From Kathleen O’Neill, Regional Arts Convenor
It’s heartening to have reached this point in the year close to convention time and as adopted by the arts sector to become an annual event, as a result of the Fresh Start for the Arts recommendations last year. It’s not the first actual gathering of regional artists and organisations by any means and many will be thinking back to ‘Dalbeattie Days’ when the Chamber of Arts first came into being in an informal way. Now with the Chamber (now rebranded as DG Unlimited) having had charitable status since March, the event on November 5th promises to be both informative and memorable. Places are limited at this year’s venue, the Ryan Centre and I would urge anyone who has not already registered to attend to do so, by simply following the link below.
This has been an eventful year and my role of Regional Convenor has been exercised to the full. It’s been a pleasure to work with colleagues from a myriad of disciplines to support area and regional development, forging closer partnership working in many ways. Area Convenors have worked especially successfully to support ideas and projects at local level and it will be massively interesting to see how these roles develop over future months.
2014 has seen a totally new national model of arts planning practice tried and tested with some excellent results and creative networking. It has been essential in my role, to continually review with the Board how this model can best operate and within this context we have jointly identified the need for slight alteration to maximise benefit from the structure as a whole.
2015 will therefore see the development of two new commissions to replace the singular role of Regional Convenor. In praise of my achievements the Board has recognised that two people may be better suited to the range of day to day duties such a role has demanded and are currently working to ensure the best possible outcome, based on all we have learnt to date. It is anticipated that these commissions will be advertised in coming weeks for a new complement of regional support to begin in January.
The first Annual Arts Convention in the region will be my last day publicly in the role. Over almost 24 months to date, firstly as lead consultant for Fresh Start and later as Regional Convenor, I have come to respect a great many practitioners and understand the needs towards meeting regional arts ambition very well. It has been a huge privilege to be part of something so nationally fascinating and important to ‘get right’.
In many cultures Goodbye means ‘until we meet again’. This is my approach to ‘our new’ creative D&G beginnings. I’ll always feel part of the place and so ‘for a’ that’ my sincere thanks.
Hope to see you in November!
• To register for the conference go to the Eventbrite website.
• Kathleen has done an amazing amount for the arts and cultural sector in D&G and a “thank you” for her work and support appears on the DG Unlimited website.