In October 2022, Culture Collective hosted a two day event, featuring an ‘Open Space’ workshop and a public showcase – both at the beautiful Dundee Contemporary Arts. Over two days, Culture Collective projects from across the country shared ideas, work and experiences.
Day one – our Open Space, was hosted by the talented folk at Improbable, who held a flexible, welcoming space for artists and coordinators from across the network to ‘call sessions’ on topics that mattered to them, then to come together in self-selected groups of shared interest. Sessions looked at topics as diverse as ‘Incorporating parenthood into practice’, ‘How can people who can only work part time be supported to contribute fully?’, ‘What are the things we really want to do but never make time for?’ and ‘How can artists change the way people see the world?’.
This kind of flexible, open, in-person time together was really valued by the creative practitioners, who are often working separately to one-another on a day to day basis: “I gained a lot from both days and felt a real sense of being part of something much greater than our project. I’ve also been inspired by ideas from elsewhere that could work with us too”.
On day two – the public showcase, attendees from Scottish Government, Creative Scotland and creative organisations from across the country witnessed 24 presentations from 15 of the 26 Culture Collective member projects. They also had the opportunity to ‘deep dive’ into two of the projects, with an Alternative Tour of Dundee led by Creative Dundee, and a screening of the feature film Notes from a Low Orbit, by Mark Lyken, artist in residence at Alchemy Film and Arts.
Minister for Public Finance, Planning, and Community Wealth, Tom Arthur MSP, sent his welcome remarks to open the showcase, reflecting on the impact of Culture Collective projects and artists over this first 18 months:
“As a network, you have shown resilience, ingenuity and kindness in supporting people and local communities to respond creatively to the challenges of Covid-19. Collectively, you have demonstrated the power of the arts to leverage real change; you have created meaningful employment opportunities across Scotland; and you have brought joy and supported wellbeing at a time when this has been sorely needed.”
We’ve put together a gallery of photographs from the two-day event, taken by Lydia Smith of Miss Lydia Photography. Do scroll through to get a sense of the event, and see a few of our highlights…
A note on event accessibility
At Culture Collective, we’re working toward a principle we’re calling ‘how we would like it to be’. It’s a simple concept that involves imagining a better way of doing things, and then trying our best to work toward that. In the delivery of the Culture Collective Open Space and Showcase, that meant we:
- Held the events in a location most folk across Scotland are able to reach in a few hours – and paying for travel and accommodation costs.
- Started events slightly later in the day (10.45am for an 11am start) so people can travel on the day without too early a start.
- Making both days hybrid, with online events running in parallel to both live sessions.
- Paid creative practitioners for their time to attend, with additional fees for those presenting or sharing work.
- Covering the costs of a wide range of access needs. All films were captioned, we had live BSL interpretation and captioners, and we paid for support for additional access needs, including childcare.
- Only using wheelchair accessible venues, making a quiet space available, and drawing attention to visual access guides, gender neutral toilets, baby changing facilities, and so on.
- Inviting people to share their pronouns (including on our name badges) and visual descriptions when presenting.
It’s not perfect, but we’re trying, and hopefully we’re getting closer to how we would like it to be. We’ll keep sharing these notes in an attempt to increase transparency, share learning, and keep the focus on these elements of our work.