Dr Nick Owen MBE PLUS

Working in and on the Business of Cultural Education

Day  50 .. …  ..  … Big  …. Up: Reimaginings

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After a long period of silence, Arts Council England are announcing the results of their long-awaited investment decisions on arts funding on Friday 4 November.  

The Mighty Creatives are waiting in trepidation along with everyone else in the sector. So, in the spirit of hoping for the best but planning for the worst, our period of not-quite-silence on the reflections of our past and re-imaginings of our futures continues unabated.

If this period of not-quite-silence is getting on your nerves, you could do a lot worse than to support our Mighty (Un)Mute  campaign here. One thing I promise: if you can help us reach our target, I’ll never ask you ever again!  You will have well and truly shut me up 🙂

Today’s reflection: Act4Change: what binds us?

People say to me that there’s no such thing as the East Midlands. That the region is a figment of some politicians’ imaginations, cooked up in the back streets of Westminster back in the day when politicians carved up several regional and national boundaries, along with their breakfast bacon and eggs, not only here but across the world.

Many of you will know that Africa, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent have all been on the receiving end of British politicians who have tended to cause disruption, distress and dismay with their arbitrary carving up of regions and communities so that people are left confused and bewildered about where they live, who their neighbours are and who they belong to.

A few years ago I was riding a train one day back from the Taj Mahal to Delhi in India and found myself completely baffled about what was it that bound the people of India: a country with over 1.3 billion people, more than 2000 ethnic groups and with representatives from every major religion, who between them, utter all four major families of the world’s languages across its vast land mass.

What binds you all together? I asked of a fellow traveller who was sat next to me on that rickety rackety train which stumbled along at an average speed of no more than 10mph. What connects the man or woman in the south of this huge country to the man or woman in its north? His answer was swift, decisive and simple: cricket.

For him, cricket provided the solution to the challenges posed by geography, language and faith. Cricket bound his people to a common cause and in doing so, allowed the country to celebrate the achievements of its communities throughout the ages.

And that’s what we’re doing here tonight, albeit in a more modest way. With all of you who’ve travelled the journeys you have – and I don’t just mean the physical travel up or down the regional motorways or train lines – but the emotional and psychological challenges you will have faced during the time you worked with on your Act4Change project – all of you are here because you’ve been bound by the power of art and culture.

In your work on your Act4Change projects, you’ve demonstrated the power of storytelling, of radio, of photography, drama, music, art, fashion and literature. It’s these things which have brought you together tonight and bind you to a greater cause.

The power in your art means that not only have you achieved great things for you and your communities, but you are now empowered to make even greater social and cultural changes in your lives to come across the region which you are creating because of your inspiration and commitment.

We’re delighted to be celebrating those journeys with you and to celebrate the power of your achievements and your artistic ambition, endeavour and insights.

Tonight is about recognising that the power of the East Midlands – its identity and place in the world – is being made by you, its children and young people.

Keynote speech at the launch of The Mighty Creatives Act4Change event at Attenborough Arts Centre, 4 May 2017: projects designed to challenge young people to change their communities through the power of art and culture.

  • The programme exceeded planned targeted resulting in:
  • 878 children and young people participating in the programme
  • 267 of those participating directly influencing change in local communities
  • 385 children and young people gaining a better understanding of local communities
  • 18 events delivered by partners, sharing knowledge and exchanging models of practice
  • 272 children and young people with improved communication and leadership skills
  • 158 young people taking leadership roles as part of the programme
  • 154 qualifications achieved by children and young people
  • 105 organisations supporting young people led social action
  • 30 social action projects happening across the region
  • £30K invested in project awards to young people in their communities
  • 28 films, exhibitions, performances, songs, recordings, live radio, newsletters, social media, presentations and awards events produced and shared in local communities and regional network event

Author: drnicko

Awarded an MBE for services to arts-based businesses, I am passionate about generating inspiring, socially engaging, creative practice within educational contexts both nationally and internationally.

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