional Rep (job-share)
Yorkshire Regional Rep (job-share)
City of York Council
South Wales Regional Representative
Blaenau Gwent CBC
North Wales Regional Representative
West Wales Regional Representative
Pembrokeshire County Council
nalgao Magazine Winter 2008
ARTS AT THE HEART
nalgaoTrustees Membership 2008/09
* Co-opted positions
nalgao One Day Conference and Seminar Programme
Veles et Vents, Xarxa Teatre, at Weymouth for the cultural Olympiad. Photo by Paul Kelly
nalgao has an exciting seminar programme for 2009, with two major events taking place for you to fix in your diaries as follows: nalgao One Day Seminar on Arts with hard to reach groups and communities
nalgao/ACE SE Regional Conference on Partnerships
Friday 6th February 2009, from 10.00 â€“ 16.30 The Showroom Cinema and Workstation, Sheffield
Friday 27th March 2009 from 10.00 â€“ 16.30 The Maltings, Farnham, Kent
We are returning to Sheffield for our next one-day seminar, to consider arts with hard to reach groups and communities. The conference will be a partnership event between Sheffield City council and Mailout, and will include keynote presentations, breakouts and a study tour. More programme and booking information will follow in future nalgao ezines and on its website www.nalgao.org
This major one-day conference will explore the partnership framework established by ACE and local authorities in the SE region, but with examples of good practice that other regions can share in. The day will include keynote presentations, breakout sessions and an Open Space forum in the afternoon, looking at the improvement agenda and how future partnerships can be developed to best serve local communities and artform development.
Member appeal: We are presently putting the programme together, and would like to appeal to the membership to submit breakout presentation case studies illustrating good practice in developing arts with hard to reach groups and communities.
The next issue of Arts at the Heart will be out in mid-March 2009.
A steering group comprising representatives from ACE: SE and SE regional authorities are presently working on the programme for the day. Full details will be posted on the nalgao website in due course. www.nalgao.org
Copy deadline for the next issue is Friday 6 February 2009. If you would like to write an article for the next issue, please talk to our Editor Paul Kelly Tel: 01202 385585 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org If you would like information about nalgao, please contact: Pete Bryan, nalgao Administrator 01269 824728 email: email@example.com