ARTS AT THE HEART
Sizing Up The Future
Inside: Conference Report Contracting Out Arts Services Total Place Politics and the Arts: The Parties speak
Working for local government arts and creative industries The nalgao Magazine Issue 25 Spring 2010
nalgao spending survey
Cover Feature The ‘Outside In’ Report
Arts and Politics: The Shape Of Things To Come? Ed Vazey MP Margaret Hodge MP Don Foster MP Conference Report Swindon: The Future Starts Here Farewell to Flux Investing in affordable creative workspace Conference photos Growing pARTicipation Marcus Moore: Conference poems Total Place - Re-modelling local service delivery Lowry Goes Walkabout The Time That Land Remembered The Jurassic Coast Arts Project Conference Round Up
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nalgao Case Studies Nottingham Contemporary – Creative Magnet Creative Caerphilly Gimme Shelter in Hertsmere
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The Last Word
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 University College at Bournemouth
As I write this, the long awaited General Election has yet to be called. By the time you read this it will all be over. But will the end of the election signal the end of the arts? Or if not of ’the arts’, the end of a certain type of arts? The politicians of all three major parties have made reassuring, if at times contradictory, noises. A month ago you could hear the government timbers positively creaking; ‘Expect cuts’, said Secretary of State Bradshaw. ‘It doesn’t have to be like that for the arts’, said Minister of Culture Hodge. Or words to that effect. We await in bemused anticipation, regardless of who wins power. If anyone does. Meanwhile Shadow Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s big idea, endowments, could be fine for big high profile players like opera companies and orchestras. But how successful will your local arts education company or arts centre be in attracting a capital sum large enough to generate sufficient interest to pay its wage bill? The result could, of course, be a hung Parliament. Unusual in Britain, but may be not unwelcome. If so, could the Liberal Democrat’s cultural policy have some influence on the future of local government arts? Some people are brought up to believe that politicians come with answers to difficult questions. I am not so sure anyone believes this anymore, if they ever did. All political parties are giving an increasing profile to culture even if it doesn’t always make the final manifesto. But what determines future investment is as likely to be their economic manifestos as their cultural ones. Our conference in Swindon last October suggested that the future of the arts is safe in the enthusiastic hands of young people who have discovered the challenge the angst and the joy of what it is to get actively engaged. Our conference report in this issue, rather later than intended, tells the story of how young performers thrilled us with their talent and commitment. The Swindon conference also set nalgao off on a new an interesting journey; an examination of alternatives to the traditional local authority arts service. It led to our ‘Outside In’ report and Seminar in February, which many of you will have attended. The report is available on the nalgao website. We will carry proper report of the seminar in the next issue of Arts at the Heart together with updates. By that time we may know who is leading us for the next five years, even if we don’t quite know where.
The website can be found at: www.localspending.communities.gov.uk
City of Culture Congratulations to Birmingham, Derry, Sheffield and Norwich who were selected from a long list of 29 bidders for Britain’s first City of Culture in 2013. By the time you read it the shortlisted four will be finalising their final bids due in at the end of May. Phil Redmond, chair of the independent City of Culture advisory panel – and creative director of Liverpool’s year as European capital of culture in 2008 – said: “It was a hard choice but also heartening that all bidders had recognised the power of culture to bring people together; to work collectively within existing resources for a common goal and bring into being networks that may not have existed before.” Margaret Hodge, Minister for Culture said: “Huge congratulations to the four cities in the final running for the 2013 UK City of Culture. I’m really pleased that we attracted such a strong and varied field. It just goes to show the richness of culture across the UK.”
Lorna Brown Chair of nalgao
Digital Heart? Members of nalgao’s Communications Working Group recently met to discuss how to develop the organisation’s website and create a stronger link with the Ezine. The sub-group concluded that the only way of financing web developments was to make Arts at the Heart a digital publication. The matter is being discussed with nalgao’s Trustees. Watch this row of ones and noughts for more information.
ARTS AT THE HEART
More than 200 delegate attended the Outside In seminar in London on Strategic Commissioning making it one of the most successful nalgao seminars ever. The seminar also saw the launch of nalgao’s ‘Outside In’ report on contracting out local authority arts services. This issue of Arts at the Heart carries a story on the report and the conference will be reported in detail in the next issue.
A new Government website allows the public, artists and arts organisations to see how much money Local Government is spending on the arts. The website shows all local authority expenditure broken down by category. Whilst some spending categories do vary slightly from authority to authority, in terms of culture the categories commonly include arts development and support, theatres and public entertainment, galleries and heritage. Government Community Secretary John Denham said, “The changes today are about making it easier for citizens and councils alike to access at the touch of a button the information they need to scrutinise and challenge how money is being spent.” The new website launched at the end of March currently only contains data for 2006-07, so the data is five years old. But as it is built up, it will be possible to map changing trends by authority and by region.
Outside In Seminar
Chair’s Introduction The Arts Left Hanging?
“What determines future investment in culture is as likely to be the politicians’ economic manifestos as their cultural ones.”
The Arts Left Hanging?
Arts Information For All
Wales confirms statutory duty At a speech to the Welsh Assembly on 20 April, Welsh Culture Minister Alun Ffred Jones confirmed that the Principality is pushing ahead with a statutory duty to support the arts. We will bring a more detailed update in the next issue of Arts at the Heart.
Next Nalgao seminar
Cover photo: May Day Event – Parc Cwm Darran 2009, Courtesy Caerphilly County Borough Arts Development Team
“Arts, Health & Wellbeing” is the subject of the next nalgao seminar being held at The Reebok Conference Centre, Bolton on Tuesday 20th July. The list of speakers is in the process of being finalised and conference booking open will open in the near future. But in the meantime put the date in your diary. The seminar is presented in partnership with Bolton at Home and in association with the National Culture Forum, the Chief Culture & Leisure Officers Association and Breakthrough.
ARTS AT THE HEART
nalgao Magazine Spring 2010
• Dacorum District Council is deleting its Arts Education Service as of the 31st March • Taunton Deane Borough Council has made its arts officer redundant as of 1st April • In Lancaster City, as they haven’t replaced the 2 arts posts after staff left • The Borough Council of Kings Lynn and West Norfolk are ending Arts Officer contract on May 10
• Basildon BC has not reappointed an arts officer • Lincoln City Council made their Arts Development Officer redundant in 2009 and the Arts Officer at Boston is now at risk of redundancy
“Despite the anxieties, the more detailed comments show the resourcefulness of members in finding ways to protect the arts services, clients and activities that they deliver by their continued commitment to seeking new funding, new opportunities and different methods of delivery that will help to maintain the high quality arts The eleven cuts, reductions and freezes noted services currently being delivered. above affect a population of xxxx at 2008-09 “Our survey also found that arts officers have levels. had to work hard to keep their current service levels. Some services faced with closure have had The survey also found that: a reprieve but there are still concerns about the levels of funding and recruitment freezes. Our • Many local authority arts services are being members are expecting further cuts on some asked to make savings on staff over the next already reduced services. Some arts officers are 3 years now being expected to deliver more work • Some redundancies are expected to happen in without increasing capacity.” following years with the ‘crunch year’ being “Final comments were very informative sharing 2011/12 concerns on difficult and uncertain times for local • Whilst redundancies aren’t being made, staff authority arts services. Also showing the posts vacated or lost during 2009/10 are resourcefulness of officers in seeking funding from unlikely to be replaced other areas and researching new ways to deliver their services through outsourcing and Pete Bryan, nalgao Administrator commented, commissioning. Most worrying is the expectation “Our continued concern of the vulnerability of from many people that the worst is yet to come the arts, culture and sports services being nonand that 2011/12 will see further significant statutory is born out in the concerns of our funding reduction.” members, and is particularly worrying as cuts nalgao will carry out a further more detailed begin to be made to achieve the savings survey later in the year. demanded by central government in order to Pete Bryan reduce the national deficit. Administrator, nalgao Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The ‘Outside In’ report was launched by nalgao on 17 February at a conference of the same name in London. The report was commissioned following a breakout session at last October’s nalgao conference. Many delegates at the conference were concerned about anticipated local authority budget cuts and the cumulative effect on arts services. They were also intrigued to hear evidence that there were ways of outsourcing cultural services and through this not only protecting but offering the possibility for growth and development. I was commissioned to investigate this and with the help of nalgao’s excellent knowledge base was able in a very limited research time to identify a number of possible alternative models and issues surrounding them. The issues facing local authority arts officers are nothing new. Leisure services, as they then were, faced similar problems in the early 1990s when faced with a mix of inflation, recession and government caps on local authority spending. One or two local authorities started to investigate this and put parts of their leisure services into independent trust status. At this point it seems that most if not all the emphasis was to protect leisure centres and allow them the opportunity to develop as commercial entities whilst feeding profits back into the business to be used for future investment. Mutualism at its best, some might say. During the 2000s a small number of local authorities, facing continued budgetary pressures had revisited the contracting-out option and put some or all of their leisure/culture services into an independent leisure trust, with a contract to provide services to the local authority. Two other approaches also emerged at around the same time. The first came from
a growth in private sector involvement in the leisure industry which has resulted, some years later, in at least one company, Leisure Connections, securing a contract to run local authority leisure and cultural services. The second such approach came from the Arts Council and/or their regional partners, the Regional Arts Boards. Both had recognised the importance of local authorities to the arts and some had actually subsidised local authority arts officer posts. But some also faced areas without a local authority arts post and felt
that an agency approach was preferable. This has resulted in a small number of independent agencies providing arts services to local authorities on contract. So, this initial research had clearly identified three possible models for outsourcing; one type very service specific (just the arts or just leisure centres),
another covering the full range of culture and leisure from archives to water parks (and probably zoos if they ran them) and based on mutualism and the third model similar in scope, but private sector managed. I had had experience of working for a local authority that had investigated outsourcing its cultural services and so knew something of the complexities. This needed explaining clearly and authoritatively. So I bought in Rick Bond who has advised a lot of local authorities on these issues and asked Rick to provide technical advice, which forms a significant section of the report. I knew that if the report was to provide valuable information to nalgao members – and indeed to their line managers and politicians, then just describing structural options wasn’t enough. The report it needed the meat of experience. So, I tracked down and interviewed nine bodies that provided cultural services to local authorities including the arts. The interviews had to be structured and were limited to a 30 minute phone conversation. But these interviews produced very valuable anecdotal data, including the fact that whilst life may be hard in local authorities, just switching to trust status does not automatically create a bed of roses. The brief from nalgao also asked me to look at two other things; firstly models where local authorities are working closely together in a formal or informal partnership that is distinctive or in some way protects or extends the arts service. Secondly I was asked to look at ‘strategic commissioning’. The section in ‘Outside In’ on innovative partnership working between local authorities is the thinnest. New ways of working, formal and informal partnerships are simply not as visible as a legal entity like a Culture Trust. More
A Background to the study
ARTS AT THE HEART
One quarter of local authorities in England and Wales are facing “severe service reductions” and over 70% of those responding gave a pessimistic view of future funding according to a survey just undertaken by nalgao. The short survey examined the funding situation in local authority arts services and was designed to give a snapshot of the funding picture in a difficult financial climate, prior to final budget settlements and in the lead-up to the general election in May 2010. The survey found that 25.5% were facing or expecting “severe service reductions”. 55% of respondents were facing standstill with no inflationary allowance. Nearly 14% of respondents were facing standstill with a small increase for inflation and 2% responding were expecting their service to be contracted out. The survey responses came from a good crosssection of local authorities from across England and Wales. 59 local authorities responded, representing 23.5% of those in nalgao membership in 2009/10. In addition nalgao’s survey identified 11 local authorities cutting, reducing or freezing its arts service including the following:
nalgao Spending Survey
nalgao Spending Survey
Members Report More Pain
1. The reasons that local authorities contract out leisure/culture services are generally to save costs and protect existing services. 2. There are at least five alternative models to the status quo of in house local authority managed and delivered leisure/cultural services. 3. The alternatives include: a) Partially contracted out service b) Fully contracted out service c) External management contract d) Shared service model – informal or formal e) Independent voluntary trust
8. Specific financial benefits in contracting out leisure/cultural services in this way include: • Service efficiencies • Financial savings through council tax relief and/or VAT savings • The ability to raise external finance • Greater flexibility in employing and/or contracting staff 9. Operational and developmental benefits include the ability to look at improvements to poor building stock or developing new buildings and developing new services or bidding for and winning contracts from other local authorities or agencies.
“If we as a sector were to access just 0.5% of the health, social care and children’s services budgets through commissioning it would increase our [cultural] budgets in councils by 45%.”
18. Two important disadvantages of Trust status emerged from our research; trust status does not guarantee security from restructuring or service cuts. And independent trusts often carry a lower level of backroom staff thus giving officers an increased administrative burden. 19. Independent leisure/culture trusts require a retention of strong working relationships with local authorities at officer and/or Member level. Many trusts described the relationship as being ‘better’ than when the authority ran the service. 20. Trusts providing solely arts development services spoke of the importance of partnership working and the value of having a strategic advisory role as well as an operational role. 21. The trust model is by no means the only model of delivering arts services in a different way. A small number of local authorities have joined together to provide arts services. These can be informal with a joint strategy and separate delivery, or formal with one staff team serving both authorities. There is far less evidence of these type of arrangements, though it may become more common in future.
