The Case for Culture North East
Annual Forum 21 January 2021
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Annual Forum 2021: Long Table Lunches

Long table lunches will take place during the forum on Friday 29 January from 1pm-2pm. If you didn’t sign up for a session when you initially registered and would like to join one of these group conversations, taking place between...

Long table lunches will take place during the forum on Friday 29 January from 1pm-2pm.

If you didn’t sign up for a session when you initially registered and would like to join one of these group conversations, taking place between 1pm and 2pm as part of the forum, then please send an email to and state which group you would like to join.

Recruitment, opportunity, fair pay. Hosted by Rebecca Ball, Sunderland Culture

What strategies are being implemented across organisations to ensure independent creatives are recruited and paid fairly? How is opportunity being widened and opened up at this moment? Is it? Where can best practice be identified?

Community building: Hosted by Phil Douglas, Curious Arts, and WTF Network

What can be gained from working in a more collective and networked way? Where are the examples of this working well that we can learn from? How have we built and maintained communities – and ideas of community – throughout 2020, and how can these be sustained?

Stabilisation, Survival, and Growth: Hosted by Hannah Matterson, Generator and Vikas Kumar, Gem Arts

How have organisations and independent creatives managed to stabilise over the last year?  Where are the examples of positive change and growth? How have organisations survived? How can they continue to survive and thrive?

Reports and the role of the Freelancers Task Force: Karen Traynor, Freelance Task Force North East Representative

Back in the summer of 2020, theatre producers FUEL instigated the Freelance Task Force, which saw arts organisations across the UK sponsor a group of 150+ arts freelancers to come together and ask what they need as freelancers to do their best work. Out of this, a number of smaller working groups were formed, and numerous reports were generated. This discussion will be hosted by one of the freelancers on the Task Force, Karen Traynor, who will use these experiences as a starting point to open up a conversation about how the needs and priorities of the independent and freelance creatives can be better understood, and voiced.

Culture of Workforce: Hosted by Leila D’Aronville, Tyne and Wear Cultural Freelancers

How is the culture of the independent workforce distinctive? How has the independent sector been self-organising and what strategies and tools have been used to amplify their voices?

Governance Structures: Hosted by Mark Robinson Thinking Practice, and Jo Cundall, Community Foundation

2020 highlighted the importance of strong governance and the role of boards. What can we learn from governance structures and board experiences over the last year that we want to take forward? How can governance structures of organisations become more open to creative independents?

Anti-Racism: What are the ways forward: Hosted by Degna Stone, poet and editor

In response to the BLM movement, a group of North East organisations came together to denounce racism, many making pledges about the changes they will instigate within their organisations and practice. This discussion will ask the pressing question: what next?

Climate Emergency: Hosted by Stella Hall, Festival of Thrift

Last year, NECP’s Annual Forum focussed on the Climate Emergency. This conversation will offer a space to reflect on changes that organisations and independent creatives have implemented in response to this unfolding crisis, and focus on how the sector can work together to catalyse real change.

Higher Education and Independent Creatives: Hosted by Julie Crawshaw and Steve Gilroy, Northumbria University Department of Arts and Vee Pollock, Newcastle University

How can Higher Education institutions and creative independents work together effectively? What examples are there of good practice? What plans are afoot?

View the delegate pack, including programme, schedule and speaker biographies

View the text-only delegate pack

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