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The Regional Democracy Think Tank for West Yorkshire

Themes, Quotes and Links from Turning Arts and Cultures in West Yorkshire Upside Down

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This is the documentation page for the Turning Arts and Cultures in West Yorkshire Upside Down online conversation, 5 October 2020.

A recording of the event is available to watch on YouTube.

The discussion is transcribed in full below, but contributions are grouped into themes rather than chronologically. Speaker/writer and timecode follow the quote.

Selected messages from the zoom chat are also included.

The day after the session, everyone who joined was asked by email "What stayed with you?" from the discussion. Answers to this question are also included in full.

You can download Susan Jones's slides and the chat transcript.

Thank you to Michael Duckett and Sarah Smizz for their illustrations of the conversation, taken from Zoom.

Jump to themes:
The scale of scaling down

"forging a culture and arts policy framework for West Yorkshire from the bottom up" 1.00

the questions that top down down arts policy makers never seem to ask when they are forecasting and forging arts infrastructures 1.33

One CEO in an event in i zoomed into recently extolled the plucky artists who just roll up their sleeves and get in there communities and keep things moving. And in another set of material I looked at it was artists particularly those who are disabled who showed immediate leadership in the cultural sector in modelling effective home working, self care and innovative creative solutions all on no money. Susan Jones 3.23

I'd argue and hopefully this think tank to develop policy from the bottom up relevant to the specifics of place, people and time will put this to the test, that if you want a sound, progressive, big picture you need to start with the very small details." you need to look carefully at how to nurture the talents and capacities of what Charles Leadbeater called the arts pebbles . Unlike the boulders and I'm using boulder with a 'u' in there, arts organisations we can see that those are now floundering all around us but the pebbles, the individuals, are the most adept at dealing with external shocks and knocks Susan Jones 5.58

in my mind it's a reboot that's needed to affect the necessary transfers of power and to radically redefine what just has to be saved at all costs Susan Jones 8.17

remedies designed to deliver human thriving the arts and culture are not cosmetic but structural and there are three operating principles for those: first off there is the diversification of arts policy that puts the focus on enabling divergent communities of interest including artists to engage directly with the what why and how of local provision; secondly there is democratising arts development, so moving debate and decision making about the why, what and how in the arts and cultures to the grass roots; and thirdly there is the devolution of funding, giving artistic and economic responsibility to accountable localised infrastructure. Susan Jones 8.32

Making strategic long term shifts away from the current urban and London-centric perspectives. Here i would agree with Ben Cooper's recent report for the Fabian Society in which he talks about putting local authorities in charge , although i don't' agree with his view that the arts council is the indispensable expert partner in any new framework. Susan Jones 9.25

I'd also just like to say Alice has been working very tirelessly. My practice has flourished because of her and I'd really want to say how Alice doesn't do herself justice in that she has really sort been that beacon Hansa Khadim 18.40

In the face of covid there is a lot more local networking and support, it's gone back to the local , which is really important to consider now if we are making a case for west Yorkshire, and the role of those, particularly artists and visual art spaces that are local level, are pretty much vital to their cultural life. There are some good arguments to be made now in terms of working at that local level, and arguments particularly in response to covid in terms of the role of the artists. Sue Ball 27.18

there is the hyper-local level but there is also a very high economic governmental level. The visual arts are still not part of any government economic plan and that is a real problem for us, they are not considered both in terms of the benefit of arts economically to the country, so there is no investment or no status for the arts, there is a governmental level that we need to work at and there is the relationship of the arts at a local or hyper-local level. i think there is particular idea of the mayor can work on both those levels, so i welcome it. Sue Ball 27.51

principle of subsidiarity - one of the guiding principle of the EU, it's the idea that decisions should be made at the lowest level that they can officially be made at, so transport decisions made for Yorkshire, arts budgeting, things like this. Within the spirit of devolution is the sense that power should be held locally, that is something the arts community could take and say well look part of raison detre of what is happening here is the sense that power shouldn't be consolidated in the hands of a small amount of people, and therefore look if that's a good enough reason to have this election, that's a good enough reason to check out how power is dispersed within Yorkshire Jack Simpson 29.19 Illustration by Michael Ducket As part of this case for West Yorkshire and what the west Yorkshire mayor looks like certainly from my experience of running this project for the first year, and responding to those absolutely grass roots level artist needs i can only see a case for this kind of model being needed in all the cities in the UK, i think it is already proving to work and proving to be really really essential Lisa Mallaghan 35.12

I guess my fear with the West Yorkshire concept is you could almost loose that really specific place based stuff and how we don't go that level up too high and actually manage to really stay specifically place based as well. Lisa Mallaghan 35.38

How do you make change on a bigger scale and influence bigger things without it naturally growing to be too big for its boots so how do you keep it local and then also influence massive policy. Rochyne Delaney McNulty 37.00

I wanted to make a point that it's not always about starting something off small and it getting bigger and you finding you've created a monster. We have get the over this notion that development is serial and means getting bigger or having more of ... you have to recognise it is as much about scaling down as scaling up." Susan Jones 38.00

