One of the aims of our commissions programme is to build a community of practice for those interested in using the arts to affect social change. At the end of January, we began this process by gathering the partners (from the National Theatre, Turner Contemporary and Kent County Council) and artists (Sarah Woods, Janetka Platun, Maria Amidu, Phoebe Marsh and Penny Klepuszewska) together to start building the foundations and to establish the principles of how we want to work as a collective.
The weekend was facilitated brilliantly by our associate, Deepa Patel, who asked each of us to bring an object that was illustrative of our work. Through talking about these objects (which ranged from a crystal to a playing card to an art object made of a shell and a cast ear), we began to determine our values and codes of practice, thinking about how we will work together towards our shared aims.
We shared a meal in the evening at the Veg Box Café with our special guests, Peter Firmin, Lucy Steggals and Carl Jeffrey. This gave us all a chance to get to know each other a little bit more before we spent the following day thinking in more depth about the detail of each proposal.
During the process Deepa quoted Martin Luther King:
“Our lives begin to end” he said, “the day we become silent about things that matter”.
We think the arts matter, and that by developing arts practice through empathy, belonging, learning and values, we can help build a kinder, more caring society. We want to be rigorous in the way that we measure this, and will continue to draw on academic and practice research.
Keep up to date on the progress of the commissions by visiting the projects page.