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Culture Forum North: dynamic new partnerships forged in the North of England to be chaired by director of Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art

18 April 2016

Culture Forum North, a new consortium of partnerships between higher education organisations and the cultural sector in the North of England, will be formally launched in Leeds at the Howard Assembly Room, Opera North on 24 May. Key note speakers include Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair, Arts Council England; Andrew Thompson, interim CEO, Arts & Humanities Research Council and Pat Conner Head of Development & Events, BBC North.

Alistair Hudson, Chair of Culture Forum North and director of Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima), said:

“The North has a powerful and compelling history of partnership between education, culture and society. The time is right for us to build on this strong foundation: universities and cultural organisations are increasingly taking leading roles in civic, social and economic developments.  The breadth of organisations involved at this forum’s foundation is testament to the knowledge and experience of the highest quality that originates in the North, and to our commitment to working together to respond to key issues and opportunities in society.  I am confident that through our collective endeavour and in partnership with leaders nationally and internationally, the Forum will drive bold, dynamic programmes that influence positive change in thinking and practice.”

mima is working with Investing in People and Culture (IPC) and Middlesbrough Environment City to develop a community garden in the centre of town where those from marginalised communities can come together to socialise and learn new skills.

Working closely with asylum seekers and refugees, a social space will be developed where people, from school children through to those living with dementia, can learn about horticulture, nutrition and wellbeing. The project puts the belief that art can be a tool for social change into action and it is hoped that the garden will become established as a peaceful and special place for everyone to enjoy and a site to host classes and sociable gatherings. Find out more about the project.

Peter Bazalgette, chair, Arts Council England comments:

“Arts Council England believes that higher education and arts partnerships can add up to so much more than the sum of their parts. Such partnerships in the North are bringing together creative forces that address culture, health and well-being and fuel professional skills development. And our colleges and universities as well as our arts organisations are up for it.”

Culture Forum North embraces a wide range of arts and higher education organisations across the North of England. Partnerships focus on the three key areas of research, cultural and creative careers, and public engagement – areas where mutual ambitions have been proven to yield maximum impact.  Such models of excellence include new professional development programmes in fundraising and theatre practice; collaborations that find inventive ways to share new research with the public; and professors in residence who change the way an organisation thinks and acts.

The day-long launch symposium on 24 May, 11.00am – 4.30pm at the Howard Assembly Room in Leeds, will offer cultural and higher education organisations and agencies from across the sectors the opportunity to share practice, to learn from leaders in the field, and to make connections that will support them in the process.  The event will be documented and shared as a resource on the Forum website: www.cultureforumnorth.co.uk

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