We will always end up with a tiny bit, to a lesser or greater degree, for individuals if we continue to say that the infrastructure that we have is that we infrastructure that we want for the 21st century. Susan Jones 53.03

I’m all for localised arts funding and commissioning, however there needs to be a rethink on arts and culture as a bridge which empowers communities which allows local people with the power to decide on the art being funded. I would also suggest that local authorities which are political institutions are not best placed for localised funding of the arts. From Mohammed Ali Amla 14:45:11

Agree Councils aren't necessarily the best custodians of the arts and can be institutionally conservative which means they can lack the bravery to do experimental arts and play safe From Andrew Cooper 14:48:58

Really keen to help make sure Leeds 2023/Bradford 2025 and culture is on the mayoral candidates agenda! From Abigail Scott Paul - Leeds 2023 15:01:10

Artists have been given a voice in the political architecture of the region – so we need to use this effectively… or should I say that that voice is being heard ….

I wonder if there could be an artist/ guest representative invited to sit with elected members in the future… not only in culture-related discussions but in other agendas -social services, planning, etc. I was very interested in the discussion that proposes to ‘de-economise’ culture and work towards recognising the other ‘benefit measures’ of a ‘rich and diverse’ culture. I worry that the efforts of actual artists (and orgs) decision makers still fall into a polarising view of cultural output which has elite culture at one end (opera, public sculpture, etc) and ‘low brow’ culture at the other (sports particularly and the ‘stack em high’ festival events, ‘community’ events etc.). Personally – I think I have something to offer to policing, housing, etc etc employing my artist maker methodologies, knowledge and discipline. We know that we have lots of good knowledge skills and importantly – different methodologies and approaches that could benefit other sectors – transdisciplinary approaches are needed. Gillian Dyson-Moss

The key thing that struck me was Jack’s point that a lot of us know what we want and what should happen - we just need to work out the mechanisms. Morag Ballantyne

I was thinking about a phrase I heard elsewhere about ‘activation’ not ‘activism’ and that resonated too. Morag Ballantyne

I think the thing that's most prominent in my mind is that the struggle we're facing in providing more opportunities for the arts and culture in West Yorkshire is going to shift drastically. We're facing a global GDP drop of 4.9% (50 x more than the crash in 2008), but also this oncoming period of slowbalisation which has been accelerated by covid, but also with breaking trade deals between the US and China, and the UK with the EU. With fractures appearing in globalisation and trade, does this mean we stand more chance of increased opportunities on a national and local level and what does it mean for the arts? Claudia Bowler

I was interested in the democratisation of the arts world and two phrases by Susan Jones stood out to me: "equity will not happen in hierarchies" and there is "no duty of care for artists". This resonates as I co-ordinate a network of artists, healthcare professionals and researchers and I try and keep the structure very flat, valuing the experience that everyone can bring. (The phrase 'valuing experience' came from Leeds artist Garry Barker). I've been looking at support systems from workplace wellbeing eg Opera North to developing Culture Strategy in Leeds and Yorkshire to organisations like BAPAM UK and what they offer. Geraldine Montgomerie

The first thing that stuck is the comment made about development relating to development not always being about growth and scaling up but it can also be an act of refining and scaling down. As someone working in an arts org, this really resonated - success based on scale often feels flawed when so much of our power lies within that which is intimate, small and personal. Hannah Robertshaw

Once upon a time ago I've heard a lot of this phrase of devolution of power from Whitehall to the North. Its seems a bit idealist, as 12 years on I've not seen anything take place. Would it or could it happen is the question. Hansa Khadim

An actual arts and cultural directory would be brill. Hansa Khadim

Jack's reminder of the importance of 'subsidiarity' and Dr Jones' emphasis on the importance of 'negotiated relationships' with artists in the funding process. Mike Prior

What’s stayed with me: a feeling that we barely scratched the surface, that there’s so much more we could discuss, share, develop. The opportunity of West Yorkshire Mayor is exciting but also comes with great caution - the tendency to lean everything to and about Leeds will potentially be even stronger. WY is HUGE and the challenge will be to ensure the Culture sector is supported with equity. But, it also brings an exciting opportunity with there being someone whose job it is to join us up better - which would be such a good thing (if it’s done well). Someone who can help us coordinate, collaborate and combine, but also help us strengthen and clarify our differences so we can all have strong, specific ‘offers’ and not try to morph us into one… Lisa Mallaghan

Totally agree with Su that we need structural change - not fiddling round the edges. Kerry Harker

Power (including in the arts) must be distributed and not consolidated centrally. We’ve really got to get past culture’s economic ‘impact’ too. As Su said, if the model of the large institution doesn't work any more, what’s next - has to be about distributed infrastructure. There is actually research on the relative value of major institutions as opposed to small-scale, locally embedded organisations (AHRC). Kerry Harker

Democratisation of the arts through devolution of decision making/ budgets to local authorities - West Yorks too big an area(Danger that Leeds will dominate rather than very local needs). Mary Dowson

