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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Regional Arts Hub Working Group - Minutes 6th May 2015

Meeting Started 10.30 am at Electric Theatre Workshop, Munches St, Dumfries 


Matt Baker (Chair)
Anne Barclay (Vice Chair)
Sid Ambrose (Wigtownshire Arts Hub Convenor) 
Belle Doyle (Nithsdale Arts Hub Convenor)
Cate Ross (Stewartry Arts Hub Convenor)- Meeting notes
Alex McQuiston
Graham Main 

Leah Black
Sara Lockwood 

Late arrivals due to DGU Board meeting clash:
Alan Thomson (Annan and Eskdale Arts Hub Convenor/Policy and Development Coordinator), 
Simon Davidson (Secretary)

Regional Arts Hub Working Group (RAHWG) meeting notes: 
The Chair welcomed those present; the meeting notes from previous meeting were agreed.
Several points on the agenda were rescheduled because they relied on input from Alan Thomson (AT).

The group expressed frustration that the RAHWG meeting was adversely affected by the rescheduling of a D&G Chamber of the Arts (DGU) Board meeting, which created a date/time clash. This was despite efforts by RAHWG to arrange a date to allow input to the DGU Board (their meeting previously planned for that afternoon).There was a sense of confusion about how and why this could occur and because it was not the first time this had happened in the planning and operation of the DGU Board. It was agreed that this would be raised upon Simon Davidson (SD) and AT’s arrival.  MB reported that he had raised the matter with the DGU Board and informed them that AT’s non-attendance at RAHWG was materially affecting our ability to progress the Regional Arts Strategy developments.

There was a noted lack of clarity on the role of Suzi Kenny (SK)as she was anticipated by the RAHWG to be present to take minutes. (this has now been clarified and SK is available to take minutes of RAHWG meeting – as long as they take place in afternoons) Cate Ross (CR) was asked to take notes.

Agenda headings follow with key Action Points (AP) noted in bold orange italics.

1. Working with the DGU Board- Strategy for AGM

This was reserved until the arrival of AT. But agreement was made that an informal ‘round table’ discussion prior to the DGU AGM was absolutely essential to agree a joined up strategy with the DGU board.

AP: MB to invite DGU Board to a round table meeting prior to AGM on agreed date of 20th May at 10.30am at The Stove

2. Update on Regional Strategy following previous meeting.

This was reserved until the arrival of AT. MB tabled a draft document list of emerging ‘Proposed Regional Priorities’. (See Appendix 1) CR tabled 4 papers: Draft working documents- Digests from Pirnie report Gaps and Work in Progress; Suggested amendments to the DGU Constitution and SAH recommendations for draft Stewartry Arts Hub Plan and Regional Arts Hub Plan) (See Appendix 1a)

AP : Regional Strategy development item put to the agenda for next meeting as AT was held up at DGU Board meeting until 11.45.

3. Specialist Art Form Groups- Priorities and Process

Discussion was held regarding the transparency and inclusive approaches required for developing specialist art form groups.

Cate Ross (CR) expressed concern that there had been a meeting scheduled between Wigtown Festival Company, Spring Fling, The Stove Network and Big Burns Supper representatives about Youth Arts.. She noted that this was not inclusive of all the Youth Arts sector representatives and recommended that an Arts Hub Convenor participate in each specialist art form group (by skill base).. MB and GM responded that a) that the meeting referred to had been in order to discuss an approach to Youth Arts to bring to the RAHWG for discussion and b) that RAHWG was the place for the sharing of information and learning and that by sitting on the RAHWG Convenors would get information to share with the sector in their areas. CR wished to seek assurance that there would be no perceived or real ‘carving up’ of the process/potential budgets that would reduce opportunities for the sector at large.

Further discussion ensued to allow RAHWG members to nominate themselves/others for specialist art form groups, but final decisions were held over until a full membership of the RAHWG was present as all needed to express their interest and agree on who would convene the groups, to discuss the format (e.g.: - by catchment or region wide etc.).

The suggestions for group convenors so far are:

·      Music: Alex McQuiston and Sid Ambrose

·      Youth Arts: Anne Barclay, Graham Main,

·      Film: Belle Doyle, Simon Davidson (nominated in absentia)

·      Dance, Performance and Live Art: Graham Main, Cate Ross, Sara Lockwood (nominated in absentia)

Literature and Visual/Environmental Art were not on this list because a) Literature has an existing sector forum hosted by Wigtown Festival Company and b) both are existing strengths within our region and not requiring priority support from RAHWG at this time.

SD arrived during the discussion and raised a query about the term Youth Arts and commented that the RAHWG might best decide on whether the term be applied as an age group separately (limited funding opportunities for this bracket) or as an aspect of discipline per specialist art form. Further he suggested that each focus group could identify gaps in provision, collate info. raise recommendations per specialist art form via broad round table discussions and bring these back to the RAHWG. GM commented that these focus group meetings needed to be documented to allow transparency and inclusion to the sector.

AP: Put this item to the agenda of the next meeting for final agreement.


