NGCV members BALTIC, Sage Gateshead, Northern Stage and Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (Great North Museum) played host to a major 3-day conference in October. Hailed as a great success, the Culture Action Europe (CAE) annual conference came to Tyneside on 9-11th October with over over 180 cultural leaders and thinkers from across Europe participating in three days of debates.
The event opened at Newcastle University with thought provoking presentations about the role of art in the digital age and the power of new collaborations across artforms, with digital media and within and across communities to solve complex societal problems. At NGCV venues over the next two days, the conference engaged delegates in discussions about the cultural sector's role and capacity to evolve to changing economic and social environments and challenges, European Union support and opportunities, demonstrating the sector's impact, new economic models and how culture can transform cities. The power of networks and collective action was another key theme, leading to discussion about how to influence political agendas and affect positive change from the grassroots upwards.
Clymene Christoforou (ISIS Arts and CAE Board member) and Julia Bell (Contemporary Visual Arts Network) lobbied to host the conference in NewcastleGateshead and secured support from NGCV, Newcastle and Gateshead Councils and NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Northumbria and Newcastle Universities, as well securing funding from Culture North East (the region's Culture Partnership supported by the Assembly of North East Councils), Arts Council England, the British Council and Creative Europe to bring the conference to the area.
"We thought this was a good time to have it in the North East, just after the Scottish referendum when the issue of devolution has been on the agenda, and also because of the recent ROCC (Rebalancing Our Cultural Capital) report which makes the case for rebalancing funding away from London.”
Previous conferences have been held in European capital cities, but Luca Bergamo, CAE Secretary General, said that, "At a crucial moment for the UK in Europe, this joint backing and the quality of the proposal placed NewcastleGateshead as our first choice to host the international conference. Across Europe we are striving to strike balances: balances in cultural investments inter-regionally as well as between regions and their capitals; balances between continental futures and national pasts. Failure to find a fair balance for cultural investment in a time of spending reviews risks neglecting our basic human right to access the arts and science and hampers the equality of opportunity for social and economic development."
Jim Beirne, Chief Executive of Live Theatre and Chair of the NGCV CHief Executive's group said that " NGCV is delighted that CAE's annual conference is being held in NewcastleGatseshead. The theme of the conference has a deep resonance with the 10 building based cultural institutions that make up NGCV. In the past these cultural organisations have been part of a £300million culture-led regeneration in NewcastleGateshead. The success of this investment underlines the power of art and culture to change and renew the society in which we live. A city with a great cultural offer is a place that is safe, friendly, economically successful and is growing the social capital of the place."
Click on the links below for more information about the conference discussions and Culture Action Europe: