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AD:uk Conference 2011 Reports

The 2011 AD:uk National Conference took place at The Winter Gardens, Blackpool on 13th & 14th October 2011, a partnership event with Blackpool Council. The conference attracted a total of 122 delegates (including presenters and breakout leaders/facilitators), a decrease on last year’s event in Blackpool, but very encouraging given the prevailing financial restraints.

In a change to last year’s programme, which had one optional study tour, we re-introduced study tours as a integral part of the programme and started the event programme with 3 different options. Delegates seemed to enjoy all three tours this year.  Last minute changes due to the availability of the Shadow Culture Secretary (who was involved in a cabinet reshuffle the week before the conference) meant that we lost our keynote speaker for the first day. Mhora Samuel, the Director of the Theatres Trust offered an alternative by discussing the National Planning Framework consultation, which ended a few days after the conference.

The Friday keynote speech by Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of Derry-Londonderry City of Culture for 2013 was inspirational and the visits to the Funny Girls Cabaret and Blackpool’s new Comedy Pavement were cited as one of the highlights of the Conference.

For members who could not attend, we are in the process of placing in this page area a number of presentations and reports from the conference this year, which are available below in a  selection of Word, PDF, presentation and audio files and we hope you find them useful:

Friday Conference Introductions & Mike Garry presentation (Poet in residence):

Shona McCarthy Keynote Presentation

Shona McCarthy Q&A :

Arts & Health SW Presentation:

Central Lancashire Arts Health Network presentation:

Creativity Works Presentation:

Louise Hesketh (Exploring Halton’s Collections):

Reading’s Cultural Partnership:

Sallie Wocha (Centuary Theatre Presentation):

Karen Dick (Creative Scotland Presentation):


Celebrating Lancashire in 2012 notes

Open Forum Strategic Commissioning14-10-11

ADuk Professional Fellowship Programme Powerpoint Editable

AD-uk Professional Development Open Forum notes

Conference Evaluation Report

We will leave the final words to our Poets in Residence, Mike Garry and Tony Walsh:

A Process of Illumination

“Good morning campers”
Welcome to Blackpool
Where the lights kiss the sea
A haven
A beauty
Broadening Horizons
I woke to a slate grey sky
Bike rides to cloak rooms in autumnal winter gardens
To sign-ins
Big screens
Handshakes and “All right mate”
Goodie bags and delicate delegate badges
Then the Firework
Hold on Hold on
“It’s being so cheerful as keeps me going”
See the comedy carpet
The kiss me quick
Rides on Donkeys
Ballroom dancing on the top of the tower
“This is where people fall in love”

Fall in love?
“My arse”
Dirty weekends in Dirtier B and B’s
Queues outside Greggs and Quality Save
Even the pound shop has closed down

Look at the Winter Gardens
A palace for the people
Where children’s smiles sparkle
Where art is a tardis
Making us bigger inside
Transporting us up and down the Golden Mile

“Does My bum look big in this?”
Love bites and special needs
Vulnerable adults promenade the promenade
Hand in hand in mobility scooters and wheel chairs
Doris and Dave sharing culture tales and free ticket for Bobby Davro live at the Opera house

The most famous holiday destination in the world
Where millions flock each year
Conferences illuminating big society and talk of volunteers
Expanding minds and magic arts officers disappear and reappear
Touching bases
Remembering old faces in a time where art is last on the list

“On behalf of the working classes”
My pints of bitter have been served in plastic
Not in Chrystal glasses
What is art?
Jerry Shadowitz?

Art is a magic tree
We grow amongst its branches
Its fruit is electric

Yes, Shocking
We are all on a rollercoaster ride
Going down the hill
And the ripple of cuts will soon be like the waves of the cold North Sea
A Tsunami to the artist
“Nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more”

But art changes lives it revives
Helps the sun to shine
“It’s turned out nice again”
Passionate caring people
Allowing everyone to rise together
Within their arts
Art is wealth
Art heals mental health
Art is valuable

You think everything is
“Super – smashing – great”
Look around – up and down
The bulbs have blown in the Chrystal chandeliers
The glass ceiling is encrusted in seagull shit
And we have a blue plastic sheet for a sky
I’m an artist and this is enough to make me cry

“Sorry to interrupt” – look beyond the plastic sheet to new horizons
Have you seen the blue sky?
The new illuminations
Expansion and growth
See artist arting
Working and creating without a dime
Running and fighting all the time

I’m slow learning to navigate these new horizons
But “it’s hard being a cowboy from Rochdale”
And I’m a vulnerable in this new blue world
Come on
Boost my ambition

Remember the early words of today
Of Derry/London Derry
Of Shona and her mate Shay

“So hope for a great sea change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that a farther shore is reachable from here
Believe in miracles and cures and healing wells.”

Mike Garry & Tony Walsh (Poets in Residence)

Click to hear an audio version of the poem, read by Mike Garry.

All photographs are credited to Yannick Dixon, our Photographer in residence.