Negotiated Relationships

interrelationship between artists livelihoods and arts policy Susan Jones 1.33

The actual creators of the visual arts that arts organisations rely on to get the money spending audiences in, have consistently come last in arts policy, because artists perspectives are missing in how policy is made and therefore how the deliver mechanisms and the success criteria are formulated and it's been exactly the same in the covid emergency. Susan Jones 2.55

so this my formula for artists livelihoods, you could look at making a formula for other things you are wanting to achieve , but I look particularly at this. There are three core conditions that give artists what I call volition: so creative space which is a mixture of head space and time which builds artistic acuity, tacit knowledge and the confidence to act; there are situated practices that locate what and who artists are and generate a sense of belonging which is supportive of their wellbeing over a lifetime; but last but not least there are negotiated relationships and this is the crucial ingredient that is missing from other formulations and indeed from the way that arts policy and institutions perceive artists. These are means for co development and co validation. This latter is necessary for the power transfers that I'll talk about in a minute. Susan Jones 4.40

most opportunities for artists really aren't opportunities much at all. Artists aren't sitting in appreciable numbers around the zoom tables devising and modelling the reset that will supposedly put everything back on an even keel for the decade ahead Susan Jones 6.55

We are looking at revisiting those artists and talking to them about the impact of covid19 on their practices and their mental wellbeing ...picking up on the conversations that I already had through the writing residency programme for the Resilience is Futile publication. So finding out what's changed for them how they have navigated the changes and what impact it has had on them so completely diverse as you would expect with different diverse practices and everybody has been impacted differently through this process and that will hopefully path the more in-depth research into what is going on with artists in these times. Hopefully some common things that are emerging about what is useful what is not useful. So it is right at the early stages of this R and D process, building on the previous work i did Alice Bradshaw 14.00

It's exactly what BPH has been to set up to do. It comes down from the arts council, but the initiative is to pilot and test out what it means to devolve power making, funding, decisions from an artist's need and artist led perspective in a place. So BPH have an investment 1.5 million pounds from ACE over 4 years to test out all of these things, starting from what we are hearing artists need and responding to make sure it is delivered. Lisa Mallaghan 33.54

We want Bradford to influence everywhere else and we want everywhere else to influence Bradford, but we want to make sure that what we are doing is first and foremost about people who have that really strong connection to Bradford and then hopefully it will grow out and beyond. Lisa Mallaghan 37.33

As an artist and a freelancer, in terms of the mayoral offer a lot of what that work could be about connecting, and i think there are lots of things going on in this region and they need to broker those relationships between all those different organisation, and all the various small and big organisations, coming together to network, that can be hosted by NPOs ,, that can be hosted by institutions , academic institutions making an open invitation where the mayor was present to enable people come together and speak about their concerns as artists. Sohail Kahn 44.05

I've been unwell for two years so I've not been in the working environment so I've been able to loose my self interest as a person who is always climbing the face of trying to get work trying to make work, trying to connect, one of those things is to allow people space to begin to have these conversations. Sohail Kahn 45.10

working in good faith, whether it's the playhouse , northern ballet, Yorkshire dance, i think in the right atmosphere , where people don't feel threatened, we all want to work together, but i think sometimes it can become this kind of , you hear that somebody has got a bit of a grant , you know we think that we are not on the same side, so part of it us as loads of cultural leaders here is how do you create environments where people don't feel in competition with each other. Jack Simpson 50.35 Illustration by Sarah Smizz A Mayor's Arts Contact group to enable an ongoing dialogue on Arts policy might be an idea From Andrew Cooper 14:52:26

In addition, that everyone is working in good faith and that everyone has something valuable to add, whether you are a large institution or an individual, freelance artist or cultural worker. There was something about creating an atmosphere where people don’t feel threatened and in competition with each other. Morag Ballantyne

The respectful tone of the meeting - I was glad it avoided the infrastructure bad, artists good narrative that I have been hearing. We need to address how we balance infrastructure/institutions/organisations and artists/freelancers and make sure we ‘rebuild better’ to actively include people whose voices have not been heard previously are included - including our d/Deaf and Disabled, Black and Brown colleagues. Morag Ballantyne

That second part is of what was interesting for me especially notions around gathering together and working together in good faith and not in competition with each other and the discussion around how to make a case for the cultural sector that is not economically driven reliant or underpinned. The "how" of how this could be done is of interest to me in terms of how we could evolve structures to bring people together to negotiate relationships. Sohail Khan

My take on it would be, perhaps like Germany we could give grants to galleries, to run mentorship schemes for aspiring artists and graduates. From the ones I've worked with, through my art even mainstream galleries. The general gist I got, is that it's the individual. That makes it happen. Even in a set given established organisation i.e art gallery or organisation. My own personal journey, to even beginning to have conversations with art people. Was just going to any one and everyone. I've had to go up to so many councillors, galleries, organisations. And I'm lucky that now I've found a mentor that, I kind of roped him into it. He's been very good, sort of my guiding star. Hansa Khadim