4. The proportion of local authorities contracting out their leisure or culture services is comparatively small.
10. Independent trusts also said they were able to benefit from a wider range of expertise at Board level.
5. A significant majority of the local authorities that were studied have contracted out leisure/cultural services through an independent leisure or culture trust. This is usually a company limited by guarantee with charitable status and often with a separate trading company.
11. The length of contracts that the trusts reviewed had with their sponsoring authority varied widely from 5 to 29 years.
6. This is also the most complex and time consuming model to use.
12. Whilst most recent trusts manage a wide range of leisure/cultural services, it may be possible to establish a trust that just deals with the arts and arts development. The report examined two of these.
7. The benefits of contracting out leisure/cultural services fall into three areas, financial, operational and developmental.
13. Evidence suggests that these are most appropriate in rural areas where District Councils lack the scale to easily carry a full service arts function.
28. Commissioning opens the door to other services or groups bidding for this work, so long as they can demonstrate the required expertise and ability to deliver outcomes.
17. Two thirds of the bodies we spoke to said that externalising the service had changed it for the better.
29. ID&eA believe that if the cultural sector were to access just 0.5% of the health, social care and children’s services budgets through commissioning it would increase cultural budgets in councils by 45%.
22. Joining together the arts services of one or more local authority arts services can be a practical measure acknowledging that audiences and artists cross local authority boundaries with complete disregard and impunity.
30. The research suggests that success in the commissioning process depends on five factors, including the ability of an arts service to be part of the discussions when strategic issues are being discussed and its ability to demonstrate the value of its role in commissioning and brokering.
23. A shared service model can also allow a wider staff skill base by sharing the cost and expertise across a wider geographical area than would be sustainable in one local authority area. 24. This model could also be seen as a first step to an independent arts trust status. 25. In several cases local authorities have externalised management of leisure and cultural services through a contract with a private commercial company. Whilst several authorities have chosen this route, they all appear to have chosen the same company and as a result the commercial options appear ‘limited’.
31. Strategic commissioning could bring more money to the arts, and particularly to artists and arts organisations. But evidence to date suggests that the role of the local authority arts service is that of broker and that they will not necessarily earn income from commissioning. Thus strategic commissioning on its own may not protect an arts service.
Download the full ‘Outside In’ report from the nalgao website www.nalgao.org
the ‘Outside In’ report
27. Local authority children’s services, adult social care services and the youth justice system spend hundreds of millions of pounds of public funding each year providing services to their client groups.
16. Over 75% of bodies interviewed said that externalising the service had changed their way of thinking and working.
Martyn Allison, National Advisor for Cultural Services, I&DeA
ARTS AT THE HEART
15. Over 50% of the bodies interviewed said that the arts service would not exist or would be at risk if it had not been externalised.
nalgao Magazine Spring 2010
Paul Kelly Cultural Futures
26. Strategic commissioning is one of a number of ways of procuring a range of local authority front line services.
14. Trust status had created arts service growth in over 75% of the trusts that were interviewed.
ARTS AT THE HEART
nalgao Magazine Spring 2010
the ‘Outside In’ report
research is needed in this area. If you are finding new ways of working or know people who are, please let nalgao know and it will run examples in Arts at the Heart and on its website. Strategic commissioning is a new and massive area which that well informed policy body Id&EA confesses it is just starting to understand. Commissioning comes about when significant local authority budget holders, like social care and children’s services decide to outsource work to meet specific outcomes. Can the arts help bring about a better quality of life for the elderly or encourage young people to engage in the democratic process? You bet they can! Can the arts win the money to do this. Well arts officers and organisations have been doing projects that make small impacts on issues like this for years and most Arts at the Heart case studies have illustrated their success. Strategic commissioning seems to offer a much larger opportunity. Again more research is needed ion this area, but our limited review identified positives but not panaceas. Moving from an in-house service to a contracted out vehicle, getting involved in strategic commissioning or just developing a partnership with one or more neighbouring arts services will throw up detailed practical and possibly legal issues. ‘Outside In’ is a starting point rather than the final word in those. But I hope that the report that Rick Bond and I have produced is as clear as it can be and will prove useful. It’s been an interesting journey thus far, taken at slightly breakneck speed. I am grateful to all those who have spared the time to speak to me and I hope the report has relayed their experiences and comments succinctly and accurately.
ARTS AT THE HEART
nalgao Magazine Spring 2010
the ‘Outside In’ report
Pete Gascoigne Executive Director, (Libraries, Heritage and Arts) Wigan Culture and Leisure Trust www.wlct.org Alison Goode Executive Director of Development and Leroy Philbrooke, Arts Development Officer Pendle Leisure Trust www.pendleleisuretrust.co.uk Angela-Gaye Mallory-Starks Arts and Heritage Development Manager, Cultural Community Partnerships, East Northamptonshire www.culturalcommunitypartnerships.org.uk Elaine Knight Arts NK, North Kesteven, Lincolnshire (Leisure Connections)14 www.artsnk.org Caption needed Caption needed
Jane Wilson Director, AdEC, Cambridgeshire www.adec.org.uk Adrian Lochhead Director, Eden Arts, Cumbria www.edenarts.co.uk Greenwich Leisure Limited www.gll.org Gill Cooper Head of Arts and Culture, City of York www.york.gov.uk/education/arts/ Jo Askam Arts Officer, St Albans Arts, Sports and Health (SAASH) www.harpersfitness.co.uk/st-albans
Adam Gent Arts Development Officer, Bournemouth Borough Council www.bournemouth.gov.uk/Residents/Arts/
That was the then Shadow Minister for the Arts, Norman Buchan writing nearly 25 years ago in the introduction to “Saturday Night or Sunday Morning” by Geoff Mulgan and Ken Worpole. The book, published in 1986, was a ‘wake up call’ to the Labour Party to address culture in its Manifesto for the next election which Labour were hoping to win. How much has really changed in 25 years since Buchan’s rather gloomy analysis? Well, you no longer have to write a book to get culture on the political agenda. You just organise a conference call it “State of the Arts” and today’s politicians will come and talk, scripted and unscripted. Some things have changed dramatically since Buchan’s time, but remarkably, some things have not. Funding is, as ever, usually the first topic of conversation in the run up to the 2010 election though whether today’s the shortfall is ‘appalling’ is debateable. Sponsorship on the other hand has become an accepted and welcomed part of the funding ecology. Whether it has distorted the arts is doubtful - though I dread the arrival of product placement in live theatre (“Is this a Wilkinson Sword dagger which I see before me?”) The Digital Britain report shows that government has a clear understanding of the importance and impact of technology, and the Digital Economy Bill just scraped through through the legislative process before Parliament was dissolved. London’s domination has been leavened by Liverpool’s success as Capital of Culture and the British City of Culture programme – and many other initiatives as well. Administrative patronage has, arguably, given way to more egalitarian leadership programmes. Broadcasting, the creative industries, the arts, popular music are now all the responsibility of a single Ministry. We have come to use and accept, if not love the ‘culture’ word and have come to realise that if “us” and “them” are defined by “excellence” and “access”, then its a false debate. If today, Norman Buchan sounds a bit like a doomsayer, then we should be grateful for it is criticisms like his which drive the changes of the future. But who are today’s equivalent of Norman Buchan and what do we want to change? The excellent advocacy work of the National Campaign for the Arts, aided by industry lead bodies (including, of course, nalgao) has given the nation an arts manifesto. Does today’s political ambition for culture match it? Elections are not only an opportunity for change, they are a time for the politically ambitious to excite us with a vision of what life could and should be like. But the difficulty today is that on some matters, the ideological differences between the parties can be so slight that the ambitious become merely politically ambidextrous. On the surface, so much of Buchan’s lament has been addressed, that one wonders what cultural mountains there are left to climb, aside from money.
For local authorities arts officers there are probably two key issues for the future; the first and most important, is service survival. The second is almost trickier. It’s the position of localism. This is both about the balance between the local, regional and national and also about who decides what is best for local interests; a body of, perhaps unapproachable, professional experts or the local community through a referendum? With a General Election looming, Arts at the Heart approached five political parties and asked them the same five questions about their approach to the arts and culture if they get elected. We set these out in the pages that follow, published rather later than we intended. Whatever your political persuasions, whichever way you voted, the responses may prove an interesting yardstick as things unfold in the years to come. But whilst we can all throw mud at well meaning manifestos and apparent failures to deliver on them, do remember what Harold MacMillan said to a journalist when asked what was likely to blow the Government off course, “Events dear boy, events.
Janet Parker Principal Arts Officer, Luton Cultural Services Trust www.lutonculture.com
“I suppose we could define the present crisis facing the arts in Britain today in a number of ways: the appalling shortfall in necessary public funding...or the push towards sponsorship with all the distortions that that will bring about; or the failure to expand our definitions so that broadcasting, film, popular music, community arts are left out of what passes for an arts ministry in Britain; the failure to understand the consequences of the new technologies; the patronage concept within our structures of administration; the narrow domination of ideas from within establishment London; the fear of using the word “culture”, the creation of a permanent conceived dichotomy between a “high” and “low” culture, between the respectable and the “vulgar”; the false division between what is professional and what is not... In short, some will argue, this is simply once more the classic “us” and “them”.”
ARTS AT THE HEART
Beate Mielemeier Arts Manager, Link4Life, Rochdale www.link4life.org
The Shape Of Outside In Things To Come? Who was consulted
Paul Kelly Editor, Arts at the Heart Email: email@example.com Our thanks to Charles Landry at Comedia for allowing us to quote from “Saturday Night or Sunday Morning” .
They also serve...
We also asked Plaid Cymru and the Green Party to con tribute to this piece. The Plaid Cymru MP responsible for culture nev er responded. After a series of internal em ails around ‘Green-land’, we received the following rather delightful response from the person believed to be the Green spokesperson for culture: “Thanks for passing on the arts request, however I’m afraid I’m one of the animal welfare spokes men, and not the arts spo kesperson. Someone made a similar ass umption last year, but I ass ured him this could not be the case as I have very little interest in the arts – the last time I went voluntarily to the theatre was in 1979 (The Mousetrap), opera, ballet, art galleries are similarly a no-go zone. I fear for the future of the arts if I was in charge of any of it, I would abolish all funding and probably give it to bea rs.” Support the Greens and get the blues?
Labour contribution by Margaret Hodge
2. The arts can create national and even international headlines but nearly always happen at a local level. Should policy and funding decisions about the arts be made at national level or delegated to regional or local expertise? Conservatives are committed to returning power to the local level and freeing local
more closely tied to, and respond and serve, their communities better. Alongside this, we believe in the importance of ring-fenced national funding for the arts, direct from DCMS, in terms of support for National Museums, and through the Arts Council support at a national and a regional level. 3. How important is it to measure the role of the arts in terms of hard social and economic outcomes? It is important. If it wishes to be considered a significant, ‘grown-up’ sector alongside any other part of the economy, the arts must measure and report straightforward facts and figures on their economic and social outcomes. However, there is a case to be made for the arts above and beyond this, which I believe will be easier to make once the social and economic contribution is clear for all to see. That said, I am not keen for the arts to be burdened by a huge range of targets. 4. Local Government has long been a significant funder and developer of the arts. In tough economic times how can it be persuaded to sustain its support for the arts? More freedom for local government with more power returned to a local level should result in Councils and local authorities seeking to provide and invest in the areas that are important to their electorate and communities, rather than responding to Whitehall targets. If for example a local arts centre has strong links with its local community, which in turn demands their local authority support it, presumably the locally elected representatives will be motivated to respond to the concerns of their community. This, coupled with robust evidence of the economic and social contribution of local arts centres and arts activities as discussed above will provide clear motivation for local government to continue to support the arts. 5. If you were to sum up your policy for the arts in ten words what would those words be? Supporting, nurturing, encouraging success, creating a transparent, cost effective framework that allows the whole sector to thrive and not just survive.
