Voluntary Arts England part of partnership programme to receive £150,000 Arts Council England's Transforming Leadership funding

Image: Nic Winstanley£150k has been secured for a new project to develop creative leaders across North Staffordshire and Cheshire East.

Arts Council England announced today that the Placemaking and Co-Creation Leadership Programme, led by Staffordshire University, has successfully bid for funding from its Transforming Leadership Fund.

A total of £6m is being invested by Arts Council England in museums, libraries and arts across the country to help tackle skills gaps, a lack of diversity, and to support the continued growth and long-term sustainability of the sector.

Drawing upon the region’s rich creative heritage, the Placemaking and Co-Creation Leadership Programme intends to develop leaders who will play a transformative role in the future of the arts in the region.

Focussing on placemaking and co-creation, the programme will work with existing consortium networks, local authorities, higher education institutions and regional cultural organisations to address the needs of its rurally dispersed communities.

Carola Boehm, Professor of Arts and Higher Education at Staffordshire University, said:

We are absolutely delighted to be selected. We believe that the creative talent we have in North Staffordshire and Cheshire East deserves to be supported by a challenging and exciting leadership programme. We have a fabulous consortium of 17 experienced and creative organisations, who cannot wait to welcome the next generation of cultural and creative leaders to this partnership.

The two-year project, beginning in January 2020, aims to reach communities perceived to have low cultural engagement, and to identify a more diverse future talent pool of creative leaders. This will include working with existing organisations such as the Cultural Forum, B-Arts, Cheshire Dance, BCB, Appetite, Spare Parts, XTRAC, Voluntary Arts England, Arts&Heritage and the New Vic to support the creative talent already in the region.

Anne Torreggiani, CEO at The Audience Agency, said:

The Audience Agency are delighted to be co-delivery partners. Placing audiences at the centre of cultural programme design and decision making, can have a significant impact on both people and place. We look forward to inspiring the next generation of cultural leaders.

The training programme will involve residential stays, roundtable challenges and 1:1 coaching to develop knowledge and provide new skills covering a range of topics including business and digital skills, strategic partnership work, executive coaching and audience participation.

The project also aligns closely to the cultural strategies of project partners Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Cheshire East Council.

Councillor Lorraine Beardmore, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for sport, culture and leisure, added:

I’m delighted that we and the city’s Cultural Forum are partners in this exciting opportunity for the arts across the region. This programme will ensure our cultural leaders are suitably skilled to support the growth of the sector. The programme delivers on all of the main goals of our cultural strategy ‘Making the Creative City’, which is focused on growing the capacity and ambition of the sector and supporting strong leadership through mentoring and training opportunities. This new £150,000 award will certainly help to achieve these objectives. “Supporting people to realise their ambitions and achieve their potential is at the heart of this two-year project.

The Placemaking and Co-Creation Leadership Programme project partners are:

  • Staffordshire University (lead)
  • Staffordshire Coaching and Mentoring Hub (SCMH)
  • Keele University
  • Cheshire East Council
  • Stoke-on-Trent City Council
  • Stoke-on-Trent & North-Staffordshire Chambers
  • Arts&Heritage
  • The Audience Agency
  • Voluntary Arts England
  • North Staffordshire BCB
  • B-Arts
  • New Vic Theatre
  • Appetite
  • Stoke-on-Trent Cultural Forum
  • Cheshire Dance
  • Spare Parts

Supportive quotes:

Damien McGlynn, Communications & Partnerships Director, Voluntary Arts England, said:

We at Voluntary Arts England are delighted to be involved in this excellent programme. With the skills and confidence they need to progress, North Staffordshire and Cheshire East's budding cultural leaders will be well equipped to foster a more supportive environment for creative cultural activity across the region.

Councillor Nick Mannion, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for environment and regeneration, said:

We are delighted that this bid to Arts Council England has been successful and we are thrilled to be working as part of this consortium. This announcement comes just as a new Cultural Strategy for Crewe is to be launched. The strategy recognises the need for young people to have opportunities such as this – to gain experience and skills in creative and cultural industries and to develop strong leadership skills for the future.

Professor David Amigoni, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research & Enterprise) at Keele University, said:

This is a great example of local partners working together to help the cultural and creative industries develop and grow. Leadership plays a powerful role in any organisation, but these sectors have distinctive demands, and this funding allows us to build the right kinds of leadership development for the sector.