I liked Lisa Mallaghan's test-and-learn opportunity in the Bradford Producing Hub - something I'd like to look into further. Re our Culture Declares related work, and as unfunded facilitators of local collaboration, I worry about expecting highly valued specialist contributions to our events when we don’t have the wherewithal to pay for them. Mike Prior

I don’t want to hear anything about ‘biodiversity’ in arts and culture either - the cultural sector is the way that it is because its relations are social - not biological - and I think using these analogies borrowed from the natural/biological sciences obscures that. Kerry Harker

Arts council may not be the most appropriate strategic partner in arts and culture..... Mary Dowson

What is valuable?

vats of creative potential are wasted when top downers have their way Susan Jones 1.00

What are their nuanced attributes and contributions as people and professionals the tangible and the intangible. In case of visual artists I've found little attention is paid to these kinds of questions because in a trickle down arts economy that we have had for the last 30 years artists have become treated transactionally their sole value about what they can do to bolster the status and business models of organisations hiring them Susan Jones 2.14

but if there is a genuine interest in enabling artists to do what artists do with whomever they do it so that the benefits accrue to people around them over a life cycle. Policy really does need to capture the artists' perspective, their social reality , their beliefs and values, their characteristics and creative behaviours and understand how these benefit society both directly and indirectly Susan Jones 2.14

so this my formula for artists livelihoods, you could look at making a formula for other things you are wanting to achieve , but I look particularly at this. There are three core conditions that give artists what I call volition: so creative space which is a mixture of head space and time which builds artistic acuity, tacit knowledge and the confidence to act; there are situated practices that locate what and who artists are and generate a sense of belonging which is supportive of their wellbeing over a lifetime; but last but not least there are negotiated relationships and this is the crucial ingredient that is missing from other formulations and indeed from the way that arts policy and institutions perceive artists. These are means for co development and co validation. This latter is necessary for the power transfers that I'll talk about in a minute. Susan Jones 4.40

Covid has put a harsh spotlight on the baseline flaws in the ecology and infrastructures for contemporary visual arts, and in fact lots of the infrastructures that surround us at the moment, it's not just visual arts Susan Jones 6.33

remedies designed to deliver human thriving the arts and culture are not cosmetic but structural and there are three operating principles for those: first off there is the diversification of arts policy that puts the focus on enabling divergent communities of interest including artists to engage directly with the what why and how of local provision; secondly there is democratising arts development, so moving debate and decision making about the why, what and how in the arts and cultures to the grass roots; and thirdly there is the devolution of funding, giving artistic and economic responsibility to accountable localised infrastructure. Susan Jones 8.32

Re-wild the arts do have a look at it it's very active and twitter and it's focused on re-imaging the cultural sector's future ecology with artists welfare at the heart of discourse around inclusive alternative radical strategies for creating a productive arts ecology Susan Jones 10.03

culture plan b podcast featuring work of artists and communities who create culture outside the big institutions. these are all about democratising, and re-balancing arts and cultural policy and their distribution of funding Susan Jones 10.20

[Re Wild the Arts and Culture Plan B] are seeking to remove the barriers that thwart or waste creative potential, and they are addressing the issue of what exactly is obsolete in the current climate which does have to be addressed. I think it is here in these kind of ventures that the crown jewels are to be found. Susan Jones 10.43

The pandemic has been a double a edge sword it stabbed the arts in the heart, but for the homeworkers for carers it's given them that shine. Hansa Khadim 19.00

Having regional basic income to secure the poets, the artists, the visual artists, the actors and actresses, and ensure they have wellbeing to flourish, because i noticed that in studies on UBI one of the main things that came out of it was an increase of wellbeing. Tiffany Holloman 12.13

capability approach is a framework that is used to challenge the idea that GDP or standard economic models are a good way of evaluating how a society is doing - the US has in maybe ways a good economy but whether it's a great place to live right now. Jack Simpson 30.17

I was on a panel with someone quite senior at the council and we got into a really interesting discussion when we were talking to lots of people in music and culture and she said "look we've embedded culture within the economic policy of the city we've done this great thing", and i said "well if we just look at the language we are using here it's sounds like we are saying culture is important so long as it is economically important" and whilst ever we use language like that ... until we challenge this meta narrative as to what the role of culture is in the region and what role it plays in Leeds, until we have those conversations openly i think we will always be judged by things like what kind economic value you bring, and artists and people in culture are just never going to win like that because one of the things in this discussion the head of assets for the council came back and said "well look it's just much easier to measure to economic things". Jack Simpson 30.00

We can have these micro battles but unless we are kind of saying look there is something much more important than is often used in our sense of what culture and what societies are about , I think we are fighting a loosing battle , i think that's the thing that when we look to mayoral candidates we need to understand - are these the kind of people who understand that culture has a role that is equally important if stranger to describe sometimes as economic outcomes' and I think if they don't get that i don't think they should get the backing of culture in the city or in the region Jack Simpson 32.35

