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Russians rate NGCV

16th November 2017

We were delighted to host a group of 20 delegates from Russia's Cultural Mosaic programme this week at Theatre Royal to share information and learning about why and how we work in partnership and what impact we have. 

Cultural Mosaic is a network of towns and villages across Russia exploring new meanings, models and solutions for regional growth, with culture as the driver for socio-economic challenges. It is supported by the Timchenko Foundation and the Cultural Management Programme of the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences.

The Foundation runs a competition to seek participants in the programme and this year there are 16 different organisations from every region in Russia represented.  The group visiting the UK includes  managers of cultural venues and who deliver local cultural strategies and projects, Local Authority leaders and the Executives from the Cultural Mosaic programme and Timchenko Foundation. 

Philip Bernays welcomed the group to Newcastle and Theatre Royal.  They were interested in the fact that the theatre and all the other members of NGCV are charities or not-for-profit organisations, their business model, as well as the audiences and learning and participation programmes.

Declan Baharini talked to them about the recent history of the region and the role of culture in economic and social regeneration.  She did a presentation on NGCV as a partnership, our origins and evolution, our aims and objectives and the principles of how we work together, as well as highlighting examples of work.  These included the behind the scenes activities of the HR Network, Finance Directors and Facilities Managers and Green Campaign and the efficiencies and standards of excellence that we achieve together.  Declan also shared the latest Economic Impact Assessment headlines and how that report is produced in partnership with all venues providing financial information.

The Russian delegation was also very keen to understand more about the work of the Learning and Participation Network and Audience Development Group and public engagement initiatives and approaches, including Family Explorers NE and the new ambitious approach around transforming the lives of children and young people, City of Dreams.

The collaborative leadership approach of Chief Executives and across the partnership and the model of partnership working was also something which they thought could be of value and transferable to their situations and they even asked if the NGCV model was something that they could include in the Cultural Management programme in Moscow.

Maria Morozova, Managing Director of the Timchenko Foundation said, "This partnership model is of real interest to us and we have learned so much in a short time and would like to know more. Bringing cultural managers from Russia to see different ways of working is a really important way of helping us to think in different ways and learn from good practice in other countries to then take back to Russia and see what we can adapt and implement."

Olga Karpova, the Dean of the Faculty of Cultural Management at the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences said, "NGCV is such an interesting model that we would like to introduce this learning into our Cultural Management Programme."

Declan Baharini said, "We are always keen to share learning about our partnership, what works and also the challenges that we have with people who are interested, both in the UK and beyond.  Recently, as well as this Russian delegation, we hosted a full day visit from Northern Ireland partners looking into collaborative working, have shared our model with an emerging consortium in Leeds and next week, will be talking to with Swedish cultural leads on an exchange with Arts Council England NE. Partnership working is an ongoing process of learning and developing, so we are always keen to share, but also learn, from others."

Jennifer Hinves, formerly at Newcastle University and now freelance, teaches on the Cultural Management Programme in Moscow and has both organised and is supporting the Russian Cultural Mosaic visit. 

The delegation will be in the UK for a week and have visits scheduled to Alphabetti Theatre, New Bridge Artists and The Biscuit Factory in Newcastle, across Northumberland (Seaton Delaval Hall, Woodhorn, November Club, Alnwick Playhouse, Highlights Rural Touring Scheme, as well as Berwick Visual Arts), in Durham (The Forge, Beamish and Durham City) as well as to Scotland's National Museum and Creative Edinburgh.