3.How important is it to measure the role of the arts in terms of hard social and economic outcomes? I am really proud of Labour’s record on the Arts. We have grown investment through the Arts Council by 83% in real terms over the last decade. Visits to those museums which have benefitted from our free admissions policy are up 124%. And we have rejected the thesis that the Arts are funded either for their “intrinsic” value or their “instrumental” value. That is setting up a fatal conflict. The Arts are essential in that all of us enjoy enriching, life enhancing and life changing artistic and cultural experiences. But we now have strong evidence which tells us that the Arts are vital in countless ways in supporting our economy and society. Culture helps build a sense of community and shared identity, thus promoting cohesion. Culture and the Arts make places more attractive for people to work and live in, thus supporting businesses and enterprise. Children’s creativity is often developed through cultural and arts experiences helping them to develop their full potential and equipping them for the world of work. And our creative industries are growing faster than any other sector in the economy – and they are the sector where Britain genuinely leads the world in its excellence. So, both the intrinsic value and the instrumental value of the Arts need to be treasured, measured and enhanced. 4.Local Government has long been a significant funder and developer of the arts. In tough economic times how can it be persuaded to sustain its support for the arts? Local Government has a growing leadership role in creating towns and cities and public spaces which are attractive for both workers and residents, and which help to build strong and united communities. Arts and culture contribute towards that objective. And as the Labour Government has strongly demonstrated through its investment in SeaChange, arts, heritage and culture can be hugely effective as a catalyst for regeneration. The best local authorities recognise the importance of this investment. The others should be encouraged to do so and in my view investment in the arts should not be seen as a potential for cuts. That’s simply short-sighted and wrong. 5. If you were to sum up your policy for the arts in ten words what would those words be? Find everybody’s talent and develop world class art for everybody.
authorities to make their own decisions wherever possible. Our Communities and Local Government team have put forward proposals which will have significant implications for the cultural community, both cultural centres and arts organisations that operate mainly locally and regionally, and for nationally funded projects. I would encourage anyone who runs a local or regional arts organisation to look at our Green Paper on the subject, it’s titled: Control Shift, Returning Power to Local Communities, and you can find it on the Conservatives website. There are two proposals there which have implications for the arts: First, we will bring in a power to allow local people to trigger referendums, by legislating to ensure that referendum will be held in a Local Authority area if 5% of local citizens sign a petition in favour of within a six month period. This will encourage and enable cultural organisations funded by local authorities which have strong links with their local community. So, an arts centre which is recently having discussions with its local council about funding could petition for referendum to require the council to protect its funding. An arts centre which does not have strong links with its local community could be vulnerable to a referendum asking for its funding to be spent elsewhere. Second we will give local people greater control over how central Government funds are spent in their area. The Sustainable Communities Act 2007, enables local governments to identify money spent in their area by central government agencies, which will include the arts council. If local people, recommend ways in which it could be better spent on the community, the money will be redirected wherever possible. It will also mean that new plans for arts and cultural centres that are hoping to get and keep central government funding through the Arts Council will only come to fruition if they build support in the community, and plan their project with that community in mind. This is a considerable shift in emphasis from the current Government’s top down approach and will create better arts and cultural centres, which are
nalgao Magazine Spring 2010
1. Britain is in the worst recession it’s been in for a long time. Whoever is in power after the next election will have to make difficult decisions to help the country through and out of recession. Where do you rank the arts in terms of public expenditure priorities? Our ideas are set out against the backdrop of ongoing concern about the state of the economy, and of course this translates into concern about funding for the arts, the wider DCMS brief and across Government. Jeremy Hunt and I believe in the importance of the culture, for its own sake, as a contributor to the economy, and a foundation for the creative industries and driver for tourism, now more than ever. We believe they will be vital sectors in a rebalanced economy that will follow the current recession. We are on the sector’s side and will put the case as strongly as possible to the Conservative front bench, whenever there are funding discussions. We believe that the real solution to future worries about funding is to work as hard as possible to get the economy and Government finances back on track – a strong and healthy economy is the best way to ensue the strength and health of our sector. However, our plans for the lottery should increase the amount of money going to the arts. The amount of National Lottery funding going directly into the arts and heritage, the amount has fallen from £906m in 1997 to £444million in 2007, in both cases a fall of over 50%. Conservatives are committed to returning the National Lottery its core purposes – the arts, heritage, sport and charity. We will redistribute money that is currently going to Ministerial pet projects back to the good causes of the arts, heritage and sport. On today’s figures, that represents an annual increase of £53 million for each of the good causes.
2. The arts can create national and even international headlines but nearly always happen at a local level. Should policy and funding decisions about the arts be made at national level or delegated to regional or local expertise? It is not either/or. For a good cultural policy you have to have local expertise to understand and meet the needs of local communities and audiences. You need talent spotting in every community as well as central funding to develop the stars of tomorrow. But you also need a national overview to make sure that every community is enjoying art and culture which rates as truly excellent on an international and national scale - communities and audiences deserve and rightly demand the best.
ARTS AT THE HEART
ARTS AT THE HEART
nalgao Magazine Spring 2010
by Ed Vaizey
1. Britain is in the worst recession it’s been in for a long time. Whoever is in power after the next election will have to make difficult decisions to help the country through and out of recession. Where do you rank the arts in terms of public expenditure priorities? The creative economy is one of our strongest sectors - we are now no1 in the world in terms of the percentage of GDP made up by the creative economy - and we need to understand how investment in the arts creates the talent - actors, writers, directors, designers, musicians, entrepreneurs - who go on to win prizes worldwide and wealth for the country. The Dutch Government have exempted culture and media from public spending cuts - I would urge colleagues in local government and the Treasury to adopt this wise move. We need creative talent to lead us out of recession. Meanwhile rising audience figures in cinemas, theatres and museums show how much we value culture whilst we are in recession, and thanks to government policy, museums and theatres are free or subsidised so everybody can enjoy them. There is a real difference between the Labour Government and the Tory opposition. We believe the nation must invest its way out of recession. The Tories want to cut public spending (including the Arts) NOW.
2.The arts can create national and even international headlines but nearly always happen at a local level. Should policy and funding decisions about the arts be made at national level or delegated to regional or local expertise? I believe that funding decisions should always be devolved to the lowest level possible. A Liberal Democrat government would give communities a greater say in cultural provision and give money directly to communities for arts and culture investment. For the new Library, Information and Children's Centre in Dalton, Kirklees, families and artists worked together to decide how they would like their new centre to look. By engaging the community so successfully, this project demonstrates what art can achieve at a local level.
Localism will be at the absolute heart of the Liberal Democrat arts policy. 3. How important is it to measure the role of the arts in terms of hard social and economic outcomes? While I remain a strong believer in art for its own sake, we should still use every available argument for the importance of investment in arts and culture. The public want to see their taxes invested in worthwhile projects with identifiable results, and with cuts looming, our creative sectors need to communicate why they are important. The arts have clear social and economic benefits and these should be treated as advantages, not a distraction from their true purpose. However, while we make the most of these aspects, we must remember that creativity cannot be judged by tick box targets and economic indicators. Inspiration and enjoyment cannot be measured by figures in a spreadsheet. 4. Local Government has long been a significant funder and developer of the arts. In tough economic times how can it be persuaded to sustain its support for the arts? I don’t believe it is for central government to determine spending priorities at a local level. Councils invest a huge amount, more than £220m in 2008-09. This investment reflects their appreciation for the communal, educational and cultural benefits of the arts. When a Tory council leader announced “We don’t do culture in Barnet”, he was met with immense amounts of criticism from all sides. Local authorities must continue to give arts and culture due importance, though they are quite rightly not the sole provider of public arts funding. The Arts Council does important work through its numerous projects, and the Liberal Democrats believe it should maintain its role and its independence. 5. If you were to sum up your policy for the arts in ten words what would those words be? Promoting excellence, universal access, enjoyment and appreciation of the arts.
cover feature nalgao Magazine Spring 2010 ARTS AT THE HEART
1. Britain is in the worst recession it’s been in for a long time. Whoever is in power after the next election will have to make difficult decisions to help the country through and out of recession. Where do you rank the arts in terms of public expenditure priorities? Arts and culture are central to every society. For individuals and communities, the arts are self-affirming, confidence building and identity forming. They create a sense of togetherness, and contribute to good health and social and economic well-being. For these reasons the Liberal Democrats believe that it is a primary duty of government to support the arts. Even in these difficult financial times, an investment in quality art can generate a financial return for the local economy. An obvious example of this is Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture. The city invested in a variety of arts and cultural programmes which resulted in 5.2 million people visiting the city, and generated £176 million in tourism spend alone. While investment can bring many benefits, including financial ones, cuts can do little to reduce the public deficit. Reducing the £429 million we gave to the Arts Council England in 2008/09 would do nothing to address the billions Britain owes, while we would lose all the enormous benefits the arts can bring.
where careworn officers can take comfort in seeing equally careworn friends. “Ah, it’s not just me, it’s just life”. The conference is a great places to get practical information through workshops, breakout groups and, of course unplanned al-fresco conversations. But above all nalgao conferences help convey the mood of the time and help define the road ahead. Sober times, like these, need direct, positive messages to lift the spirits and Swindon excelled. This is Mondeo-man land, a place of rapid growth and change with brash new housing estates devoid of historic cultural landscape or infrastructure. They don’t exactly inherit culture in Swindon, so, they have to make it. And make it they have done. Swindon welcomed nalgao to the homely Wyvern Theatre with a film about community engagement and their Flux project followed by a lively Breakdancing set and an astonishingly precocious solo performance by 12 year old singer and guitarist Theo Altieri (you’ll find him on MySpace). Prior to the nalgao AGM – dull but necessary and conducted with supreme
ARTS AT THE HEART
For those who, like me, feasted on the ornate, degenerate kitsch of the 2008 Blackpool conference, Swindon, on the surface held all the promise of a second division away game on a wet Tuesday. Swindon, railway hub, site of Britain’s first railway refreshment rooms and first lending library, site of one of its first healthcare schemes and a cooperative Improvement Company. The last steam train in Britain was built in Swindon and now the car has taken over it hosts a magic roundabout hairier than Dougal. But it’s not the sort of place you immediately associate with cutting edge contemporary art is it? Actually, as conference delegates discovered, there is far more to Swindon than old steam and historic innovation. If Blackpool charmed us with a vision of the past - all fake Spanish castles and glittering ballrooms - then Swindon galvanised us with a view of the future. And that very human vision was confident, energetic, talented and scarily young. nalgao conferences serve several purposes. They are great meeting grounds
The Future Starts Here
Farewell to Flux
was nicely wrapped up – or possibly rapped up, by some more splendid feedback from Swindon’s young people. Thank you Swindon for providing such an exuberant and forward looking focus. It was just what was needed in uncertain times. It’ll soon be time for you to book for the next nalgao conference. Roll on Sunderland. Now where did I put that striped jersey?
Paul Kelly Editor, Arts at the Heart Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Based in the massive new housing estates of North Swindon and now ending after three years, the Flux project has presented many challenges as well as opportunities. Artsmad Director Kirsty Carter, who has just been invited to become a fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts, says the project has succeeded in it’s aims, although the long term effects will be seen in the years to come. “The indications are that the arts programme has especially motivated students who might otherwise have become disengaged with school. Students who did not have a good record of learning before this have been really spurred on, getting enthusiastic, taking responsibility and learning skills. One 12-year-old has used his opportunities with Flux to train to be a theatre technician and is working towards his Arts Award. He has been motivated for the first time. “We’ve brought in a huge range of specialist artists which has meant young people have had expert leadership from professional directors, photographers, editors, journalists, animators, filmmakers, choreographers and many more professional artists.”
In the Community Flux has created new traditions for the new community in the new housing estates of North Swindon. Kirsty says, “We wanted to put soul and life amid the concrete and bulldozers. As the young get involved in creative things this will stop them getting involved in anti social or destructive behaviour.” Along with North Swindon’s first ever Lantern Parade, Flux also held an Under the Sea Festival, and started both events with all-age arts workshops in the local library where passersby could decorate the lanterns and sea creatures. At the Under the Sea Festival one grandfather said, “It’s brilliant to bring the community together.” The state-of-the-art mobile digital media studio the FluxMobile, staffed by professional digital artists, has provided workshops in music recording and film making and seen over 1,000 youngsters take part in some form of digital media. Everywhere the vibrant red airstream bus goes, it has an impact. Shahina Johnson, head of the council’s digital media studio Create, was responsible for delivery on the bus. She explains,
Living our dreams Flux was based in the new Isambard Community School where professional artists led both curriculum-based classes and after-school clubs, such as web design. Flux introduced Arts Blast – a period of weeks when normal lessons were shelved and all curriculum subjects were based around arts activities. During this time artists and teachers delivered classes such as making a horror film, and making a volcano - and seeing it erupt. [Conference study trip were treated to the exploing volcano too. – Ed] One student said, "With Arts Blast everything is so different, it's exciting!" Another added, “It's really exciting because in French we're learning how to make puppets!
“Flux has given us the benefit of letting us live our dreams.” Isambard Community School student Overall, almost 130 artists have led more than 2,800 hours of activities; while a huge state-of-theart mobile digital media studio, the FluxMobile, has seen over 1,000 youngsters take part in some form of digital media. And community projects like the Lantern Parade have attracted people of all ages. Kirsty outlined some of the challenges of
develop an intrinsic value to learning,” and, “The creative ethos in the school … is already having a positive influence across all learning areas.” The legacy of Flux lives on at Isambard, which becomes a Performing and Media Arts college in September 2009.
I jump out of bed because of Arts Blast.” One student commented: “Flux has given us the benefit of letting us live our dreams.” An Ofsted report this year said, “The Arts Blast programme gives students opportunities to develop independence and this is beginning to help them make connections across subjects and
“When young people saw the FluxMobile they were amazed. It made them feel really positive about themselves, and it built their self esteem. And when we worked with them using the digital technology - and they saw the results of their own work – there was been an incredible boost of self confidence.” Kirsty concludes, “Flux has been a huge challenge and we’ve learnt lots of valuable lessons. Thousands of young people in Swindon and beyond have benefitted. It’s been a wonderful opportunity.”
