Report back and action points
The meeting was led by Claire Procter (Chair), Sheila Arthurs (Trustee) and Sally Rew (Development Officer).
Bob Brueton (Birmingham City Council)
Trevor Evans (Head of Performing Arts, Castle Vale High School)
Mandy Neary (Manager, Castle Vale Library)
Bertram Ohene-Yeboah (Erdington Arts Forum)
Ev Beard (Erdington Arts Forum)
Rebecca Gunning (Castle Vale Extended Services)
Alicia Grande (Environmental Trust)
Beatrice Lunn (Manager, Chivenor House sheltered housing)
Anne and Earle Largie
Arts activity in Castle Vale
It was a positive experience for the Trustees and Development Officer for Active Arts to have this meeting with stakeholders in Castle Vale, enabling us to re-connect with members of the community with whom we had not been in touch for some time as well as meet some new representatives. Despite the fact that it is always difficult to take time out of your normal daily commitments/jobs, I believe it was a valuable experience to those who attended, as much for connecting with us as connecting with each other. This is surely part of the benefit of having an arts ‘umbrella’ organisation, to bring us together to share our knowledge and our ambitions, so that ultimately we can work together for everyone’s benefit.
We spent some time reviewing what arts-related activities were happening and are planned for the new year (i.e. financial year 2009/10). On the one hand this showed how much was happening and which organisations and people were really driving forward this activity; on the other hand it helped to point up which groups of people in the community were receiving less focus for participatory arts activity. The evidence of this meeting showed that there was less focus on cross-cultural or black and minority ethnic targeted activity as well as less targeted activity towards people with disabilities or health issues and positively promoting accessibility.
Active Arts action points:
- Consult with stakeholders that were unable to attend the meeting on their existing arts activities and plans; discuss how such activities fit in with Active Arts.
- Follow up with stakeholders certain highlighted projects or certain needs to be fulfilled, in order to work together.
- Work towards strategy for arts development and delivery in Castle Vale in partnership with stakeholders.
Communicating and representing
The next part of the meeting focussed on the role of the Steering Group/Members and other stakeholders and how we communicate with each other. It was clarified that Active Arts is now led by a 4 person group of Trustees who carry the key organisational responsibilities; therefore the function of the Steering Group had more to do with representing the community and designing and implementing the arts activities that would serve that community. Whilst no one wants to attend too many meetings – especially if they lack relevance – the representation of the community and the arts and community organisations in Castle Vale is vital to delivering meaningful arts projects enhanced by partnership working. Active Arts is currently experiencing a difficulty in maintaining an active Steering Group that can fulfil that brief.
- Active Arts Trustees to define ‘job description’ of Steering Group and to pro-actively recruit a limited number of people to commit to the role for a fixed period.
We discussed ways of effective 2-way communication with the steering group and wider stakeholders – other than having meetings – and a range of methods were discussed. It was recommended by participants that representatives of Active Arts attend certain other key groups’ meetings (or at least be on their mailing lists for minutes, etc). It was apparent that often the simplest methods of communication work the best, and so the priorities for communicating were email and our website/blog.
Active Arts action points:
- Maintain and build a stakeholders’ database with whom to consult and communicate on all relevant plans.
- Create an email ‘newsletter’ once a month and circulate to the stakeholders’ database.
- Increase our use of the website/blog and encourage stakeholders/community to use it.
- Maximise opportunities to publicise Active Arts through our own and stakeholders’ events and activities.
- Ensure Active Arts’ representation within other key groups in Castle Vale.
- Develop a communications strategy with a timeline for developing tools of communication.