The Regional Forum for Intercultural Arts is a quarterly meeting where artists, cultural officers, and venue representatives can come together to discuss issues relating specifically to Intercultural working.
Quarterly Meeting 2: Summary of Discussions and Recommendations.
Forum members divided into subgroups for the first part of the meeting. Due to illness and apologies subgroups merged: NEST (North East Sustained theatre) merged with the Venue Liaison subgroup and was facilitated by Nazli Tabatabai-Khatambakhsh.The Writers, Visual Artists and Musicians subgroups merged and were co-facilitated by Richard Neville and Wajid Hussain.The Regional Development and Tees Valley Artists subgroups merged and were facilitated by Oscar Watson.The Youth Engagement subgroup did not meet due to illness and other engagements.
The sustainability of the Regional Forum.
After great apprehension and despite the drop in the number of participants, there was general agreement that the meeting had been useful. A number of apologies had been received but by holding the meeting it was hoped the Forum would maintain some momentum.
- Participants said they had found the quarterly meeting useful.
- Some subgroups had not met or exchanged information since the first quarterly meeting.
- Participants said they appreciated the networking opportunities of the Regional Forum and wanted them to be developed to include social networking.
The ‘forced’ mergers of different subgroups prompted a discussion about the benefits of maintaining a smaller number of subgroups. It was agreed that the aims of the original groups could be pursued collectively.
- NEST+ Venue Liaison: it was agreed that this was an obvious pairing. If venue reps are involved in ideas for the development of intercultural performers and artists there will be no need to then approach and explain our ideas to them. Their contributions will be invaluable to the implementation of workable strategies.
- The “Writers + Visual Artists + Musicians subgroups” are to become the “Professional Development subgroup.” Members identified the similarities in their aims to present their work and in working to gain and provide access to training and other career development support. The subgroups will combine forces to create new opportunities for performance and presentation.
- Youth Engagement Subgroup: There was no discussion of merging or disbanding ‘YES’. The subgroup has met, shared information and responded to an opportunity to produce a Youth Arts Showcase as the Intercultural Arts opening of Black History Month 2009 at Dance City. It is unfortunate that Mo Lovatt was unwell and Monjer Rashid was not in Newcastle. YES will continue its aim to engage younger people into intercultural arts from all backgrounds as active participants.
- Regional Development + Tees Valley Artists: The Tees Valley Artists subgroup had been started to ensure Tees Valley artists are equally represented in a Newcastle-Gateshead –heavy Forum. It was suggested that awareness of the whole region needs to run through all of the subgroups. The Regional Development subgroup is to take main responsibility for implementing that aim. The key aim of the Regional Development subgroup is to coordinate the Forum’s sector-wide development ideas and to engage regional agencies.
Intercultural Arts was asked to review the structure of Quarterly Meetings. Based on suggestions…
- Before subgroup meetings, subgroup facilitators introduce the full Forum to the remit of their subgroup and the key issues to be discussed in the subsequent meeting.
- The Forum Facilitator will ask Forum members if they are seeking support on any issues that are not obviously the remit of one of the subgroups. Members will be encouraged to alert us to issues in advance of the meeting.
- If there are, they will be discussed and a subgroup facilitator will agree to address it in their subgroup.
- Subgroup facilitators will be available to discuss the business of the subgroup during a brief break before convening the subgroups in different rooms. Members will be encouraged to network and will be free to attend the subgroup of their choice – unless they have reports etc to deliver.
- After the subgroups and a refreshment break there will be a plenary to report on subgroup decisions and planned actions.
- The plenary will ‘traditionally’ end with “Pitch Point”: A Chance to promote activities, request support etc.
- We welcome suggestions for how to comply with the request to ensure more opportunities for networking.
Forum members offered information about opportunities, events and activities demonstrating the growth of intercultural arts in our region.