4. Developing a Charter for events regionally including a ‘Clash diary’

Belle Doyle (BD) and GM proposed to invite relevant groups and individuals to a forum discussion leading to developing a possible Charter for events regionally. This may include support for event safety management planning, sector developments regarding programme, time frames etc., licensing, to support engagement with Police Scotland and regarding health and safety (fire, risk assessment etc.)

A clash diary was also proposed. BD has initiated a Google Calendar as an experimental step in this direction and requested that Dumfries and Galloway Council (DGC), Police Scotland and the arts sector where invited to use it in the first instance. BD also agreed to share the document she and Ailsa Watson (the Stove Network) created after their meeting recently with the Licensing Board. Sid Ambrose (SA) noted that lobbying may be required ‘at the highest level’ to ensure fairness and parity for the region in the face of Police Scotland’s newly centralised provision as opposed to the previous region-based control. SA was nominated to participate in the Charter development forum.

AP: GM and BD to convene a Regional Events Charter Forum

AT Arrived at 11.45am

5. Regional Focus- Area Arts Convenor’s bullet point reports (held over from previous meeting)

·      Wigtownshire, Sid Ambrose-see Appendix 2

·      Stewartry, Cate Ross-see Appendix 3

·      Annan and Eskdale, Alan Thomson-see Appendix 4

·      Nithsdale, Belle Doyle-see Appendix 5

6. Date and Format of next meeting

AT was informed of the request for a round table discussion meeting between RAHWG and DGU Board. This was presented as a RAHWG approach to item 1 of the agenda: Working with the DGU Board- Strategy for AGM. A date was proposed for the 20th May at 10.30am at The Stove in Dumfries.

It was also suggested that a post AGM discussion could be held on the morning of 27th May and could include the wider DGU membership and sector.

AP:  MB to invite DGU Board to meet on 20th May and MB to arrange post AGM discussion forum for DGU members and sector engagement.

7. Proposal to co-opt Peter Renwick to the RAHWG

Unanimously agreed

AP: PR to be formally invited by MB to the next meeting.

Rescheduled Item

2. Update on Regional Strategy following previous meeting.

AT reported that he had not received the requested ‘3 point- key aims’ from all organisations represented on the RAHWG in sufficient time for him to collate the information. Wigtown Festival Company, Spring Fling, Big Burns Supper and The Stove Network had provided the information so far.

AP:  AT will chase other RAHWG organisations for info and present findings to next the meeting

AT requested examples of best practice regarding regional strategic planning from those present. The Public Arts Strategy for Bristol was cited as one example. Out of The Blue (Arts and Education Trust in Edinburgh) was cited as another line of enquiry regarding good strategic planning and partnership work for a grassroots approach.

AP: All agreed to research best practice examples of regional strategic planning and feed back to the next meeting.

AT reported from the DGU Board regarding strategic planning developments: -

The DGU Board and Area Arts Hub Convenors are conducting a preliminary assessment and report on the successes and challenges of the last year, the commissions and the work to date. Findings will be shared with RAHWG as soon as possible leading to recommendations regarding future ‘direction of travel’ to be raised and agreed by August 2015. This will include recommended priorities for the use of the DGC cultural budget (£150,000) and any other proposed partnership funding the organisation may be able to secure.

AT reported the proposal by the DGU Board that nominations for Trustees be brought forward per catchment for seats on the DGU Board and that members are proposed to vote for their catchment Charity Trustees only. Concern was raised about who was currently a member, applicants have not received confirmation and a list of DGU Members was requested. .

AP: AT to make enquiries regarding membership confirmation with SK and to request that she provide a list of DGU members to the next meeting.

AT reported that the issue of amending the DG Constitution to include for example Co-option of Regional Arts Hub Chair and Vice chair to the DGU Board of Charity Trustees, Vote by Proxy and other amendments will be proposed but will require an adjournment of the AGM to allow the proposed amendments to be agreed including the proposed proxy voters. There was some concern at the complexity of this proposal, concerns will be raised at the DGU Board/RAHWG round table meeting.

AP: Research into the options and legal requirements to amend the DGU Constitution to be conducted by members of RAHWG as deemed necessary by individual volition and brought to the next meeting.

AT commented that the requirement for SK to service the RAHWG with administrative support at their meetings would be raised with her directly and he would report back to the RAHWG as soon as possible on this.

AP: AT to ask SK to build RAHWG into her remit.

AT reported that the DGU Board had intimated a need to engage more with the DGC Major Events Strategy Fund committee and Event Scotland organisation to help support arts sector developments.

8. Any Other Competent Business (AOCB)

GM requested that AOCB be provided prior to each meeting as a matter of course. CR commented that AOCB was specifically for the competent business arising from the meeting and for items that had arisen too recently to be added to the agenda items. It was agreed that were ever possible items to be raised would be put on the agenda via the Secretary up to a week prior to the scheduled meeting and that AOCB would be for issues and queries arising after the agenda had been set. Queries in AOCB may be put to the next agenda unless time/situation required immediate discussion.

The meeting was adjourned at 12.45pm 


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