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Notes from the Chair 1/11/11

For those of you able to attend our conference, thank you and I hope you found it as enjoying and as stimulating as I did. My over-riding feeling after the two days was one of a collective sense of commitment to the task in hand: we know that times aren’t easy, we know that there aren’t going to be any quick solutions, but we also know that what we do matters even more right now. Blackpool itself was inspirational: a town working with the warp and weft of its history and its communities to build a sense of creative and cultural momentum. The newly unveiled Comedy Carpet brings this to life: a work of modern art with both instant appeal and the capacity to surprise and challenge over time (find out more at www.comedycarpet.co.uk). In Blackpool, a long-term, cross party, commitment to culture is making a real difference.

 The other key message from our conference is that our Professional Fellowship scheme is now up and running. I strongly urge you to take advantage of this programme: accessible through the website, the scheme will help you record and demonstrate your commitment to professional development.

 In the rest of the world, my first task on returning from the conference was to submit the AD:uk response to the National Planning Policy Framework consultation, which featured in last week’s e-zine. I very much hope that the collective concerns expressed by the cultural sector can make a difference, as this will affect the position of arts and culture, and our capacity to support local communities, not just now, but well into the future.

 We now have another consultation to respond to, this time one that you should all welcome. Glamorously titled “Consultation on proposal to examine the deregulation of Schedule One of the Licensing Act 2003”, this is in fact an area of licensing law where we have been working for a change for some time now, as the proposal is to lift most arts and cultural events for audiences of less than 5,000 out of category of regulated entertainment. As with all significant change the long term implications are difficult to imagine, but I can immediately think of some remarkable spaces and places which this change could bring into use for one-off and temporary arts events. The consultation closes on 3 December and we will be putting in a formal response from AD:uk shortly before that date. You can find more information on the consultation here http://www.culture.gov.uk/consultations/8408.aspx and I would very much welcome your contributions and comments to help put that response together. 

 This week also saw the publication of the Review of Arts Council England Investment Process 2010/11, by Genista McIntosh, along with Alan Davey’s response. The review is both cogent and fair: recognizing the huge strides made by the Arts Council and acknowledging that there is still more to do. Please find time to read it. 

Finally, I would very much like to thank Lorna Brown, for her professionalism, determination, and commitment to AD:uk during her time as Chair. I can only hope I do justice to her hard work.
Jane Wilson
Chair of AD:uk
Tel: 01353 669022 Email: jane.wilson@adec.org.uk