Cultural Learning Alliance

It is more important to invest in education for a civilised society for the future than to entertain ourselves now.

Anthony Sargent, Director General, The Sage, Gateshead
ImagineNation: The Case for Cultural Learning

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Achieving Great Art for Everyone: the CLA response to the Arts Council

Published 20 April 2010
 

By 2021 we all know things will be different. The Arts Council has made some assumptions about what that will look like and the context in which the arts will operate. They’ve taken on board that we’ll have a new generation of  ‘digital natives’ in the creative arts, our population will be different, climate change will be a priority and we’ve yet to see the fall-out from the recession.

In Achieving Great Art for Everyone they’ve then come up with a vision for the future and have set out five goals to achieve the Arts Council’s championing, developing and investing functions:
  • Goal 1: Talent and artistic excellence are thriving and celebrated
  • Goal 2: The arts leadership and workforce are diverse and highly skilled
  • Goal 3: More people value and enjoy the arts
  • Goal 4: Every child and young person has the opportunity to experience the richness of the arts
  • Goal 5: The arts sector is sustainable, resilient and innovative

We’ve broadly welcomed the Arts Council’s view of how the future might look and their five goals for moving toward the future.

Of course, we are particularly pleased that children and young people remain a priority for the Arts Council. We’ve suggested the Arts Council’s role should prioritise: advocacy to put arts learning at the heart of government policies, plans and strategies; investing in arts organisations that prioritise learning and work in partnership with others; ensuring arts leaders understand and value arts with and for children and young people; sharing and evaluating evidence; and working in partnership across culture to enable a coherent approach to cultural entitlement.

But we’d like to see more about the development of young people’s talent in Goal 1. If the aim is to have a diverse pool of talent, then surely this starts by ensuring young people have opportunities to engage and develop their interests and talents. There should be better identification of talented young people and support for their development, and clearer progression routes into careers.

We know from our consultation that workforce development and leadership are central to both growth and excellence. We’ve suggested the Arts Council’s leadership, investment and influence in this area should take into account workforce development for arts practitioners working in the learning sector. And we strongly support the embedding of leadership skills in education and learning, via the Arts Council’s leadership programmes.

Finally, we strongly agree that the sector needs to work more closely together, with partners from the wider cultural sector and, in the case of arts learning, with the education sector. Our consultation identified working in partnership as the most effective way of delivering a better future offer for children and young people. This should involve – as the Arts Council has identified – better sharing of knowledge and a more connected approach to advocacy.

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Youth Ensembles - The Sage Gateshead has 6 regional youth ensembles covering a wide variety of musitcal styles, including Folkestra and Young Sinfonia. Photo: Mark Savage
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