Kalapremi: Vidya Sarangapani spoke of the organisation’s upcoming 25th anniversary celebrations from 09/09/09 and its ongoing work of successfully programming South Asian arts in County Durham and working in partnership with other cultural organisations. See: http://www.kalapremi.org/
Hartlepool Council: Stephen Cash and Claire Irvine informed the Forum of several initiatives being undertaken in the borough including:Big Mix 09: 09 -11/09/09-“A Festival of Diversity”, “A celebration of difference”. Featuring a performance by Garner Harris of ‘Urban Horizons’, An ‘Pop Art’ exhibition by people with learning difficulties, an LGBT writing project and a project focusing on massage and the elderly ‘The Power of Touch’.
They spoke of their aim to engage minority communities in Dock Fest when the Tall Ships Race comes to Hartlepool in 2010: http://www.hartlepooldockfest09.com/
Cultural Officers Group: They organise meetings of people working for cultural organisations. Intercultural Arts aims to initiate a cultural officers group. It has linked with the Network of Cultural and Creative Industries:
“NOCCI” in Middlesbrough and aims to restart the dormant Newcastle group. Ultimately, we aim to link different networks across the region.
Gateshead Council: Sue Hurrell announced that she was programming the opening season of the soon to be refurbished Gateshead Old Town Hall as a cultural and performance venue. There will be open days on October 1st & 2nd.
Newcastle Council: David Faulkner explained the creation of a Business Improvement District in Newcastle and that the council was assessing the stock of unoccupied city centre buildings. A number of opportunities exist for landlords to offset their Business Rate and other costs by allowing enterprises –including creative enterprises to use dormant space. A number of agencies were mentioned including Waygood Gallery and Voluntary Arts England as sources of advice and support.
Blue Rain Productions: Dan Larson spoke of encouraging and supporting minority communities to tell their stories and raise their profiles through film and digital media. Union Support: it was mentioned that unions e.g. Unison are active in anti racism activities and campaigns and are open to engaging artists particularly to counter BNP development. They are also actively involved in Human Rights Week.
Zendeh: Nazli Tabatabai-Khatambakhsh promoted the company’s new show: Kismet which begins touring on 07/10/09. During the third week of the tour Zendeh will be leading artist workshops in Newcastle. Further information to follow. Nazli spoke of a desire to engage with artists who had or were contemplating international connections. – An “International Artists Group”.
Literary Agent: A writer stated his need for an agent and request advice and information.
Sage Gateshead: A number of initiatives are taking place at ‘the Sage’Mongel UK – intercultural youth performing group.Community Music Degree“Searching for Lear” – part of the Juice (young people’s) Festival.
Intercultural Arts: Oscar Watson announced that “NECDAF” aimed to work to become known as “Intercultural Arts” with “The North East Cultural Diversity Arts Forum” as an explanation for those who need one or suffer from nostalgia.
This is Black History Month 2009: In collaboration with Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, Intercultural Arts aims to produce a brochure of activities and events across the region. To launch the programme, the YES subgroup will be producing a Youth Art Showcase at Dance City featuring young people from different parts of Tyneside and presenting their visual and film art.
The Cultural Calendar: groups of young people in Teesside and Tyneside are taking workshops in digital photography and will enter a competition to produce images to illustrate a calendar highlighting dates of importance to minority ethnic communities and explaining how they are celebrated.
NOCCI Newcastle: As mentioned above, Intercultural Arts aims to attempt to revive the Newcastle creative network via its dormant “Facebook” page.
AGM/Quarterly Meeting 3: We aim to combine our Annual General Meeting with the next quarterly meeting of the regional forum. Our target date is 10/11/09 in the early evening, venue tbc. More details as soon as possible.
- There were more calls for agencies and organisations to share information.
- It is important that there is executive level awareness of the Regional Forum in public sector agencies.
- It was suggested that links be forged with Gateshead and Newcastle Arts Forum.
- There was a request for more information about what support is available for artists as well as for them to network.
If you have an idea, issue, request etc for the Regional Forum or a specific subgroup, please let us know. If you know of any intercultural artist who is not involved or has no profile on our website, please let us know and invite them to participate.
Remember: the website is updated daily with events and notices on the bulletin board from fund-raising to arts news. http://www.interculturalarts.co.uk
Oscar WatsonDirector, Intercultural Arts
Last Updated (Wednesday, 09 December 2009 13:35)