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Another Conversation about Access to the Arts? - Part One

If we need to keep talking about it, we’ll keep talking about it. We look forward to a time when we don’t but we ain’t there yet.

At Spektrix, we see our role in the arts as more than just a software supplier. The 360+ arts organisations we partner with will already be familiar with the consultative and strategic work that we do, as well as our regular contributions to the sector through research, events and sharing our (occasionally loud mouthed) opinions. Thus, here we are with the first in a series of blogposts discussing access and participation in Scotland and the wider cultural community.

It’s great that the Scottish Government is committed to developing a culture strategy which aims to be inclusive and celebrates Scotland's rich, diverse cultures and heritages, and we were interested to read the engagement report they put out in March of this year. Not surprisingly, some of the challenging areas the report highlights include inequality and a lack of diversity and socio-economic representation in our workforces and audiences. This doesn’t come as a huge shock to many of us however it’s not all doom and gloom. We also know in our hearts that there are some great practical solutions already knocking about that could be shared and put into practice sooner rather than later.

So, after conversations with our friends at Culture Republic, who are just as passionate about the state of the industry as us, we realised we could collaborate to create a safe space for Scottish arts professionals to talk about some recent (and not so recent) challenges with specific reference to the access and participation in the arts. We also felt that the timing was critical, given the recent negative press around confusing funding decisions and abrupt departures at Creative Scotland.

Ashley Smith Hammond from Culture Republic and our Partnerships Manager, Anna Wiseman, chaired "Culture Solutions Crowdsourcing : Access & Participation" roundtable event, which was kindly hosted by the Tron Theatre in Glasgow. It was brilliant to come together with arts organisations from across Scotland, including the Traverse Theatre, National Theatre of Scotland, the Tron, Citizens Theatre, Platform and Centre for Contemporary Arts. What ensued was a lively, passionate and informed discussion about the challenges facing these organisations and (because we arts professionals cannot help ourselves when it comes to problem solving), a raft of potential solutions - some tried and tested and some new and exciting. A good example of this is the community ambassadors that Citizens Theatre have put in place to strengthen lines of communication between the venue and participants.

Coming up in our next blog post on this will be a more detailed delve into the issues that arose and the solutions that were suggested to turn those feelings of...

 

 
into much healthier relationships built on...       

*actual post-its jotted down at our roundtable event.