We are really lucky to have this kind of pilot going on and this test to see what the impact is on supporting artists from that needs led, devolved power. It's fascinating, but already challenging in terms of the expectations from some of the larger organisations, from the boulders with a u , looking on and going "well where's the big and shiny". I've spent the first year pushing back on the big and shiny ... I think it's really interesting to take away all those layers of wanting to show off and wanting to be big and go actually what happens when you really start on an individual perspective and then lets sees where we get to in a couple of years. Lisa Mallaghan 36.00

And it's as much about recognising that something is good at a particular time but has had it's day whether its small artist run or something else if it's lost it's mission. So i would just generally caution against those kind of "here's a model that works let's have more of those" Susan Jones 38.40

Leanne Buchan and a couple of other people really , i remember getting calls from them, i didn't know them, just going "can we just go for a coffee and just hear what you think is going on that is interesting", and i was like "wow this is really radical" , i mean it's kind of radical democracy right and they are our representatives and they are coming to us and saying "you tell us what you think is worthwhile", and so i think in the 2023 process we have a potential vessel that has done some of this. Jack Simpson 47.54

all the answers are kind of there, it's just us working out the vessels, like the 2023 process of a few years ago, what are these vessels that we can do them with, I lots of us know we want. Jack Simpson 50.01

I’m all for localised arts funding and commissioning, however there needs to be a rethink on arts and culture as a bridge which empowers communities which allows local people with the power to decide on the art being funded. I would also suggest that local authorities which are political institutions are not best placed for localised funding of the arts. From Mohammed Ali Amla 14:45:11

Faith in art is a particular interest, unfortunately the secularisation of arts means that this area is often neglected or purposely ignored From Mohammed Ali Amla 14:56:16

For anyone interested in failure there's research ongoing about failure in cultural participation led in Leeds https://www.culturalparticipation.co.uk/ From Cultural Institute 14:58:19

Can we weave in the word ‘sustainability’? environmental, yes, but cultural and personal too. they’re all one and the same. From Lydia Catterall 15:00:09

Also thinking about artists and venues - and how to balance the value of these, and who receives the funding and how (if) support is received by these two groups, and how to ensure all are supported and not devalued. At the moment most money is given to venues, and artists have to spend time and energy applying to bids the venues. I like the idea of de prioritising venues and flipping that on its head. Myra Rowland

I think what has stayed with me the most is the under appreciation of the arts. There was a lot of mentioning about the need of a power shift so that the artist can have more of an input rather than the current trickling down hierarchy/system. A lot of people I have spoke to recently have been saying the exact same thing because we don’t feel valued and were seen as the 'joke’ industry; what I mean by that is people think that being an artist isn’t a proper job. One other thing that I really related to was (I believe it was Jack) saying about young people not having the chance or funding to fail. As a recent graduate I know what that’s like because I’m told all the time I need more experience, but how do I get that experience without being able to make work/exhibit which I can’t financially afford to do by myself so I’m working in another sector for the sake of living costs. Liam Turner

There is a slightly concerning narrative emerging about how artists (it’s always visual artist) are going to be the ones to save the high street now that not enough people want to go into city centres to keep the economic model afloat... again it’s back to the ‘use value’ of arts that gets us nowhere. Giving central spaces to artists is fine as long as it’s for the long term and not on a meanwhile basis. Also writing about ‘agglomeration’ of artists in my PhD - having isolated sites isn’t good enough, there has to be critical mass to produce healthy creative communities. Kerry Harker

Livelihoods

I'm talking in this presentation particularly about visual artists but in fact you could transfer the notion of looking at a particular individual group in this way to all sorts of other sets of individuals in arts and culture, practitioners and communities of interest concerned with play, literacy, health, wellbeing ... Susan Jones 1.45

so what do they actually need have you asked them but please don't ask the with any more surveys Susan Jones 2.09

about three quarters of visual artists weren't eligible for arts council or government emergency funding because they are self employed, because of the 50% rule Susan Jones 4.00

so this my formula for artists livelihoods, you could look at making a formula for other things you are wanting to achieve , but I look particularly at this. There are three core conditions that give artists what I call volition: so creative space which is a mixture of head space and time which builds artistic acuity, tacit knowledge and the confidence to act; there are situated practices that locate what and who artists are and generate a sense of belonging which is supportive of their wellbeing over a lifetime; but last but not least there are negotiated relationships and this is the crucial ingredient that is missing from other formulations and indeed from the way that arts policy and institutions perceive artists. These are means for co development and co validation. This latter is necessary for the power transfers that I'll talk about in a minute. Susan Jones 4.40

in a trickle down an arts economy it's artists who keep loosing out because something, almost anything else is always far more important Susan Jones 7.05

