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Connected Culture

Art In Our Big Society

Art In Our Big Society was Connected Culture’s first event that took place at The Albany in October 2010 and launched the network. 

The nearly 100 attendees included participants, people who worked for participatory arts companies, independent practitioners, funders including Arts Council England, and students at the beginning of their careers. A rich diversity of communities were represented including older people, refugees, homeless people, people with learning disabilities, and people who have experienced mental health issues.

Rather than a day of straightforward discussion, we gave Art in Our Big Society attendees the opportunity to experience workshops, performances and discussions.  Attendees chose from an array of activities including performances by Enterlechy and Corali, workshops led by Spare Tyre and Streetwise Opera, and discussions led by Dominic Campbell from Bealtaine and Paul Heritage from People’s Palace Projects.

To end the day the attendees collected together to debate: “Good arts or good intentions?”. Chaired by Baroness Elizabeth Barker, the panellists were Alan Dix (Theatre 503), Isaac Ngugi (Unclassified Arts), Vicky Lee (a member of Spare Tyre’s Company of Artists), Kate Organ (Baring Foundation), Louise de Winter (National Campaign for the Arts), Esther Haines (Nightingale House).

People who attended Art in Our Big Society had this to say:

Very well thought through, giving an opportunity for people to express their work. Enjoyed the event, hope to have more.

I’m not an expert, I’m a student just starting out in this area, trying to learn all I can and I learned a lot about the challenges that face this area of theatre. 

I really enjoyed the experience.  It challenged some of the opinions I held and gave me a lot to think about.

Alan Dix speaking at 'Art In Our Big Society'

Corali performing at 'Art In Our Big Society'