Jodie kindly offered to minute Mondays meeting and together with the Catstrand team have put together this useful set of notes and action points. The gathering agreed that these minutes would be published on the blog - please do use the comments on this post to make any factual corrections or make any observations prompted by the minutes or the meeting itself.
Independent Arts Sector - Open Meeting
The CatStrand, New Galloway: 3rd October 2011 4-6 p.m.
In attendance including:
Cathy Agnew ( GCAT), Matt Baker (Artist, The Stove), Linda Mallet (Artist), Mary Smith ( Writer & Creative Business Advocate – literature), Hazel Campbell ( Artist), Malcolm Davies (Artist), James Coutts (National Museums), Alan Smith ( GCAT Board), Fiona Smith, Peter Renwick (DG Arts Festival), Julian Watson ( Mill on the Fleet), Wendy Stewart ( Musician & Creative Business Advocate), Dougie Muego (Artist), Pam Pumphrey ( DG Arts Festival), Margaret Elphinstone ( Author), Mike Brown, Ian Johnstone (Wee Stories), Cate Ross ( Artist, Creative Nonsense Network), Janet Butterworth (Whithorn Trust), Elizabeth Roberts ( Moffat Book Events), Jim Campbell ( WASPS Studios), Inga McVicar ( Destination Dumfries and Galloway), Nic Coombey ( Biosphere), Rebecca Coggins ( D&G Council), Emma Jayne Park ( Dancer & Creative Business Advocate – Dance), Alan Thomson (ex-dgArts), Anne Foley ( A’ The Airts), Will Levi Marshall (Artist, The Stove), Morag Muego ( Artist), Hugh Taylor (Writer & Moniaive Festivals), Mark McLachlan (The Stove), Adrian Turpin (Wigtown Book Festival), Anne Barclay (Wigtown Book Festival), Bruce McKenzie, Jan Hogarth ( Wide Open), Sue Stirling, Marilyn Crawford, Andrew Mellor (GCAT), Brian Edgar (CatStrand), Stewart Hall, Godfrey Smith, Roger Windsor, Jim Campbell (DDG and Raring To Go), Ruaridh MacNeil, David Sumner, Jodie Noble (CatStrand), Sean Paul O’Hare (GCAT), Karen Ward-Boyd (Holywood Trust), David Stevenson (Buccleuch Centre)
Irene Hawker ( Ryan Centre, Stranraer), Chrys Salt (The Bakehouse), Richard MacFarlane, Dame Barbara Kelly, Graham Main ( Big Burns Supper), Lesley Rogers ( DG Council Creative Arts Business Development Officer), Ken Gouge, Carolyn Yates, Patti Lean, Alex Fergusson MSP, Aileen McLeod MSP, Gill Khosla ( GCAT), Anna Campbell, Jenny Wilson, Andrew Ward, Alex Rigg, Alison Caldwell
Setting the Scene: Cathy Agnew, convenor, outlined purpose & context of the meeting
· D&G Council’s ‘Stakeholder Seminar’ planned for 28th October in Dalbeattie.
· The demise of dgArts & recognition of what they & DGAA have achieved over the last 30 years.
· Creative Scotland launch of their strategy at the CatStrand in April 2011; what has happened since?
· Feeling on the ground about lack of direction and apparent lack of consultation with independent arts sector.
· Recognition that in a rural area like D & G, quality and professional arts provision will always require subsidy.
· Aim to secure funding for the arts in D & G in a co-ordinated and joined up way.
· It must be NEEDS led and NEEDS driven. to work out exactly what will be best for us all: the practitioners, the venues, the promoters, the punters, and above all, our communities.
Strengths of arts in the Region
· Highlighted the strong role of the arts in community development
· ‘Rural Cultural Region’ & unique landscape/ heritage & relationship of arts with countryside organisations
· Commonty blog site acknowledged as a good start in joint communications
Relationship with D&G Council
· Feeling that there is little understanding within D&G Council about Arts & Culture
· Arts Community should be speaking to our councillors and elected members
· Planned council consultation with the arts sector has never been fully realised.
· Creative Scotland obliged to go through council. The council has a legal responsibility to deliver the arts.
· How to address our issue with the council? Vote of no confidence on behalf of the Creative Community at the next meeting? Agreed that this would be unproductive at this juncture. We must work in a spirit of collaboration.
· What do the arts create in terms of worth for communities? Need to be proactive in showing council what the arts generate in terms of economic benefit £ for £.
Agreement that a collective/ voice umbrella group essential
· What will replace DGArts & what will happen to its assets? ( Central Box Office, Equipment, Marketing capacity)
· Proposed artist/ venue led grass roots structure needed
· How does it get divided up fairly across the region? By artform or by area?
· Shouldn’t be a single organisation but devolved centres around the region – network of hubs: ‘string of pearls’.
· Not to be a ‘ Bricks & mortar’ organisation but involve partnership working & be administratively light and avoid ‘fiefdoms’
· Needs to be as flexible as possible so that no groups are excluded or restricted
· Must support the whole region and not be centred on Dumfries
· Need to come up with Big Idea for collaborative approach to funders
What is required of a new group:
· Opportunities for professional development and dialogue with other artists, curators, stakeholders etc
· Arts Development
· Clear action plan showing funders that we are working together & can be seen to be leading
· Funding to be applied for regionally rather than many small organisations applying for small pots of money
· How should organisations come together?
· Possible need for rural touring network. Creative Scotland currently commissioning Wee Stories Theatre Company to undertake research into this.
· Any touring network to include support for small community groups – collective marketing, advice & confidence building.
· Facilitating the sharing Equipment – showing funders that we are efficient
· Communication: need for both communication within the community, to audiences within the region & to raise profile outwith the region
- Need for regular , informal meetings amongst the arts community
- Listing websites and or publications ( with recognition of the manpower required in updating these)
- Coordinated approached to social networking
- Databases of practitioners
Working Group set up to take forward the ideas put forward, with the following action points:
- Look at other models eg NEAT, touring networks
- Identify assets & resources – both tangible & creative
- Look at ‘Big idea’ for the region – how we present ourselves
- Pull together a collective approach to DG Council on 28th October
- Lobbying elected members etc
Over 20 people put their name forward to be included in a Working Group. Clearly this would be too great a number. Suggestion that Working Group be comprised of a maximum of 8 people to reflect geographical spread, art forms, venues and potential funders. To meet at least once before DGC Seminar.