Our third Regenerate Series event examined a theme that is central to Orchestras Live’s ethos: Creative agency in community settings. Our panellists - Sam Glazer, composer, cellist and music leader, Sally Lockey, Project Director of Right Up Our Street and Anne Torreggiani, Founder and Chief Executive of The Audience Agency - each brought a distinctive perspective informed by their direct experience of working in this field.
Once again, we saw a very high level of take up for the event, illustrating its timely nature. It has never been more important for the sector to understand better how to engage and create with local communities now that traditional delivery models have been disrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
My job role as project director isn’t so much about directing projects but ultimately about enabling other people to lead within their communities. This takes time and it is based on trust and generosity and it can be very hard.
~ Sally Lockey
Here are some of the key themes and takeaways from the discussion:
- Wherever there are people there is culture.
- The impact of Covid is driving a shift in cultural policy towards a greater focus on hyperlocal regeneration, not shiny but rooted in the community.
- At every level – whether you’re running an organisation or delivering a project – it’s essential to be open, inclusive and not afraid of new and conflicting ideas.
- Reach – interest – involve – activate – repeat. Developing and supporting cultural leaders in their communities is an iterative process.
There is something about a new generation of cultural leaders that genuinely have a different sense of purpose. If you’re not persuaded I don’t think there’s any amount of evidence that will. As cultural leaders, all of us, there is a shift in what we understand our civic purpose to be.
~ Anne Torreggiani
Challenges for the sector:
- ‘Giving people agency’ already implies a cultural hierarchy. The language we use can reinforce the barriers that we’re trying to avoid.
- If our ambition is to enable people to lead within their communities, this requires cultural organisations, including orchestras, to relax their hold on what constitutes cultural or artistic value.
Unless we have the Chief Execs and the artistic directors and principal conductors and boards in the conversation, and fully committed to doing this work, knowing why we want to do this work, then what we can achieve is going to be limited inevitably.
~ Sam Glazer
On Thursday 22 October, we’ll be hosting an Instagram Live event with members of our team discussing in more detail the key themes that emerged from this Regenerate event. Follow our Instagram page @orchestras_live for more details and to join the event.
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If you were unable to attend the Creative agency in community settings event and would like to view the recording, please email us and we will share this with you.