What else from the conference was glued to my brain? Well, T=the endless and valuable breakouts recounted in varying forms of detail later in this report. A new open forum format ably hosted by Mary Schwartz with a devilish feedback form. A splendid, open, interesting and disarmingly honest session run by the DCMS. Marcus Moore our poet in residence’s pithy and pointed reflections. The warm, sensible and homely closing speech from Irene Lucas, Director at the Department for Communities and Local Government too off the cuff, apparently, to be allowed reproduction in this magazine. And it
working with the government, local government, schools, and other partners. “Accounting to so many different stakeholders has been quite a challenge, especially as they all want reports at different times and in different ways. It’s been tricky managing a large group of partners and sometimes short term agendas might be different, but in the long term everyone wants same thing. In handling so many different partners you have be able understand their point of view and what’s driving them, while at the same time keeping the bigger picture in front of mind.” But along with the challenge have been benefits. “The benefit of the council delivering this project was that we already had the contacts in place. And our work with other council departments on Flux has now convinced our colleagues that the arts can be used to solve problems for young people. Our colleagues have been incredibly supportive.”
nalgao Magazine Spring 2010
Over 7,000 people have taken part in a government-funded pilot project to see if arts activities can positively affect young people – and discourage anti-social behaviour. The Flux project, delivered by Swindon Borough Council’s Artsmad team, has worked with local schools and the community to share opportunities in filmmaking, animation, web design, salsa drumming, puppet making, cartoon clubs, community festivals and much more.
ARTS AT THE HEART
conference report nalgao Magazine Spring 2010 ARTS AT THE HEART
efficiency we were treated to three contrasting Dance performances from She Boom, The Youth Dance Academy and Swerve Dance Theatre Company. They reminded us of the community and education service provided by Swindon Dance who, having been in the town almost 30 years, must almost pass for Heritage. There was no mistaking Swindon’s real heritage the following night. The annual civic reception at nalgao’s conferences is getting ever closer to becoming akin to a regional heat for Britain’s Got Talent. Well Swindon certainly has. Having got themselves to the to the town’s magnificent Steam Museum of the Great Western Railway, delegates were taken in groups to a piece of promenade youth theatre called ‘The Dark’. “When they’re young they disturb your sleep. When they’re older they disturb your lives.” Slightly stagey, I know The Dark irritated some. But the combination of site specific socially realist drama and some brilliant youth dancing in front of one of the largest steam engines you’re ever going to see, was thrilling and intriguing. “That was simply amazing!” Swindon Council leader Rod Bluh remarked to the gathered throng later in the evening. And once we were out of the dark we got more quality from Swindon’s Youth Jazz Big Band and a rock group or two plus paper and drawing materials to while the time away. Or to illustrate the civic speeches, or something. The youth theme continued if you went on the study trip to Swindon’s Isambard school, site of the £1.3 million Invest to Save Flux project, of which more elsewhere in this issue. We were greeted by a Choir sweetly singing first Jeff Buckley followed by Take That. The pupils we saw and met seemed brimming with confidence in an enormous school with colour coded corridors. In case you got lost. This was one of four study tours that took delegates in all directions including to Didcot and Bath.
Joy Aldred Flux Communications Officer
workspace Val Millington
Flux - The Aftermath
ARTS AT THE HEART
nalgao Magazine Spring 2010
Flux may formally have finished, but you couldn’t help notice its impact and legacy when visiting the Isambard Community School as part of the October nalgao conference’s study trips. The school is modern and seems massive. The coach load of visiting nalgao delegates were greeted with a school choir performance. A delightful welcome. We then toured theatre spaces, dance spaces, a TV studio and finally the science lab where we saw the exploding volcano simulation. The quality of the premises was impressive, if a little bewildering through its sheer scale. But what was even more impressive was the natural confidence of the pupils who we met and who guided us round. I sensed, even from this relatively short visit, that their engagement with the arts, had enhanced them as individuals. It had given them a view of their potential. It had started them on a voyage of discovery and they wanted more – more discovery and more arts. Senses like this are quite hard to convey. Mere words on the page can seem flat and clichéd. But when you run across it in the flesh, when you speak to young people about what they do, what they like and what they want, the impression you are left with is anything but flat. Three other significant points also emerged during the visit. First, the timescale of the project was relatively short – three years. Inevitably there was a pressure to spend the money. That pressure meant that the project had to be developed relatively quickly and the pace of
development led to some tensions. Secondly, bringing in artists from outside the school to deliver the arts programme, was not always as straightforward as its sounds. Artists and schools often have slightly different ways of working and it can take a while to get collaborations working smoothly. Thirdly, Isambard Community School was built under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI). The school only has occupancy during the day. Some of the requirements that the school sought were omitted from the final specifications and as a result whilst it is a new school, some design details that arts and media activities really need are missing. In addition if you want to use the school space in the evenings, which would benefit community activities, you have to hire the spaces from the PFI company at ‘commercial rates’. This, we were told has had an impact on community strands of cultural activity. But overall, what has been achieved is impressive. Flux, and projects like it, seem to me to be creating a group of young people who are not just going to be the next generation of arts audiences. They are going to be part of the next generation of arts creators. And there can be no greater testament to the people who raised the money, developed and delivered the project than that.
Paul Kelly Editor
Affordability: was agreed as the key issue - the need for affordable creative workspace for practitioners of all kinds. Graduate retention: the number of visual arts graduates leaving college continues to grow and a number of authorities are concerned that there are few opportunities and strategies, including the provision of affordable space, to retain them. Some universities have developed ‘incubator space’ for business start-ups in the creative sector but this does not address the needs of many graduates and emerging artists and provision is not universal. (The University of Derby runs Bank’s Mill Studios for creative graduates; Spike Island in Bristol provides affordable studios, workspace for new designers and hosts the University of the West of England’s fine art studios). Continuing demand: all those present in the two sessions agreed that there continues to be a demand for affordable creative workspace and that this appears to be growing. There are concerns that much creative industries research excludes individual practitioners – they are ‘under the radar’ as they are not within the SIC/SOC employment codes and are not VAT registered. In one area the Regional Development Agency had stated that studios were not needed, but the NFASP’s research and evidence gathered and the regular enquiries arts officers received suggests the opposite to be the case. (East Street Arts in Leeds had a long waiting list when it developed its first affordable studios in 1993. Now ESA is developing its fourth building and the waiting list remains as long).
Need for greater visibility for studios: it was felt important for artists in collective space to have a public face and greater visibility within their locality. This would help arts officers make the case for supporting them. Studios would help themselves more by developing business plans which would enable arts officers to be stronger advocates for them. Place-making agenda: there are real opportunities through the place-making agenda for collective workspace projects to have a role and opportunities to integrate artists’ workspace into new developments. (NFASP can provide case studies of successful examples in London and Sheffield where studio organisations are working with the housing sector and using Section 106 to achieve new affordable workspace). Lack of champions: too often events focused on this issue were ‘preaching to the converted’. There need to be informed and vocal champions, both among the artists in collective studios and at a top level in local authorities, to help make the case. In summary, the key points that the nalgao conference breakout groups agreed on were: • The evident and growing need for affordable creative workspace for practitioners of all kinds • Cultural infrastructure including reference to affordable creative workspace needed to be fed into core LDF (Local Development Framework) strategies and, into the place-making agenda • Local authorities should provide NFASP with good examples, which the Federation and local authority arts officers can then use in their advocacy in order to get the message across strategically and practically.
Val Millington, Director, National Federation of Artists’ Studio Providers www.nfasp.org.uk
Empty shops: a number of arts officers felt under pressure to make creatve use of the empty shops in their towns and cities, but there were difficulties despite Government support for such initiatives. The short-term nature of the space was also an issue. However, some local authorities and arts organisations are developing successful projects. (See 2nd Birthday’s Creative Cabins project in Bournemouth, Margate and Gateshead Council’s Starter for Ten affordable workspace scheme in a former town centre bed showroom).
nalgao Magazine Spring 2010
Lack of suitable property: arts officers expressed concern that in some areas, particularly those where there was an emphaisis on tourism, such as Oxfordshire or York, there are very few buildings available for cultural use and workspace of any kind is simply not a sufficiently high priority.
ARTS AT THE HEART
The arguments for creative industries workspace are clear and relatively wellunderstood and there are many good examples around the country (see the Creative Industries Toolkit as discussed in one of the workshops). What is much more difficult is, making the case within local authorities - planning, property and economic development departments in particular - and among other development agencies, for investing in affordable creative workspace. It is accepted that for many artists and other creative practitioners, their practice and professional careeers do not follow a traditional business growth model with the expectation of increasing turnover and employing staff. The majority of such practitioners will need an affordable workspace for much of their working lives. How can the NFASP support and work with and support local authority arts officers to make the case for investing in affordable creative workspace? This issue formed the basis for discussion at an open space session at nalgao’s October conference. Around 20 people attended the two group sessions, suggesting that this was an important issue for a number of local authorities. In the discussion, considerable consensus emerged around the key need and the principle challenges and opportunities, whilst there were various suggestions for recommended actions, all of which are summarised in the points below.
Tracey Cooper, East Dorset I’ve learnt a lot – an enormous amount – about what the arts development sector means and there’s been an amazing amount of very focussed discussion and a lot of exchange of knowledge about an extremely complex and complicated area. Paul Harman, Theatre for Young Audiences
It’s been great! There have been some very interesting discussions. It’s been a tricky time but a tricky time is always a good time to come together.
Jon Price, Leeds
Swindon’s been a surprise actually. It’s been really good. I didn’t have high expectations and I found some really good things.
Nick Dodds, FEI
It’s been great to take part in discussions and meet other officers dealing with the same sorts of challenges.
Marianne Pape, Poole
It’s great to discuss certain issues that other arts officers are obviously aware of and can help educate you and share experiences in.
Lynne Dick, Bracknell Forest
The discussion groups have all been really positive, with people saying ‘ok, this is a problem, let’s have a discussion about it and sort something out.’
Ann Cullis, Bath
I think Swindon have been absolutely wonderful. They’ve just raised the bar even higher.
Lorna Brown, nalgao Chair
nalgao Magazine Spring 2010
I think people have been in the mood for saying what they can do as opposed to what’s going wrong and what they can’t do.
Emma Knight, Cheshire West & Chester
ARTS AT THE HEART
What Delegates said about the 2009 nalgao conference
conference report nalgao Magazine Spring 2010 ARTS AT THE HEART
Networking, hearing about other people’s projects...what other people have done across the country has been invaluable to me.
It’s been great for us to host it here in Swindon and I’ve just been really excited by the commitment and the range of experience that people have. There have been really good case studies as well. Clarry Bean, Culture Programming Manager, Swindon
1. Identifying how and where participation takes place, eg: • Disseminate examples and case studies • Identify current barriers to participation by target groups
8. Raise the status of leaders and facilitators of participation in the arts, eg: • Consult through the sector training agencies • Develop Local Authority guidelines on salaries and opportunities for CPD • Take advantage of training including ongoing CPD
2. Find ways of increasing and widening participation, eg: • Remove barriers and improving access to support and resources • Publicity and awareness campaigning through conferences, presentations & events.
9. Acknowledge the robustness and stability of the voluntary/amateur arts movement by directly involving it in the development of any subsequent policies, eg: • Convene a standing contact group • Develop an appropriate on-line forum as a point of reference • Include them in local consultations
3. Invest in, and develop, the infrastructure which supports participation, eg: • Create working relationships with other community and health development agencies and networks.
10. Increase and develop the role of participants in setting the agenda, defining the language and being actively involved in the entire process, eg: • Deploy Manifesto supporters to encourage and moderate the use of the on-line forum as a means of developing further the Manifesto and using it as a benchmark.
Robin Simpson, Chief Executive, VAN
5. Bring about a step change in the current support for participation, eg: • Incorporate stated levels of participation at the planning stage or in the terms of reference of community development projects
ARTS AT THE HEART
nalgao Magazine Spring 2010
6. Share best practice and showing that there are many approaches and delivery mechanisms for participation, eg: • Publish leaflets aimed at project planners, and briefings for Manifesto supporters • Develop and sharing information around partnerships and cultural democracy • Contribute to websites such as the I&DeA Community of Practice area
On 7 October I was at the National Association of Local Government Arts Officers (nalgao) Conference in Swindon to launch the ‘Manifesto for Participation in the Arts and Crafts’. The idea of a participation manifesto came from former Voluntary Arts England Co-ordinator, Reemer Bailey. Two years ago Reemer and I were members of a Programme Board advising the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on how to achieve its Public Service Agreement target to increase and widen participation in the arts. It was Reemer who suggested that, rather than just waiting for DCMS and Arts Council England to do something about arts participation, those organisations and individuals who provide opportunities to participate should come together to look at what they could do collectively to encourage more people to participate in the arts. Several of our fellow members of the DCMS Programme Board joined us to form an initial development group for the Participation Manifesto, including NALGAO and the National Disability Arts Forum, and we were soon joined by the National Campaign for the Arts. From the start we were adamant that the Participation Manifesto should be developed by a broad coalition of organisations and should encompass all aspects of arts participation – from amateur groups to local authority initiatives to outreach work by professional arts organisations. Very quickly the concept of a Participation Manifesto proved extremely popular and we
had soon received more than 200 expressions of interest. We started to develop the manifesto content through a series of consultative events and online consultations. DCMS and ACE were very supportive and, in June 2008, we were able to run a major national consultation day at Cecil Sharp House in London which was funded by a Grants for the Arts Lottery award from ACE.