I was the writer in residence on a publication called Resilience is Futile which was a YVAN and Corridor 8 collaboration looking at this term resilience which is bandied around in the art world. What is resilience, how are artists resilient and investigating those kind of things.My methodology was to ask my peer support networks so Art Lab and a couple of other networks who they recommended as a resilient artist and then I went and talked to the artist about their practice. So they were already defined by their peers as being resilient, they didn't have to justify that, all the had to do was tell me how they made it work for themselves as practice, and show how that worked for them, what networks they were involved in...all the things they navigate like the precariousness of income and finding space and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with other artists and institutions. Alice Bradshaw 12.40

The eclipse slate report on the Slate programme and the reports from the work of the Freelancer Taskforce give ideas to take steps towards more diverse and democratic arts and culture in West Yorkshire eg https://eclipsetheatre.org.uk/news/1602-report-how-to-plant-magic-beans-and-build-rockets-to-the-moon From Cultural Institute 14:55:34

A fascinating presentation. I have learnt a lot. My role is as community musician and local parish councillor in Meltham (Kirklees) supporting the arts at the grassroots. We have had some success supporting a local, award winning photographer Olivia Hemingway to create a photographic posters series entitle 'Small Worlds: Lockdown in Meltham'. Check out www.carlileinstitue.co.uk From Kate Buchanan 14:59:41 carlileinstitute From Kate Buchanan 15:00:01

I did work in the community through Age UK, schools, foster homes, prison. Hansa Khadim 19.00

that whole notion, fiction of the artist being incredibly resilient, YVAN as part of the CVAN network did a survey with over 1000 visual artists this year and 92% said were in assistance because of the pandemic, 20% of artists not eligible for any of the current support schemes, artists are really very vulnerable at the minute. Sue Ball, 26.30

I think for them that have, they need to give more. Them that have budgets and money, NPOs, academic institutions, large organisations, they need to come and be sitting round this table and be involved ...they need to be more proactive, not being in their silos. Even if they are networking a little bit, they have got a certain remit, they need to extend that out of that remit and they need to be the ones because they are the ones that have, so they need to give and that includes people talking about leadership and leadership voices and advocates, they need to do that as well, and i think a lot of people do, but I think that's where they need to start to engage, because otherwise as artists , as freelancers, we are kind of stuffed, and we are stuffed and we are going to be more stuffed. Sohail Kahn 46.07

lots of people in the city and the region have ideas and skills but they just don't really have the resources to fail... when we look at lots of the city is working class and lower middle class and they don't have four hundred quid to put on an event that might go wrong, so some of it is real low level giving people space and giving people resources,and that is something that a city with a financial district like we've got here, if we can have jet2 and sky based here we can give a kid from Seacroft 400 quid to do a mural, all day long we can do that. Jack Simpson 49.15

Have carefully lobbied from ‘the inside’ around good practice guidance for freelances and rates, but it's a slog. Have witnessed inconsistent rates, sometimes due to variable and restricted budgets, and huge discrepancy between the lowest and highest paid freelances. And unfortunately, however unintentional, the ‘paygap’ between freelances almost always impacts on artists who are working class, women and/or from a Black, South Asian or other non-white background. Example: worked for an employer where the highest paid artists received £280 for a 3 hr session, and the lowest received £25 for 3 hrs. Without clear good practice guidance from ACE, and LEPS and other partnerships agreeing to set freelance scales and stick to them, this sort of practice will unfortunately continue. From Maria Spadafora 14:50:00

After hearing Rishi Sunak say that the arts are unviable and suggest that anyone in this field should look to retrain, where does that leave us? I think a UBI is a brilliant idea, but not one the government will likely fund. One idea might be a public subscription idea? Much like Netflix, with content on demand. How great would it be if we had a localised, publicly subscribed arts platform that created a revenue for people to create content and support artists, such as recorded theatre, dance, live music, virtual art exhibitions, local films, downloadable magazines etc. With the new shift in online platforming (due to covid) and rise in tech this could be one solution that gives us a chance? There are nearly 1,900,000 people in WY, what if a quarter of them paid £15 a month (same as a Netflix subscription) for local content? That could generate over £7m a month. I think it's clear the world is changing and we need to change with it, and platform models are the ones benefiting the most from this climate (Amazon, Netflix etc), but a collective and cooperatively owned platform would be very cool. Claudia Bowler

Sources of income for arts ...What the NHS looks like and where budgets lie is a bit complicated (as you have indicated) but there does seem to be potential for funding for health outcomes through arts, whether from public funding, third sector or private means. My role is paid out of health and care budgets. Also lots of interest in research here. Geraldine Montgomerie

What could we do to lay out some maps concerning the position of creatives to this new normal. Sohail khan

And now for me as an artist, like I said last night. Art needs to be my daily bread. I'm on this part of my journey now. Hansa Khadim

Universal Basic Income

When you [Susan Jones] mentioned rebooting, and rebooting the way we think about how artists contribute to us and how we can make sure their livelihoods are taken care of, I found myself thinking about UBI universal basic income. I say this because most of capitalism is driven by technology but when it comes to the arts our technology has remained the same. We always have to have stages, we always need to worry about acoustics, lighting, all of this. because we are at the trickle down economy of the world we don't get what we should: so i think universal basic income is a way of rebooting that view. Maybe if we could bridge some sort of devolution, regional basic income, maybe it's a thing, a scene to start... Tiffany Holloman 19.44

I was really pleased to hear about UBI because it was one of our [Green Party ] policies. It may be an idea that's time has come, we've had it for 20 odd years. I can see the benefit to artists and people who want to get involved in arts Andrew Cooper 23.31

We've only started recently, but there is now a UBI Lab Arts From Toby Lloyd 14:29:40 https://twitter.com/ubilabarts From Toby Lloyd 14:29:41

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/leeds-becomes-largest-city-uk-call-universal-basic-income-pilot-b468654.html From Hannah Bentley (she/her) 14:29:12 thanks for raising UBI Tiffany From Hannah Bentley (she/her) 14:30:12

On the discussion re UBI I wonder how it would work for art freelancers who move into work? Some of the research Joseph Rowntree Foundation has done to analyse UBI demonstrates that it is probably more effective to boost Universal Credit levels as it flexes when people move in and out of work, to prevent people from being pulled into poverty From Abigail Scott Paul - Leeds 2023 14:43:44

@abigail Scott Paul - UBI would not be affected by gaining or losing work. The whole point of UBI is that it would be unconditional and not means tested. From Toby Lloyd 14:46:12 https://www.ubilabnetwork.org/faqs From Toby Lloyd 14:47:20

Here’s link to JRF work https://www.jrf.org.uk/blog/universal-basic-income-not-answer-poverty From Abigail Scott Paul - Leeds 2023 14:48:31 are they any downsides to UBI? Enterprise Allowance Scheme of the 80s had a similar role in the arts and subsidised self-employment. But do such schemes 'let institutions off the hook' when it comes to paying properly for the things they need from artists and making them equal partners in the development of what they do any why From susanjonesarts 14:48:42

@susanjonesarts - UBI is not a silver bullet. It could be implemented badly. It would also need other policies to support it From Toby Lloyd 14:50:39

@susanjonesarts - biggest challenge is getting the public on board with UBI so that politicians see there’s an electoral dividend for them From Abigail Scott Paul - Leeds 2023 14:51:37 Biggest challenge! From Abigail Scott Paul - Leeds 2023 14:51:48

I agree Toby but as we are seeing right now policies can swiftly come and go in politics when there are seemingly more important things to do. The democratic processes are being squeezed in parliament like never before. From susanjonesarts 14:52:42

UBI should be defined as a human developmental necessity rather than an economic save-all! From Dr. Tiffany Holloman 14:53:07

Who takes part and how?

We are already know from copious amounts of research that the insidious club culture of the arts and creative industries is very bad for freelance artists and creatives. there is scant regard for equanimity in a funded arts infrastructure reliant on the surplus value derived from artists as their primary means of subsistence, but without demonstrating duty of care for them , providing economic, emotional, and social wellbeing for a vital constituency in the visual arts, the artists, needs more than a bit of a tweak. I don't think that equity will be achieved by looking to those working in existing hierarchies there are too many vested interests at play and institutions and their top teams always seem to see themselves and their posts as front and centre of any solution. Susan Jones 7.25

The provocation that i would like to make today is thinking about diversity in leadership, because the current cultural ecology in west Yorkshire , i feel like our communities are not necessarily homogeneous so our cultural activities cant be homogeneous, we need to think about representation ... a provocation that i would like all of you to think about, about the need for investment in leadership training of people from diverse backgrounds, arts practitioners from diverse backgrounds. Madiha Ansari 40.45

I would say in terms of diversity, what's important is diversity means lost of different things, it means lots of different things to me personally and we need to look at what that means when we talk about diverse, that could be a working class lad who likes to do graffiti whose not got the voice or the expression to be able to engage on that, so there is a lot of things we need to unpack around this. Sohail Kahn 45.40

the question was posed to me ... they said do you think there is a useful role for institutions given that they aren't financially viable with the models they've been led to believe and encouraged to develop? If they can't get enough subsidy and they can't get enough earned income , what happens to them? ... we have got, an extraordinarily expensive for the times ahead, certain kind of infrastructure, aided and abetted by copious amounts of National Lottery funding, which has come from the pockets of people who don't necessarily participate in the arts. Susan Jones 52.38

The community infrastructure and how it works , physically in buildings, in spaces, and then with things like this [online], and people in virtual space and how they coexist. Rochyne Delaney McNulty 53.45

To speak of the elephant in the room, the arts and culture sector is often dominated by the white middle class often lacking diversity. Mainstream arts funding often excludes minority communities be that race or faith. From Mohammed Ali Amla 14:45:11

I’m all for localised arts funding and commissioning, however there needs to be a rethink on arts and culture as a bridge which empowers communities which allows local people with the power to decide on the art being funded. I would also suggest that local authorities which are political institutions are not best placed for localised funding of the arts. From Mohammed Ali Amla 14:45:11

I would like to have heard more from a broader range of practitioners. What is happening about non artists taking part in the debate about art and culture. From DBest 15:02:11

Thanks for arranging a really interesting discussion. I think the things that stuck with me are the opportunity to amplify artists/creatives/smaller organisations/community voices and the chance to ensure that those voices are diverse in their representation. Kate Watson

What was missing? - What do we as audiences want and need? Morag Ballantyne

If we are serious about democratising and freelancing arts policy and about hyper local decision making, how do we make sure that we don’t just shift the power from existing gatekeepers/organisations to new gatekeepers/artists? Morag Ballantyne

The points on the need to have more diversity (specifically diversity of ethnicities and heritage in positions of leadership and decision making) stand out for me - and that this was raised by people who identified as being from an ethnic minority background. Which also means there’s still a lot of work for white people to be doing more to take on more of the labour to see this change. This isn’t a new point, but it is essential ,if we are looking to the future of the sector then it needs to be representative of the people who live in the locality. Myra Rowland

The resilience of artists struck a cord too, and the resilience of disabled artists and their praised response to how to cope in a pandemic, as they are more practised at living in difficult situations. And how they may be resilient out of a learned need to be, but that they shouldn’t need to have to be experts in resilience any more than anyone else in our society, if society was as accessible to them as to those who weren’t disabled. So something grates on me about praising resilience, as it is usually borne out of adversity, and it doesn’t seem healthy to be celebrating the way society currently functions and forces people to have to become resilient to survive. At the same time I do believe that people should of course be celebrated!! This point isn’t particularly articulate on my part – but it resonates with the need for a system change, particularly to create more balance and fairness in our current systems… Myra Rowland

The second thing that stuck was about diversity in leadership - the need to create training and pathways for people to disrupt the existing dominant power structures. This was particularly in relation to race and ethnicity. Hannah Robertshaw

The other thing that struck me (sorry, I'm going for a third) was the comment about 'if Leeds can be the home of Jet2, why can't we afford to pay £400 to a young artist to create a mural?' This highlights to me just how far down the wrong road we have travelled. Hannah Robertshaw

That word didn’t come up enough in the session either - community - and the role of art/artists in building it. Kerry Harker

Hi i have three projects on the go currently. one exhibition called Musical Mosaics at Leeds Museums from tomorrow and another exhibition at the Corn Exchange called The Imagined City with seven Leeds based artists responding to Leeds. I am also in the process of submitting an arts council application with Jonathan Turner based on the artist Atkinson Grimshaw. Please contact me on pauldigby@me.com for more info. From pauldigby 13:58:31

https://corridor8.co.uk/article/surviving-or-thriving-how-visual-artists-in-yorkshire-respond-to-being-called-resilient/ From Alice Bradshaw 14:18:11

https://www.ubilabnetwork.org/ From Toby Lloyd 14:28:52

https://twitter.com/ubilabarts From Toby Lloyd 14:29:41

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/leeds-becomes-largest-city-uk-call-universal-basic-income-pilot-b468654.html From Hannah Bentley (she/her) 14:29:12

UBI is unconditional and not means tested. From Toby Lloyd 14:46:12 https://www.ubilabnetwork.org/faqs From Toby Lloyd 14:47:20

Here’s link to JRF work https://www.jrf.org.uk/blog/universal-basic-income-not-answer-poverty From Abigail Scott Paul - Leeds 2023 14:48:31

for a history of work creation schemes for artists check out the strands of writing of @arestlessart and @arlenegoldbard - there is a zoom tomorrow morning and a series of pieces of writing on the parliamentofdreams website From susanjonesarts 14:32:03

Some of my thoughts on arts in Bilbao for info https://clrandrewcooper.blogspot.com/2019/03/huddersfield-town-centre-regeneration.html From Andrew Cooper 14:35:25

If you want to check out Bradford Producing Hub: www.bdproducinghub.co.uk or email me at lisam@bdproducinghub.org.uk From Lisa Mallaghan - Bradford Producing Hub 14:52:54

The eclipse slate report on the Slate programme and the reports from the work of the Freelancer Taskforce give ideas to take steps towards more diverse and democratic arts and culture in West Yorkshire eg https://eclipsetheatre.org.uk/news/1602-report-how-to-plant-magic-beans-and-build-rockets-to-the-moon From Cultural Institute 14:55:34

My blog clrandrewcooper.blogspot.co.uk and twitter @clrandrewcooper From Andrew Cooper 14:56:27

For anyone interested in failure there's research ongoing about failure in cultural participation led in Leeds https://www.culturalparticipation.co.uk/ From Cultural Institute 14:58:19

carlileinstitute www.carlileinstitue.co.uk From Kate Buchanan 14:59:41

A walk that I did near home for the 4th world congress of pychogeograhy a few years back. https://youtu.be/Nxs4v_rX5So Sohail Kahn

Jump to themes:
Regional Democracy - a recent timeline from West Yorkshire

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Oastler Market, Bradford - our neighbourhood, our regional democracy

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Conversations about the future of our region

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