A transition of growth and change

19 May 2022

This month we welcome a third Co-Director, Ranjit Atwal, begin a process of transition and change to strengthen the CLA governance, mission and structure and had our second Advisory Panel meeting with inspiring speakers including Sanaz Amidi, CEO & Trustee, Rosetta Arts, a hub for art and creative learning in East London and much discussion on what we mean by Levelling Up through Cultural Learning.

Welcoming a new Co-Director

This month we welcome a third Co-Director, Ranjit Kaur Atwal, who will work alongside current Co-Directors Lizzie Crump and Sam Cairns leading on communications. Ranjit is a passionate advocate for cultural learning in schools and cites her own experiences of growing up in Smethwick, Birmingham, the child of working-class Punjabi Sikh immigrants as the reason. Whether it was dancing bhangra with her classmates, learning the steel drums, or creating grunge, comedy and angst-filled sketch shows, these were safe and inclusive spaces of expression, connection, and growth – something that every child should have the right to access. Bringing more than two decades of experience working in the arts, cultural and heritage sector, Ranjit’s work is rooted in building equitable and inclusive communications practices, dismantling systemic barriers, diversifying engagement and bringing people in. She looks forward to getting to know the CLA community and working with you to look at how we co-create and share the diverse stories of our unique network.

Change & growth in governance

The Cultural Learning Alliance has existed since 2010 as an informal Alliance, supported by trusts and foundations, working with its membership to champion the value of an arts-rich education to enable every child and young person to fulfil their potential. The context and landscape of this work has changed over this time, and the CLA is now entering into a period of organisational development to strengthen its governance, structure and strategic vision.

Over the next six months the three Co-Directors will continue to work with members and stakeholders on core CLA delivery, whilst they join the Strategy Group in a voluntary capacity as a new model is created, and as the CLA is constituted and strengthened in order to secure its long-term future. In October 2022, when the formally constituted CLA is launched, the Co-Directors will step away as the CLA determines its new organisational staffing requirements. The Strategy Group hopes that it will be possible to continue drawing upon their skills and experience in the future. 

"There will be plenty of time in the coming months for looking back on the achievements and of the last ten years, but we would like to state now that Lizzie and Sam’s contribution to the CLA over the past decade has been extraordinary. We are excited to be working with Ranjit, and to be forging firmer foundations for the future in a new cultural learning landscape, in partnership with our funders, sector colleagues, and membership."
Derri Burdon & Sally Bacon, CLA Co-Chairs

Listening to what our members need

In this period of change we will be mapping and auditing our current membership reach across the UK to address systemic barriers, widening our engagement channels and ensuring our membership offer is inclusive. Look out for more on this soon.

As the infrastructure for cultural learning is shifting it is vital, more than ever, that we build a stronger, equitable and sustainable CLA, and we can only do this by working closely with our membership networks.

We will keep you updated throughout this transition period, while we continue to champion the rights of every child and young person to access high-quality arts and culture that represents their lived-experience and heritage.