Get more people participating While the idea of a Participation Manifesto was almost universally acclaimed, exactly what was meant by ‘participation’ was hotly contested throughout our consultations. The initial development group was very clear that our purpose was to promote active participation in an artform rather than passive consumption, but a precise universal definition of when somebody stops being an audience member and starts becoming a participant proved quite a challenge. The initial development group continued to steer the development of the manifesto with the group growing to include representatives of the National Culture Forum Leading Learning, Disability Cultural Projects and the Foundation for Community Dance. We could probably have continued to debate the text of the manifesto for at least another two years but the initial development group decided that we should draw a line under the manifesto process in order to move the discussions forward to concentrate on how we
7. Raise the status of amateur/voluntary participation, eg: • Use champions and sponsors • Convene a ‘think-tank’ to consider specific areas • Do an annual round-up of interesting & effective examples of participation
can practically work together to get more people participating. So the manifesto document has now been finalised and published on a new website at: http://www.participationinthearts.net The manifesto enshrines our belief that arts participation should be open to all because we believe practical participation is a fundamental human expression of culture, identity and community and is therefore valuable in itself. It is central to the development of many art forms and crafts. It also produces social, personal and on occasion economic benefits for the participants, their families and the communities in which they live and work. The manifesto is needed precisely because of the dispersed and uncoordinated way in which arts participation happens: most arts participation happens in small, local organisations who do not receive Government funding and cannot easily be mobilised to play into a national ‘participation agenda’ yet, from research and networks, we know they almost all have an interest in increasing and diversifying participation: a manifesto provides a way to pull all these organisations together to work coherently towards a shared goal. The ‘Participation in the Arts’ website is a
forum in which we can continue the discussions about how we best encourage, increase and diversify participation in the arts. I urge you to visit http://www.participationinthearts.net, register and pledge your support for the manifesto and contribute to the debate.
r Four Questions fohi ef Executive, ,C on ps Sim n bi Ro Voluntary Arts Network ce the Participation 1. It’s been 6 months sin What’s happened Manifesto was launched. since then? s and individuals have More than 240 organisation ninthearts.net website joined the www.participatio continue the debate and to support the manifesto ticipation in the arts. about how to increase par initial development The Participation Manifesto to et oversee the website group is continuing to me ference on arts and to plan an annual con er the broad range of eth tog g participation to brin development of the organisations involved in the k loo at how we can work manifesto to continue to ticipation. We hope the par s together to increase art will take place in first of these conferences ails soon. November 2010: more det
Supporters of the Manifesto are asked to: 1. Pledge support for the Manifesto by signing up on its website 2. Share experiences, skills and best practice in participation 3. Work to increase participation through the stated aims and objectives, either as individuals or groups and organisations 4. Develop working relationships, partnerships and networks to increase participation across the widest field of personal and community development.
Access the full Arts Participation Manifesto at: www.participationinthearts.net/
r expectations? 2. Has the launch met you range of types of the and t The level of interes the organisation signing up to et website has been s.n art the nin atio icip art www.p need to do more to we k thin I very encouraging but ate and sharing of encourage the kind of deb pation that we hoped experience about arts partici to create. the manifesto’s 3. How will you measure success? of organisations and By the number and range ting it but also (and more por individuals formally sup of new initiatives and importantly) by the number arts participation that it collaborations to increase helps to develop. ion Manifesto website 4. How can the Participat help people? nces and seek advice on As a place to share experie . In particular, we hope developing arts participation tion between it will encourage collabora organisations.
The Arts Participation Manifesto
nalgao Magazine Spring 2010
4. Develop a strong coalition and a joined-up approach to participation, eg: • Bring the influence of Manifesto supporters to bear on other networks and organisations • Dovetail with other manifestos and initiatives • Promote the Manifesto and its aims
ARTS AT THE HEART
The 10 Point Arts Participation Plan
Then, whoosh, it’s the roundabout of the Breakout sessions. I break out in a haiku sweat - although many of them are later binned – as I dash hither and thither, trying to grasp jargon and concepts I find either scary or beyond comprehension.
I love the traditional haiku structure: seventeen (five, seven, five) syllables, demanding disciplined writing while enabling us to convey a mood, a message or Theatre to Town Hall moment of magic. Besides, here in Swindon, we’ve just launched Words in Unison Just far enough to decide - an online monthly writing challenge - and it was a haiku that I set for October, on Wiltshire rain is wet the National Poetry Day theme of Heroes and Heroines. Working with planners: Sites, frameworks, benchmarks, mapping; Hard hats essential Wednesday. As I alight at the bus station, the first phrases jostle for attention… Is it only me Swindon: railway town Who can never read the words Brunel Mall, Steam Museum; On PowerPoint slides? Isambard’s Kingdom
…followed by some words in response to a physical need thwarted on arrival at the Wyvern: Gents loo not in use Apologies for any In convenience
NI 11… LAA2… RSOs… O… M I N L? Tomorrow’s forum Wear with pride your knotted string How long is a piece?
ARTS AT THE HEART
nalgao Magazine Spring 2010
And in no time at all…
Conference opens Five dancers with plain white sheet Me too. Eek! Must write! Theo plays guitar His song called No Guarantees Artists understand …before it’s time for the ‘virtual keynote presentation’ and a female visage appears on the big screen, with references to ‘Rt Hon’ and ‘MP’ in the caption, though personally I’ve no idea who she is, as I’ve been ignoring politicians for years. Screen’d keynote address: “Sea change” … “spending” … “investment” Virtual virtue Her video meets with polite applause – way short of the enthusiastic cheers given to young Theo. Conference chair Lorna introduces the artists-in-residence. I’ve managed to scribble a gambit with which to warn delegates of my presence:
Prologue Tomorrow being National Poetry Day I’ll be asking for delegates, whatever they say, To speak always in couplets that rhyme And for actors to paint, and for speakers to mime, And for photographers to burst into song, And for speakers to remember not to go on too long, And for arts officers to dance till they drop And for speakers, like me, to know when to.
Gradually, things begin to slow down. I shuffle notes, feel exhausted, chat to as many delegates as I can, and lapse into reflective mood, grateful to Mike, who has explained how naïve I was in thinking a sign saying ‘This Way to the Circus’ would be an example of a performance indicator.
Thursday. National Poetry Day. Much prefer gigs at 10 in the evening to this time in the morning, but manage to declaim some of the Words in Unison contributions, to which I add a few haiku penned by delegates, among them Jon’s: Squeezing syllables This haiku symbolises Coming financial… We sing ‘Happy Birthday’ for Helen, Swindon’s Head of Culture, who has quietly and efficiently built up a strong relationship with the Wyvern, whereby the conference glides smoothly through its repertoire. It’s no surprise she’s a dancer at heart. Today will be documented within an acrostic, which will become the centrepiece of tomorrow’s final poem. Meanwhile, I spot a recurring theme: nalgao’s need for more case studies. This fits in with an Open Forum session I attend, entitled ‘Festival Healthcheck – How are your festivals performing?’
Case Study 1 Or, Arts Assessors’ Report on Study Tour to Contemporary Arts Festival in small Somerset village 1. Pricing Policy – FAILED. Admission charges far too high for Target Audiences. 2. Festival Facilities – FAILED. Recommend urgent discussions with local Environment Agency and Health & Safety Executive.
Two more emerge during the final presentation, given by Irene Lucas, who tells us that she, like me, supports Sunderland football team.
6. Analysis of Feedback and Evaluation Forms – FAILED. None submitted. 7. Performance Indicators, Delivery of Proposed Outcomes, Implementation of Recommended Improvement Strategies – FAILED. See 4 above, re foul and abusive language. 8. Conclusions. The event organisers have repeatedly failed to act upon the professional advice of Arts Consultants, National Planning & Development Institutes and the Forum for the Upselling of Cultural Kinaesthetics. We unanimously insist that Mr Eavis pay close attention to the 666 Initiatives set out in the Appendix to this Report before he considers putting on another Glastonbury Festival. Ann leads the Bath study visit, her commentary on the coach exact and informative. Paparazzi swoop as we enter the egg; shepherds corral us into Komedia; passing shoppers grin; delegates collect countless leaflets. As with the Flux project in Swindon, the teenage voices have the most impact - how participation in youth theatre, urban arts and film projects can change lives, has changed lives. Revitalised by going to Bath and revived by having a bath, I revise that acrostic.
Packs, programme, people; First to arrive, last to leave: Thank you, Pete Bryan Irene speaks to me I sense my own belonging Angel from up North The conference is soon to end. Shahina will pause the slide show behind me when I do the final poem. This first one may unsettle or even enrage some in the audience, but I’m determined to do it anyway:
Ministry of Truth the go on using to support to reach set down in
OFFICERS MISSIONS STRATEGIES AIMS TARGETS BULLETS
• Art Forms or Armed Forces? • Orchestrating Originality or Obeying Orders? • Heeding Orwell or following Big Brother?
Friday. Two perfectly acceptable explanations emerge for the low turn-out at 9.45am in the main auditorium: many delegates are what Dave calls ‘vulnerable’, after Practical Socialising workshops overrunning into the small hours, and the fact Language is my habitat, you see: my raw material. And I believe we are, to an extent, defined by how we choose to use language. Like how we dress. that all that happens in the first quarter of an hour is poetry from me and a third reading of the Fire Regulations. Nevertheless, I deliver… So, I think Arts Officers should set fashions, not follow them. And, therefore, you should resist the cultural hegemony of NewSpeak, the emperor’s new clothes of Case Study 2 gobbledygook. That’s all. It’s 10 to 10 On the 9th of the 10th 2009 With this piece, the conference closes: And in about 10 minutes time The Cheltenham Literature Festival Opens for the 60th time. The Magic Roundabout The day begins with a keynote presentation Efficiently executed, educationally exciting, How the Flux project became a Swindon sensation; Excellent, entertaining events for everyone: Each of the students speaks with confidence and passion It’s that Eeeeeeeasy: Making ‘mad about Arts’ a trendy teenage fashion. Happy punters, happy writers, Happy Birthday, Cheltenham After coffee, the video crews are doing the rounds Groups talk about advocacy, development, initiatives, strategies, …allow the day’s first haiku to run away with itself… partnerships, agendas, templates, issues and many more performance-indicating abstract nouns After two late nights I learn about portfolio holders much more interested in sport, Delegates are ‘vulnerable’; Case studies of good practice, still being sought, An application for support funding will be in the post shortly Realise I’m a failure, because I have no ‘toolkit’ Only pen and scrap-paper – although not cool, it Uses next to nothing in the way of resources …summon up others during the Breakout sessions… Nor do I need to attend any long, dull training courses. Sure Start to the day Don’t forget, dear delegates, what this is really all about: Encouraging risky play Where there’s a willow Art. The heart of what we do. So I urge you all to shout Boldly, loudly, with one strong clear voice, Swindon Dance Breakout: Of your love for the Arts… unless we lose that choice All artists-in-residence Under some future authority that decides not to employ Capture, but don’t do Those who – and I mean you – strive to champion and celebrate the things we all enjoy. It’s the little things We do or don’t do that change Our lives forever Marcus Moore
“Document a creative account of the conference,” Pete told me… and then, bless him, simply let me get on with it.
5. Media Coverage – PASSED. Considerable press and television interest, though mostly focussed on weather conditions and subsequent on-site Mobility Challenges.
Foxies Club & Lounge Where ‘Seeing is Believing’ I am led to believe…
nalgao Magazine Spring 2010
ses his en d n co s, rd o w w fe f o an sam Marcus Moore, not alway nference into a series of joined-up poems co thoughts on the nalgao
4. Artistic Content – FAILED. Disappointingly frequent use of foul and abusive language by on-stage performers.
…the latter taken word-for-word from a catch-phrase which emerged during a Youth Arts programme in Cheshire. And this one to meet a challenge set by Ann:
ARTS AT THE HEART
g n i k a e p S y l l Residentia
3. Artistic Aims – FAILED. Organisers refused to submit Statutory Documentation stating Expected Outcomes.
Bradford Youth Offending Team (YOT) collect data for NI 111, which measures the number of first time entrants to the Youth Justice System, based on different data to that used by the police – even though both organisations need to work together to deliver successful outcomes.
ARTS AT THE HEART
nalgao Magazine Spring 2010
Performance monitoring and inspection costs in Luton and Central Bedfordshire costs over £4 million a year.
There is an irony in writing about a Government initiative that seeks to make local government work better, save money and deliver more personalised services in the run up to the most finely balanced general election in a generation or more. On the one hand the Conservatives would surely approve of steps to make more efficient use of public money. On the other hand the Liberal Democrats ought to welcome initiatives which seek to tailor central programmes to local needs. Given the determined fight for power that is central to all elections, both parties might find it difficult to agree with a Labour-conceived initiative. Yet if there is a hung Parliament, Total Place maybe one of the things the three leading parties can all agree on. It maybe the one that they also all need to constructively address the vexing issue of public debt.
