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Notes from the Chair 24th May 2012

This week, the first full week of the torch relay, I’d really like to give credit to all of you up and down the country who are working so incredibly hard to pull off something amazing in your patch. It’s difficult for people not involved to imagine the sheer number of hours that go into planning and preparation. I hope the sun shines for all of you!

Knowing the huge range of different roles taken up by arts officers in relation to the torch got me thinking about how our role is changing. For me, the last week, amongst other things, included two days reviewing the financial health, specifically income generating strategies, of my own organisation (and all is well thankfully). Another day was spent working on the business case for expanding festival and venue activity in rural Cambridgeshire. I think I managed to fit in 10 minutes to chat to the artists installing the latest exhibition in our gallery.

 Sometimes this all feels very remote from the activities I set out to do, with remarkably little art to be seen. But in the same week, I did manage to see an excellent, young person-led play, developed with almost no adult involvement, other than that they were using a space that was only there because of the work of a local authority arts officer, and with the very light touch support of a local arts development worker, who had previously run a ‘how to…’ programme with them.
So, maybe the art is sometimes less visible in my day-to-day work, but the importance of bringing a passion for the arts into the world of the business case and financial planning, and explaining to businesses why the arts matters. It is absolutely crucial. Our actions today make a huge difference to that space for the arts; not just tomorrow, but well into the future.
And in that spirit I hope to see as many as possible of you on 20th June at our Creative Economies seminar, where we have a whole day to share and develop knowledge, and build our skills to make that creative case.
Jane Wilson
Chair of AD:uk
Tel: 01353 669022 Email: jane.wilson@adec.org.uk