Friday, 15 August 2014

Voluntary Arts Week

I am in the process of making contact with all art form umbrella bodies to give an update on Voluntary Arts latest plans to celebrate amateur arts activity across the UK & Republic of Ireland and discuss potential partnership working -

Voluntary Arts Week will take place from 15 – 24 May next year, inviting voluntary arts groups from across the country to showcase their work and reach out to new members.  We understand that voluntary arts groups work tirelessly all year round, but in shining a national spotlight on this activity for a week each May, we hope to demonstrate the breadth and depth of the nation’s creative talent, highlighting the many benefits that creative participation can bring and inspiring more people to ‘join in’.

But we can’t do this on our own!

Until now Voluntary Arts has had little funding and staff capacity to effectively involve art form umbrella bodies in the development of Voluntary Arts Week, however a successful application to the Spirit of 2012 Trust at the end of last year has since led to the appointment of 6 Voluntary Arts Development Officers, based across the UK & RoI, in - Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, South West England, Midlands and South East England.  Each Development Officer is responsible for engaging groups with Voluntary Arts Week in their area and I am also responsible for overseeing the week on a national level.

It is great to be able to give Voluntary Arts Week the time and focus it needs and to start taking positive steps to realising our long-term ambition of establishing Voluntary Arts Week as an annual highlight in the cultural calendar - ultimately raising awareness of the voluntary arts sector and recognising the positive impact groups across the country are making towards a healthier and happier society.

We would love you to join us on this journey and be part of Voluntary Arts Week.  Initial conversations with Making Music, the Embroiderers Guild and Museums Galleries Scotland have resulted in some great proposals for Voluntary Arts Week activity, including:

·         The production of a ‘Come and Play / Come and Sing’ toolkit, produced by Making Music, that will be made available to download on the Voluntary Arts Week website, supported by a communications push from Making Music encouraging their members to stage special ‘Come and try’ events during Voluntary Arts Week.

·         Plans for a ‘Big Stitch’ event to be held during Voluntary Arts Week in partnership with one, or several, cultural venues in Scotland.  This will be coordinated by the Embroiderers Guild in partnership with local embroidery groups and Voluntary Arts Scotland.

·         A partnership with Festival of Museums and discussions with Museums at Night which aims to match museum/gallery venues with local voluntary arts groups - encouraging a series of collaborative events during Voluntary Arts Week, supported by Festival of Museum funding.

More info about Voluntary Arts Week…

I have attached an Information Briefing which gives more detail about Voluntary Arts Week, including how groups can get involved, list their events and be part of our CraftBomb / Flashmob campaign.  Please have a read, visit the website and get in touch - I am really keen to hear from art form umbrella bodies who are interested in engaging their members and/or holding special activity during Voluntary Arts Week.  Your involvement could include:

Ø  Helping Voluntary Arts to promote the week through your networks: sharing information with your members (social media / website / newsletter)

Ø  Registering your support on the Voluntary Arts Week partners page (this will be added to the website in September)

Ø  Holding a special event or competition during Voluntary Arts Week to engage your members and highlight their activity

Ø  Creating and distributing guidance tailored to your art form that encourages groups to take part in Voluntary Arts Week (i.e. ‘How to – organise a group exhibition’)

Ø  Commissioning special work to take place during Voluntary Arts Week, for example: a members exhibition or regional showcase event

If you would like to be part of Voluntary Arts Week in any way, please get in touch so we can discuss further, similarly if you would like to get involved but you are not sure how, please pick up the phone or send me an email and I would be more than happy to talk further.

You can keep in touch with Voluntary Arts Week via Twitter, Facebook and also by signing up to the Voluntary Arts Week enews here.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Cassandra Barron  /  Development Officer

The Creative Exchange, 29 Constitution Street, Edinburgh, EH6 7BS
tel  0131 561 7333 

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