So what is Total Place, why is important and will it be relevant to the arts and culture? Total Place is a whole area approach to public services. An 80 page report on its pathfinder programme was released at the end of March this year. To understand that, you need to know a bit more about the rather tortuous relationship between central and local government. Most people working at junior and middle management levels in local government are service focussed. They understand how their service works and they find ways of responding to requests and directives that will periodically float down to them from higher echelons. They may find such requests and directives a nuisance and wearily respond. I know I did. But it’s likely that few front line service-focussed staff will really understand the reason for such directives or the wider issues. Senior Managers and especially those in chief executive’s departments will probably have a better idea of the central-local government dynamic, of the myriads of issues, initiatives and budget streams. But even they may only see the issue in terms of their own organisation. Only a few will get the full picture of total public service provision in their area, provision that includes the police, the health service and the criminal justice system - even bigger consumers of public money than local government. Even if they do understand this, they may not be able to see it in national terms.
The 80 page Total Place report is eye opening. It takes the lid off the public service delivery can and exposes the contents. It might also be the thing that saves local government from the worst ravages of public service cuts. For Total Place is a philosophy about delivery and it is also about to start delivering change, just when the public services need it most – if that is, the politicians allow it to work. Total Place has, to date been a series of pilot pathfinder projects (see panels opposite) involving 63 local authorities, 34 Primary Care Trusts, 12 fire bodies, 13 police authorities and a wide range of third sector organisations and service delivery bodies. All of these have operational procedures and budgets funded from the public purse. Many of these have ended up providing similar or overlapping services often to the same members of the public, who inevitably have become confused, periodically disheartened and sometimes plain angry at being moved from one body to another and sometimes treated in entirely different ways. All of these bodies have to meet performance targets, all are periodically inspected. This costs money. Their operating and procurement procedures can be different. The Total Place report suggests a picture of independent services incrementally developed over the years each with their own practices, procedures, hierarchies, each operating differently, whilst overlapping and very often serving the same people to different quality standards which are then independently assessed against different criteria. As a result the service to the public is inconsistent and the cost higher than it should be. It doesn’t sound credible does it? Yet that is the system that local government arts officers
With the statutory service providing so many duplicated services, is it surprising that nonstatutory services are scrambling for comparative crumbs? The scale of Total Place’s pilot study is impressive. The 13 pilots have mapped £82 billion of public spending within their areas; that’s around 20% of total public spending in England. The estimated total amount of spend varies from £2.2 billion in Lewisham to £22 billion in the Manchester city-region pilot. The study has found that social security, education and health together make up over 70% of total spend in each of the pilot areas. What central government has sought to do over the last 13 years is essentially use local government to deliver its programmes through a mix of central directives and ring fenced funding tied to specific schemes. So if you have found your arts budget shrinking, part of the reason may have been that your local authority’s level of discretionary spend has gradually been choked by a rising tide of ring fenced statutory directives. This has also resulted in a plethora of initiatives piled up on each other and, from the evidence above, a good deal of duplication. Whether your bedtime reading is ‘After The Downturn’ - the Solace report on managing a significant and sustained adjustment in public sector funding or the Institute of Fiscal Studies’ recent report on public sector finances, it’s absolutely clear that the public sector is facing significant cuts. So, almost too late in the day, the Government has realised that it needs to change its relationship with local government and find a better way of working.
Providing strong local, collective and focused leadership Which supports joined up working and shared solutions to problems with citizens at the heart of service design Giving greater freedoms and flexibilities To support a new relationship between government and places. This will free up successful authorities and move government attention to underperforming ones. According to the Total Place report, savings will come from: • Frontline services – through redesigning processes around citizens; • Back office and support functions • Shared management and joint working arrangements • Reduced costs to society from better outcomes; and • Redesigning services with the local community. So what are the implications and benefits for the arts? nalgao has emailed arts officers in the 13 Total Place pathfinders to see if they are aware of the process and whether the arts or cultural services have been involved in discussions at all. We will report the findings in the next issue of Arts at the Heart. But on the face of it Total Place seems to offer local authority arts xx opportunities. First, if statutory services can operate more efficiently, then there just could be slightly less financial pressure on non-statutory services. But we think there is a bigger opportunity as well. In a number of ways, Total Place seems to be the other side of
Paul Kelly Editor More on Total Place can be found at www.localleadership.gov.uk/totalplace/ The Total Place report can be downloaded at: www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/ total_place_report.pdf
We had hoped in this issue to bring you a transcript of Irene Lucas’s closing speech to the nalgao conference. However for technical reasons we are unable to do so. In her speech, Irene repeatedly talked about ‘Total Place’ as a model for the future local service delivery. Instead of her speech we bring you a briefing report on the Total Place initiative. Paul Kelly, Editor
There are over 120 projects or programmes providing support for workless and unemployed people in Lewisham, delivered by over 50 providers via 15 funding streams.
Putting the citizen at the heart of service design Using this to break down the organisational and service silos which cause confusion to citizens, create wasteful burdens of data collection and management on the frontline and which contribute to poor alignment of services
the Strategic Commissioning coin. Could the arts offer a means of more effective service delivery? Some of the Total Place message is about eliminating bureaucratic duplication and working across service boundaries. But the other side is designing imaginative programmes that are citizen focussed. Anyone who has run an effective community consultation programme or a successful community arts project will understand the principles. Many local authority arts officers have the knowledge, understanding, contacts and toolkit to play a valuable role in re-shaping services to ensure that they talk to and engage with the people they serve. In her speech to the nalgao conference, Irene Lucas said, “I truly believe that of all of the initiatives that are running in this country at the moment will be rolled into a total place initiative looking at the degree to which we all contribute to better outcomes in localities.” And she went on to say, “The way that I see it is that life in any towns and villages or cities in this tiny nation of ours is like a tapestry. And it’s woven with many things; education, social care, the environment, parks. But also, the things which help people to feel fulfilled; the things which encourage people to lead happy and prosperous lives in their locality. And total place is a really, fundamentally different approach around the way that we do things, moving out of silos and into contribution to cross-cutting themes.” Well, the concept is not new to many nalgao members. What is interesting and makes it different this time is that the size of the public sector debt, largely caused by bailing out the banks, means that something has to change. Maybe, just maybe arts services can be the agents of change, rather than its victim. But for that to happen, I suggest you need to read, own and champion Total Place. Politicians may change the packaging, but the principles are here to stay.
nalgao Magazine Spring 2010
- Re-modelling local service delivery
Leicester and Leicestershire have identified almost 450 face-to-face service points (employing 350 full time equivalents), 65 separate call centres (employing 470 full time equivalents), at a combined cost of £15 million per annum; plus 75 separate websites providing customer services (a further cost of £1.5 million).
The principles behind Total Place are:
ARTS AT THE HEART
work within and are part of. A few examples illustrate some of the problems well.
Lowry Goes Walkabout The arts and community regeneration in Salford Steven Crocker, Shirley Lumsgren, Jo Hargreaves Walkabout Facts and Figures: A major impact has been the extent to which the project has delivered and importantly, been evidenced as having delivered, against the seven key themes of Salford’s Sustainable Communities Strategy. Almost 1 in 5 of the population in the first residency, Little Hulton, participated. Of these: • 34% said it improved their quality of life • 56% said it made them feel safer in their local area • 67% said it improved their mental health and well-being • 71% said it helped them develop skills which would be useful in future jobs • 76% are more interested in doing creative activities • 81% said participation made them feel part of their local community • 93% said it created better understanding between young and old.
What Salford Residents Thought: “It was glorious to see The Lowry being what it should be – belonging to everyone!” Eccles, Winton & Barton participant
“The residents of Little Hulton have grown together … and have done a lot of hard work for people to get along together and for the community of Little Hulton because the community spirit in Little Hulton is now magnificent” Resident’s Association member
From Salford City Council’s perspective, Walkabout has had a significant impact. Culturally, at a strategic level, it has benefited the approach to arts development, improved partnership working and increased funding. At an operational level, the City Council feel they now have a much improved relationship with The Lowry, meeting more regularly, sharing contacts, information, models of working and even undertaking joint funding bids. The approach to funding and facilitating arts engagement is becoming more joined up …the City Council and The Lowry has since made joint funding applications and are now meeting regularly with partner agencies to improve the strategic overview of arts engagement in the City.
Holistic Evaluation For The Lowry, Walkabout has demonstrated the strategic role the organisation can play across a broad spectrum of cultural, social and economic agendas. The Lowry has engaged the organisation more deeply with its local communities and perceptions of The Lowry have improved. Whilst Walkabout was not in any way designed as an audience development tool,
this has been a happy bi-product. In response to perceptions of local people that prices at The Lowry were too expensive, The Lowry set up the “Our Lowry” initiative which now has over 3,200 members of whom 39% had never previously attended and to whom 3,113 free or discounted tickets have now been given. Internally, Walkabout has inspired The Lowry to develop new models of community and education working and helped re-define the organisational mission for the next ten years. Importantly, it was only by undertaking a holistic and meaningful evaluation, in a creative way, that it was possible to capture the range, extent and depth of these impacts in a way that met the needs of the full range of stakeholders. Undertaken by Morris Hargreaves McIntyre, the evaluation engaged individual participants and attendees, steering group members and partners on an equal basis. Using a synthesis of quantitative and qualitative methods; audits, surveys, workshops, group discussions, visual sociology and media analysis, the resulting bricolage produced powerful evidence, both qualitative and quantitative of the contribution to the range of outcomes described above. For Salford City Council, this evidence has
left a legacy of improved relationships between The Lowry, the City Council and local residents. City Council staff and residents that have been cynical about using the arts to engage people can see evidence based results. The Lowry has not always been seen as a fully accessible organisation, but this project has built on its success story as a flagship of cultural regeneration and made it more relevant and useful to local communities. For The Lowry, the evaluation has provided evidence that has been used to unlock a further £850,000 in funding for education and community projects.
Stephen Crocker Development Director, The Lowry Email: Stephen.email@example.com Shirley Lundstram Arts and Cultural Development Manager, Salford City Council Email: Shirley.firstname.lastname@example.org Jo Hargreaves Director, Morris Hargreaves McIntyre Email: email@example.com
chose their own objectives, the artforms through which these would be delivered and the partners they would work with. Unsurprisingly, most of the objectives matched with key aims in the City’s Community Plan, including improving the image of the area, reducing crime and antisocial behaviour and helping regenerate the area. Another key objective was, of course, to have fun. And fun it was. Each Walkabout Belly Dancing programme runs for 18 months – an extended The mission for the project was the only aspect timescale for any community arts project. that was determined at the outset. For The Through the three residencies complete, a total Lowry, this was: of 6,635 people have attended or participated “To develop a perception of The Lowry as in 425 sessions or events ranging from tea relevant and accessible to the people of Salford dances to BMX, graffiti-art to belly-dancing. and a key asset in the social and cultural Partnership steering groups were formed which regeneration of Salford’s most disadvantaged included local residents’ associations, communities.” Neighbourhood Managers, community groups, Apart from this, the agenda and its delivery creative organisations, the Primary Care Trust were wide open. Walkabout has worked in and the local Police, as well as The Lowry and three of the most deprived areas of the city: Salford City Council. Walkabout has been truly Little Hulton, Ordsall & Langworthy and Eccles, community-led with more than 50 Winton and Barton. The Lowry immersed itself organisations involved in the project ranging in these areas, getting to know the local from right across the community including communities Yemeni Community Association, Westwood and helping them articulate what they wanted Bingo and Butty Club, Salford Lads Club and and how it could be achieved. Walkabout was Tindall Street Allotments as well as numerous truly non-prescriptive, the local communities youth organisations, churches and pubs. This issue is clearly not unique to The Lowry – it will be recognised by many arts organisations. The Lowry’s response however was, we think, both brave and inspired. The organisation developed Walkabout – a project to work with local people that was truly community-led, partnership-driven and nonprescriptive. Great buzz-words, but what did they mean in practice?
nalgao Magazine Spring 2010
The Lowry opened in 2000 as a flagship Millennium project for the arts in the regenerated dockside area of Salford Quays. With three theatres, the largest public collection of the work of son of Salford, LS Lowry and significant studio and education spaces, The Lowry is a major presence in Salford. A stunning, luminous quayside building, The Lowry attracts 1 million visits a year and achieves a turnover of £13m, with 15% of this coming from public subsidy. So far so good… but The Lowry felt that it was not engaging in the way that it wanted to with local communities and that Salford City Council did not perceive it as a significant contributor to the local authority’s or wider partnership agendas. Something clearly needed to be done. So, The Lowry did two things to address this. The organisation consulted with local Salford communities to explore what was stopping them engaging with The Lowry. Limited public transport and perceptions of high prices were quickly established as direct physical barriers. The most fundamental and challenging barrier however, was psychological – a perception that The Lowry was not aimed at or welcoming to local people.
