In 2017, What Next? collaborated with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and Liverpool Institute of Cultural Capital on Phase 1 of their Inquiry into the Civic Role of Arts Organisations.
Phase 1 explored the value and potential role arts organisations have in promoting civic engagement and revitalising communities. Through research and consultation it sought to develop an understanding of what constitutes ‘next practice’ and seed a network for future activity.
As part of this process, we commissioned three artist groups to work with communities across the UK and ask what they think the civic role of an arts organisation should be and four What Next? Chapters who worked with local partners to understand the role of arts organisations within their geographical context.
Commissioned artists Rebecca Manson Jones and Deborah Mason working in the Aylesbury Estate in Southwark, London, Kyle Walker and the Creative Experts at Contact Theatre worked in North Manchester and Sally Tonge in Shropshire. The artists collaborated with underserved communities to ask what they thought the civic role of an arts organisation should be. More about the projects here.
The four chosen locations were Basingstoke, Nottingham, Sunderland and Yarmouth and Lowestoft. The What Next? Chapters in these places led the studies, working with local partners, networks and the general public. In each location their research helped us to understand the role of arts organisations within the local community, find out what people want from their arts organisations and learn how the sector can support future activity. More about the projects here.
In April 2016, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation UK Branch launched a three phrased inquiry into the Civic Role of Arts Organisations. The Inquiry seeks to increase awareness of the civic role that arts organisations play nationally and in their communities. The first phase was intended to tackle the definitions, scope and remit of the inquiry. Its activity includes in-depth research and widespread consultation to understand what constitutes ‘next practice’ and seed a network for future activity.
You can visit the Inquiry Website to find resources, case studies, tools and publications relevant to the civic role of arts organisations #civicrolearts