Policy Review Working Party- an invitation and proposal
Believing that there is a pressing need for artists and arts organisations to develop a set of ideas about the value and purpose of the work they do, in order to make meaningful and informed interventions into future policy development and consultation processes, Belfast Exposed proposes setting up a Policy Review Working Party. The purpose of the working party would be to open up informed debate through critical review of arts and cultural policy, identifying and wherever possible, establishing areas of common ground within the visual arts sector.
We may not discover a consensus of opinion across this extremely diverse sector, on the other hand we may well discover points of convergence and areas of shared concern. At the very least we would learn more about each other’s thinking and ways of working as well as creating a space where information and ideas can be shared.
We suggest bringing together a group of around 6-8 people and Belfast Exposed is offering take the lead on setting the agenda for initial discussions. However group members should be prepared to take ownership of the process and put forward their own ideas for discussion and analysis, based on practical experience and individual knowledge and concerns.
Meetings would begin with a member of the group making an initial presentation around a chosen topic. Meetings would be chaired and minuted. While the discussions will benefit from being ‘off the record’ (the Chatham House rule will be applied), it is hoped that the group will finally publish a discussion paper for the scrutiny of the wider arts sector at which point some kind of shared strategy might be developed, through work-shopping the ideas in an open forum. We would like to get the group underway as soon as possible with a view to publishing a discussion paper by the end of September 06.
The first discussion is proposed for Friday 12th May at 4.00-5.30 pm at Belfast Exposed gallery, 23 Donegall Street, Belfast, focussing on the following set of questions:
Arts Council NI has acknowledged the strategic implications of its decision to shut down the Ormeau Baths Gallery in terms of the opportunity the closure presented to “ broaden the appeal of this particular gallery space to the wider public and to provide greater opportunities to artists”.
What is the validity of this statement in relation to the OBG’s programming and commissioning record? In a more general context, what does ‘broadening the appeal’ of an arts organisation actually mean, what does it involve and how is it measured? Finally, in what ways do definitions and strategies for accessibility impact on the role and function of artists and arts organisations?
I propose to offer a short opening presentation, but the main purpose is to get a discussion going around the table and to generate ideas for future debate.
If you have a background in the arts, either at a practical or policy level, and feel you could commit 3 hours a month to take part in meetings between May and September, and are prepared to take an active role in presenting and developing ideas, please give me a call or send an email no later than Monday 8 May. In the meantime if you would like to know more don’t hesitate to call:
T: +44 028 9023 1623