ARTS AT THE HEART
ARTS AT THE HEART
nalgao Magazine Spring 2010
The Jurassic Coast Arts Project Paul Kelly
happy. Even more so when bits of the coast collapse exposing more of our past, as it were. Sorry, was. The subsiding, tilting, faulting and eroding of the rocks along this 95 miles of coastline has created the present landscape and therefore a walk along the coast is a walk through time. Which makes scientists unbearably happy. World Heritage status has given Dorset and East Devon an unprecedented opportunity which has led to a locally derived vision for the Jurassic Coast that aims to both celebrate and safeguard it for future generations in the best possible condition. They also want it to become a vibrant strand of the life of Dorset and East Devon, benefiting local people, visitors and the environment throughout the area. Examining and explaining the story of the Jurassic Coast may make great and fascinating science but it may not do an awful lot for engaging with people or with relating to the current communities in its vicinity, or indeed in the coagulation of those words; community engagement. This is where the arts have a role to play. Before detailing the Jurassic Coast arts programme, Daisy presented some interesting thoughts on the contrast between the respective characteristics and processes of scientists and artists, beginning with a quote from the author CS Lewis;
landscape. And she cited Arts Council England’s publication, ‘Natural Partners’, which says: “…Artists create both physical landmarks that help us to identify where we are, and emotional landmarks, stories, films, plays and songs that help us to define and explore our relationship with the landscape. They help us to access, enjoy and, therefore, care about the land.”
“Science can lead to the truth, but only imagination can show meaning.”
Scientists, suggested Daisy, are involved with innovation and curiosity, defining questions and creating the “box”, searching for fact and communicating to specialists. Artists are also involved with innovation and curiosity. But in contrast to scientists artists like opening out questions. Artists think outside of the “box”, search for the meaning in facts and try and communicate this to all rather than just to fellow specialists. So, if you accept these generalisations, then there is a clear role for artists and an arts programme as part of a science led exploration of something like the Jurassic Coast. Daisy also talked about the issues and interests relating to communities, and specifically those living in the vicinity of the Jurassic Coast. Communities she noted can be defined by locality, interest and demographics. These definitions enabled the Jurassic Coast team to define a brief setting out the role of an arts programme. To achieve its purpose, an arts programme had to be rooted in the local community and of international significance. And so the arts programme seeks to use high quality arts experiences to encourage residents and visitors of all ages to visit and experience the Jurassic Coast for themselves and to understand it more profoundly. She also noted that the bond between artists and those who manage the land is a historic one. What binds them is their appreciation of particular places and landscapes. Daisy then took us through some of the projects that had been developed to do just this; to bind create more profound appreciation of the Jurassic Coast and to bind artistic and public appreciation of the
Universal Value 2008 PVA MediaLab commission
Amanda Wallwork and Jeremy Gardiner: Mapping the Jurassic Coast.
Shapeshift project at Durlston
Universal Value 2008
Artist: Charlie Morrissey.
Dorset County Museum, May/ June 2009. Artist: Jeremy Gardiner
Artist: Abigail Reynolds. Scientist: Samantha Gibbs.
Photograph: Pete Millson.
The Jurassic Coast Arts Programme, she explained, is seeking to, • Provide creative opportunities for artists inspired by the Jurassic Coast • Enrich the delivery of Interpretation • Create artistic links with other parts of the world • Develop opportunities for artists to work with scientists • Involve communities in celebration and ownership • Engage under-represented groups and communities • Build capacity in the East Devon and Dorset arts infrastructure and • Contribute to sustainable economic development Daisy Sutcliffe then talked about the artistic projects that had emerged from the principles, some of which are pictured here. She also talked of her hopes for the Jurassic Coast’s bid to the Arts Council’s ‘Artists Taking the Lead’ programme for the Cultural Olympiad [the Jurassic Coast bid was sadly unsuccessful – Ed]. Daisy’s inspiring breakout session showed that The Jurassic Coast arts project seems to be successfully marrying the interests of arts and science and creating a means of public access and engagement. Let’s hope it lasts as long as the coastline has.
nalgao Magazine Spring 2010 ARTS AT THE HEART
ARTS AT THE HEART
Art and science have never been especially close bedfellows. This is a little odd as the arts have relied on a succession of scientific breakthroughs from the invention of spectacles (they helped Giotto, they did) to the invention of Digital technology. And presumably there are more scientific inventions to come that will benefit and shape the arts. Daisy Sutcliff’s breakout session on the Jurassic Coast Arts Programme at the nalgao conference neatly turned the art-science relationship on its head. The Jurassic Coast in case you hadn’t heard, is one of the natural wonders of the world and a World Heritage site. This means it has ‘outstanding universal value’ for its importance to science and therefore The Jurassic Coast is regarded as the heritage of all mankind. And it’s in Britain. In Dorset actually. To understand the significance of this stretch of coast and how the arts have got involved, we need to go back in time a little. The world, as Daisy told us, is 4.6 billion years old. ‘Complex animals’ only evolved about 600 million years ago (and rather more complex animals like human beings, rather more recently). Now you might think all this history is lost to us (except the rather more complex human beings), but this is where the Jurassic Coast rides to the rescue, and makes scientists unbearably happy. You see, in its rock formations, the Dorset and East Devon Coast contains nearly one third of the record of the Earth’s life from the start of the Triassic period, about 250 million years ago, to the Cretaceous period, about 65 million years ago. That’s 185 million years of Earth History represented in 95 miles of coast. And it’s superbly exposed and accessible. Nowhere else on Earth has a piece of coast with such history and accessibility like this. Which makes scientists even more unbearably
nalgao Magazine Spring 2010
Artist: Sian Bonnell Courtesy of Bridport Arts Centre
ARTS AT THE HEART
Caroline Wright, an artist working in performance and visual art, talked about the benefits of a collaborative approach within an arts project and what structures and resources can support effective working relationships. She discussed how artists can be supported at all career stages, through professional development and appropriate and current advice and whether artists have a role to play in supporting the Local Authority arts officer in their professional work. Artists and arts officers needed, she said, to understand each other’s needs in order to function effectively, productively and professionally. This they could do if there was a current and trusted knowledge base. Caroline cited AIR: Artists’ Representation and Interpretation, a-n The Artists Information Company, AXIS and Artquest as having a role to play in contributing to this knowledge base. She then examined the missions and offers of some oif these in more detail before taking questions from the audience.
Contact details: Jon Price - firstname.lastname@example.org Dr. Stephanie Hall email@example.com
Contact: Nick Dodds Tel: 01273 549710 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.feiuk.com/
Email: email@example.com www.carolinewright.com
Find Your Talent
Arts Officers Continual Professional Development
• Providing those people who are shaping communities with information, advice and support on the use of culture and sport to create better places.
Mike Faulkner brought delegates up to date on the work that he and Viv Tyler had been commissioned to do on Continual Professional Development. They had:
• Aligning investment from the sporting and cultural sector with sustainable communities funding across organisational boundaries so it works harder for people.
• Interviewed virtually all nalgao Trustees • Reviewed of alternative/comparable membership structures (ILAM, CIM, MLA, AMA) • Done initial research into external Certification and Accreditation possibilities for nalgao members • Attended at three nalgao regional meetings • Done an in-depth review of the website and ezine products with members • Researched into wider CPD issues within local authorities
• Empowering communities to make culture and sporting activity and infrastructure a part of their lives.
These activities, they explained, had yielded significant information about how nalgao is perceived by its members, how its services and products perform and what members expect and need from them in the future. Their research, they said, had identified some short–term changes (within 6 months to 1 year) that will enable nalgao to move forward in its development and some longer term (3 years +) issues that require further debate and careful planning. Membership and CPD, they said, are inextricably linked in shaping an effective future for nalgao. Their conclusions were heading towards a recommendation that nalgao re-positions itself as a professional Association for local government arts officers, with similar overall membership goals, structures and services to MLA, the Arts Marketing Association and Chartered Institute of Management. It will orient nalgao more firmly around individual membership, rather than Local Authority membership as at present. These proposals would be taken to the nalgao Trustees for consideration in the near future.
Local Authority arts officers could help the process, said Paul by making the case for culture and sport, identifying what works (and what doesn’t!), giving advice and guidance on design, funding, involving communities, helping forge partnerships, improving and using existing services and infrastructure and working with the planning process and using the Culture and Sport Planning Toolkit. Paul gave more details of each and concluded by saying that delivering Living Places involved a Five Stage process that required: • Leadership • Visioning • Need and provision assessment • Delivery - including costs and maintenance • Monitoring and review He pointed to some useful MLA benchmarking documents including Public libraries archives and new development (2008) and Arts and museums and new development (2009). He suggested that the co-location of facilities offered great opportunities, but there were pros and cons involved here and he looked at a couple of specific examples. Living Places, said Paul Bristow, shares your ambitions for eco-towns and we wants to work with Local Authority arts officers. What, he asked delegates, do you think of our offer? Would it help arts officers and what, if anything, he asked, is missing?
Dr. Stephanie Hall, National Programme Manager for Find Your Talent and Jon Price, Leeds’ Find Your Talent (FYT) Programme Manager outlined what this scheme is seeking to achieve and how it is being implemented in Leeds. There are 10 FYT pathfinder areas in England in Newcastle, Leeds, Bolton, Liverpool, Leicester and Leicestershire, Telford & Wrekin, Tower Hamlets, Shepway, the Urban South Hampshire partnership (PUSH) and North Somerset. John Price talked about the Leeds experience and showed delegates the online information, BreezeLeeds and offers that the Leeds FYT had developed.
There has been a substantial growth in Festivals in the last decade. Councils may not directly run or financially support many of them. But they play an intimate role in their existence and success through the Licensing system and licensing responsibilities. Nick Dodds of Festivals and Events International explored the current situation. There were a range of issues, he said, to be considered if Festivals were to be sustainable. Do we have the necessary data about festivals and a mechanism to collect it? How do we evaluate them? What is their scope? Is our perception of Festivals changing? Given the number of emerging rock and pop festivals, do local authorities (LAs) need to understand how to work more closely with the private sector? Should LAs be ‘keeping it local’ or seeking to ‘raise the game’. How does one invest in festival development in the current economic climate? These questions sparked some lively debate from the delegates. Nick wondered whether we were moving to an outcome-driven commissioning process and what the impact of this would be? If this was the trend then he suggested that a toolkit was needed to enable creative people to deliver local authority outcomes. He also flagged up several other issues that needed consideration including, whether ‘endless growth’ was possible and whether police charging for their presence would have a major impact on festival viability.
Festivals Health Check
What do young people have to enjoy on a (wet) Friday Night in Market Rasen? In the past there weren’t many choices. Claire White, Arts Development Officer, for West Lindsey District Council in Lincolnshire, told delegates how the Friday Night Project arose which changed things for the better. The project arose as a result of an arts day in Market Rasen, Lincolnshire in 2006. The aim was attract older adults and young people to come together for one event day and express their views about the Town. The day revealed serious tensions and the young people expressed frustration about the lack of facilities and activities. As a result of young people speaking directly to local councillors £5,000 was made available and the Friday Night Project (TFNP) was created. What young people said they really wanted was music as well as sports and other arts activities. So in Summer 2008 a new project was born starting with 10 weeks of music and arts activity. It was so successful that this quickly grew to a 30 week programme. This programme involved offering film making and music activities, over 35 young people (many of them NEETS – not in employment, education of training) who signed up for rock, pop, DJ- ing and film making sessions. A street based documentary film was produced, explained Claire, and highlighted some of the key issues for young people. Claire showed delegates the film which explored what other people thought about the young people of Market Rasen and how the young people felt they were viewed. The young people were asked why they were hanging around on the streets? “Because there’s nothing to do” they unanimously replied. So, explained Claire, we then asked “what would you like to do?” What, it transpired young people wanted was somewhere to go that was warm – where they wouldn’t get abuse and where they could feel safe, plus activities already outlined. So, the Friday Night Project was born which had a limited amount of funding. Further funding was then secured through a a community safety partnership grant. The next phase, said Claire involves looking at sport as well as arts activity, looking at a youth council and looking at a youth café space. Claire then outlined some issues that the project had created including staff turnover, sustaining interest and participants, getting the group constituted so that young people could themselves apply for funding and keeping all the partners involved such as police, town council and the young people themselves.
nalgao Magazine Spring 2010
nalgao Magazine Spring 2010
Breakout and Open Forum sessions at the conference included:
The Friday Night Project
Why Living Places? asked Paul Bristow, Senior Policy Adviser: Local Government and Communities, MLA. Because, he and Thomas Bolton from CABE explained, they put culture at the heart of the vision of a sustainable community, ensure infrastructure needs met in new and regenerating communities and help us learn from the past. The recession, he said, means we need culture even more than we did. People don’t live in silos, and neither should our work. Living Places he told delegates is a partnership between Arts Council England, CABE, the MLA, the DCMS, Communities and Local Government (CLG), the Homes and Communities Agency, English Heritage and Sport England. Its mission is to ensure that culture in its widest sense plays a full role in the growth and renewal of villages, towns and cities across the country and contributes to the creation of sustainable and successful communities. It achieves this through:
ARTS AT THE HEART
Conference Round Up
As it changes external impressions, Nottingham Contemporary will attract more cultural visitors to the city, bringing additional spend from cultural tourism. Its construction and staffing structure (already a 20 strong team is employed) have provided local employment opportunities. There is also potential income to be raised through the business sector as a prestige location for conferences, entertaining clients, etc. It is also hoped that Nottingham Contemporary will act as a creative magnet and help retain key creative individuals in Nottingham – the most important prerequisite for sustained city regeneration, according to research by Professor Michael Parkinson, amongst others. The new building with be in an attractive hub of considerable creative endeavour, a point of contact for an economic cluster of Nottingham’s new cultural industries. This will particularly promote the employment of arts graduates, who have either studied in or returned to Nottingham, and at present are often forced to seek jobs elsewhere, a recognised weakness. In addition, this new jewel in the city’s crown has a big role to play in social regeneration and education especially in a city with a serious socio-economic divide. Faced with low educational
achievement with low aspirations reinforced by social exclusion, Nottingham’s new art institution will have an inclusive approach by maximising an education outreach programme helping to reconnect city communities to cultural opportunities. Promoting life skills and ambition will help to foster successful further and higher education and rewarding employment.
A Bigger Splash Nottingham Contemporary can not only help Nottingham’s ambitions of European profile, but it is intended to act as a role model for university students in the city and beyond helping to enhance graduate retention. The gallery has a huge remit to fulfil, but the skills and expertise of its curators and staff give it and the city the means to achieve a wide range of impacts. The Gallery’s dynamic and ambitious programme opened with a major exhibition of over 60 works by David Hockney from national and international collections, which re-examined this much-loved artist’s work from 1960-1968, his early years in London and Los Angeles in the context of art today. This was the first time that Hockney’s early work - finishing with the iconic Californian painting A Bigger Splash has been brought together since the Whitechapel retrospective of 1970, nearly 40 years ago. ‘A Bigger Splash’ by David Hockney The exhibition was curated by Nottingham Contemporary Director, Alex Farquharson. He is known for his adventurous and creative approach. He has cocurated British Art Show 6 which attracted 350,000 visitors to four cities and curated “If Everyone Had An Ocean”, an exhibition inspired by Beach Boy Brian Wilson, one of the most popular exhibitions ever at Tate St Ives. Nottingham Contemporary is one of the most interesting and exciting new spaces for art in the UK, one set to stand alongside Middlesborough’s Institute of Modern Art and the Baltic in terms of scale and aspiration. The role of the gallery will be to fulfill many aspirations by bringing a city together as part of a cultural renaissance. British Art Show 7 will open in Nottingham and with circa 80 thousand visitors to date tripping in since its opening we can only – watch this space.
awareness of mental health wellbeing and aims to help remove the stigma and discrimination attached to society’s perceptions of mental health. This is a project fast becoming one of excellence and aims to become the key delivery agent for this area of work under health, social care and well-being remit.
Carnival arts Other exciting projects include the Caerphilly County Youth Theatre which is housed in Blackwood Miners’ Institute and provides young people aged 14-19 years with an opportunity to develop their skills in whole range of performance styles for stage and screen. The oversubscribed group has a dedicated Artistic Director Tony Gallagher and regularly has the opportunity to work with a whole host of other professional artists and practitioners. These range from internationally renowned dancer/ choreographer and director Sean Tuan John to TV/film and stage fight co-ordinator Kevin McCurdy. The skills learnt during the workshops are directly fed into various performances both scripted and devised and performed at Caerphilly’s professional theatre venue Blackwood Miners’ Institute and at various events around the County. The Youth Theatre members are also keen to deliver important messages to the younger generations and each year they perform their devised and award winning drug and alcohol awareness play ‘Wings to Fly’ to over 2000 year 6 pupils from around the county. Add into the mix the vibrant and developing carnival arts programme, which includes the Caerphilly School of Samba Drumming and Dance which can be seen performing at various events around the county including Caerphilly’s annual event the Big Cheese which attracts over 70,000 visitors and an array of visual arts
workshops in mask, costume and puppet making. You’ll soon see that valleys are far from being sombre places longing for the past, a more apt description might be, a thriving world of creativity and innovation with the South East Valleys in 2008 comprising of 10,782 events with 532,551 attendees – not bad for the valleys, eh!? But let us not forget that arts development is not just about bums of seats and participant numbers. It’s about developing art forms, taking risks and being innovative. So Caerphilly’s arts development team is also mindful of the needs of not only the residents but perhaps more importantly the artists who are working with them and who are trying to forge a career in their chosen practice. With this in mind the team provided its first artists training residency in 2009, which worked with 15 artists from a range of practices to develop their confidence, knowledge and ability in using their arts practice in a community context. The residency received great feedback and has resulted in the Valleys region gaining a pool of artists willing and capable of delivering at an excellent standard and in 2010 this programme will begin to be rolled out across the region - so watch this space.
Joanna Smith Arts Development Manager, Caerphilly Borough Council Email: firstname.lastname@example.org If you would like to know more about any of the projects outlined above then please feel free to contact Joanna Smith – contact details above.
Last November Nottingham Contemporary, a stunning new gallery space for Nottingham, opened its doors to its public, with a host of people coming from near and far to celebrate its landing on the British cultural map with the largest collection ever put together of David Hockney’s early work. The building has long been awaited by the cultural community, the city of Nottingham and all the people that have played a part in its development and conception. The gallery has many roles to play. It is viewed as an outstanding building on a historic city centre site, embedded in the fabric of Nottingham. It connects the cherished Lace Market to the remodelled southern side of Nottingham’s city centre - a key part of the vision of a city with European ambitions. It has been designed by innovative architects, Caruso St John, with a national and international reputation to give a vital cultural presence in a multimillion pound re-modelling of an English core city. Any new cultural build that adds weight to a city’s cultural and physical regeneration programme is a welcome addition to a place with ambitions especially in the Caption needed current economic climate. It is hoped that Nottingham Contemporary will make a major contribution to Nottingham’s economic regeneration through commitment to excellence. With its national and international profile the new building will help to counteract the perceived negative impact of Nottingham as a “crime city” - a reputation that some stakeholders believe is adversely affecting the economy, inhibiting inward investment and university applications.
You might think of the Welsh Valleys as a beautiful but sombre place, where once the coal industry thrived and now Collieries stand still whilst the valley communities grieve for the bygone days. Well yes, you’re right, the Valleys are a beautiful place and the stillness of the Colliery Wheels do provide a somewhat haunting memory of what was once at the heart of the Welsh industry and its communities, but if you take the time to look further in and visit the Miners’ Institutes, Workmen’s Halls, community centres and parks, you’ll find a very different scene! In Caerphilly the Council’s Arts Development Team is working hard to dispel the myth and develop new and exciting ways for the once thriving mining communities, to use and develop their diverse range of skills in the creative arts to become key players in the prosperous Creative Arts Industry that is fast developing within Wales. Of course all of this cannot be done independently and partners helping to develop these projects include Social Services, Youth Service, Schools, Communities First Partnerships and many more. Their understanding of the intrinsic value of the arts as a tool for community and individual development is essential in order for delivery of high quality, inclusive and accessible arts programmes and their commitment and involvement in the development of the Council’s new Arts Strategy aims to be a testament to this. The Arts Development programme of work includes the Inside Out, Mental Health and Arts Project which provides adults at risk of or currently suffering from mental health issues with workshops and projects across the whole range of art forms and provides a platform for sharing and exhibiting participant work as and when they feel confident enough to do so. The showcasing opportunity not only encourages the participants in their personal development mentally, socially and creatively, but also raises
nalgao Magazine Spring 2010
ARTS AT THE HEART
case studies ARTS AT THE HEART Spring 2010
Nottingham Contemporary Creative Magnet
Sharon Scaniglia Principal Arts Officer, Nottingham City Council Tel: 0115 915 8604 Email: email@example.com For Nottingham contemporary’s forthcoming programme visit: www.nottinghamcontemporary.org
Three innovative and eye-catching shelters,known as the Hertsmere Community Spaces, have been designed specifically for three very different green spaces in Hertsmere and were installed last autumn in Phillimore Recreation Ground in Radlett, Furzefield in Potters Bar, and The Moatfield in Bushey.
that need to be considered when developing multiple-user facilities with a limited budget to reach imaginative and viable design results.
Anti-social behaviour The project name Hertsmere Community Spaces reflects the communal purpose of these unique structures, as opposed to ‘off-the-shelf’ standard shelters that have no design connection to the site and can quickly become misused or underused. A major concern voiced by some residents was that the shelters would increase anti-social behaviour in the area, by providing young people with somewhere to congregate. To
respond quickly to these reactions, GHP had in place an interdisciplinary team of officers from Hertsmere Borough Council’s Parks, Health and Safety, Planning and Culture Departments, Aldenham Parish Council and especially the Police including both the Antisocial Behaviour Caseworker from Hertsmere Community Safety Unit and a range of Police Community Support Officers from each area. This project team was established at the outset and ensured that all aspects of the shelters’ usage and impact on the community were fully considered before reaching the final design stage, as well as generating ownership by the different departments responsible for the shelters’ maintenance and legacy. Working in tandem with the interdisciplinary project team, the Hertsmere Community Spaces project developed a vibrant marketing campaign with an independent website, postcards, posters and stickers distributed around the three sites. These advertised the project and three engagement activities over the summer that invited local people to discuss their ideas with the designers and officers from the council. Draft designs were then presented to the public and a series of public meetings were held at each site
Creative and integrated Each shelter has been constructed using materials that are hardwearing and sympathetic to the natural landscape, creating warm and welcoming spaces that people will want to use. The inclusive nature of these three attractive structures aims to serve the whole community and create intergenerational spaces, and therefore reduce the risk of mis-use and vandalism. The expectation is that these unique and exciting structures will become showcases for other local authorities wanting to employ their resources for young people’s spaces in a creative and integrated way, which avoids
For more information please contact the Green Heart Partnership: Tel: 020 7639 3709 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Last Word – Going Public
In January of this year, Labour MP Tom Watson tabled 123 written or oral questions to the DCMS concerning the performance of Arts Council England. The questions ranged from “what recent discussions he has had on the future funding of Arts Council England; and if he will make a statement.” To “How much has Arts Council England spent on media monitoring in each of the last three years.” Why the desire to scrutinise ACE in such detail? Mr Watson is, at the time of writing, MP for West Bromwich East and as such is presumably just trying to value for money for The Public. Or do I mean the public?
nalgao Magazine Spring 2010
The Hertsmere Community Spaces project is the result of a thorough and inclusive design process that has not only won over residents, but has engaged with a range of young people from the borough and has included a range of stakeholders on the design team including the police. The Green Heart Partnership, an arts and environment organisation was commissioned by Hertsmere Borough Council to develop the project and manage the design and community engagement process. GHP is facilitated by Haring Woods Associates, who worked with multidisciplinary design team Superblue to design the shelters. The team involved a range of local people to explore and respond to their needs, ideas and aspirations for new types of shelters that would be attractive and safe for the diverse groups of people using their local parks. The structures have been the result of inclusive design, proving that a detailed design process that invites input from a wide range of the community and local and regional stakeholders, is possible and productive. Although the project generated some negative responses in the first instance, the inclusive design process has taken the community along the journey of all aspects
alienating other sections of the community, and provides attractive and landmark shelters for all. Ed Sandham, Sports and Cultural Services Manager, said: “The three shelter designs look absolutely fantastic and it will be great to see them in place and used by the local community. They are all unique to each open space and are far from the bog standard shelters that were popular a few years ago. “Not all residents were on board with the projects at the start as some were expecting a bus-type shelter and were worried about them attracting anti-social behaviour. But by working with local residents and local police, we have been able to resolve these issues and concerns.”
ARTS AT THE HEART
ARTS AT THE HEART
nalgao Magazine Spring 2010
Arts-led designs prove hit with community
before designs were finally signed off at the end of September. This thorough and phased consultation process has resulted in three innovative designs, specific to each park’s environment and the people who use them. As well as providing a meeting space, seating and shelter for a range of users, the shelter at Phillimore Recreation Ground can also be used as a performance space by the variety of local community arts organisations and other community events; the shelter for The Moatfield ties in with a wider landscape design to introduce natural play into the park; and the shelter at Furzefield provides a viewing space in the centre of the park for the well used skatepark and football pitches.
Gimme Shelter! 34 35
nalgao National Seminar: “Arts, Health & Wellbeing”
nalgao 2010 Conference
Tuesday 20th July 2010 from 9.30 – 5.00 The Reebok Conference Centre, Bolton
Wednesday 13th – Friday 15th October 2010 The National Glass Centre, Sunderland
In partnership with Bolton at Home and in association with the National Culture Forum, the Chief Culture & Leisure Officers Association and Breakthrough.
In partnership with Sunderland City Council and the University of Sunderland.
Booking details from email@example.com The next issue of Arts at the Heart will be out in July 2010. Copy deadline for the next issue is Monday 21 June 2010. 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 Tel: 01269 824728 or email: email@example.com
See the latest news on the nalgao website - www.nalgao.org
Nalgao Magazine - Spring 2010 edition