How do we create a really cool arts scene in West London again? An Open Space Event for Spring 2013 Lawrence O'Connor, 26 January 2013 Please do add further comments and suggestions! 26th January 2013, York Halls, London Participants • Flora Wesley (Hiru Dance Organisation) - [email protected] - www.thealbert.org.uk • Bridget Floyer (Chiswick!) - [email protected] • Aimee Corbett - [email protected] • Poppy Burton-Morgan [email protected] • Noah the Baby • Omar Elerian - [email protected] • Anna Marsland - [email protected] • Ulrike Steven, manager of Meanwhile space project [email protected] • Alan Sharpington - [email protected] - http://donkey.info • Lawrence O'Connor - [email protected] • Keith Clancy (present but not in the space- [email protected] Convened by: Lawrence O'Connor on behalf of Keith Clancy who was unable to attend in person. Introduction Amongst other things, Keith Clancy is a director of one of the largest housing association organisations in the country. He has had a passion to see a revival of the arts scene across West London and, after attending Improbable's recent Open Space Event on accessibility and the arts (Keith is completely blind), was moved to initiate his sponsorship of an Open Space Event to bring people together to work on the question How do we create a really cool arts scene in West London again?. Here are the notes from the session convened. Spaces When we talk about ‘West London’ what do we mean? It includes everywhere north/south/due-west of the west end including: • Chelsea • Marylebone • Nottinghill • Chiswick • Brentford • Hounslow • Kew • Westbourne Grove • Kilburn • Queen's Park • Earl's Court • Fulham • etc The invitation to attend the Open Space Event should include all these areas and beyond. Queen's Park Example of space/people/residents/non-residents/community combo that rocks! The Albert!! http://thealbert.org.uk New venue. Working with the architects and Brent council and renting the space for ‘overhead’ costs only e.g. £42/month!! Holding an open-studios open evening on Thursday 31st January including yoga and other interactive sessions. Free drinks at 7pm. Home of Hiru Dance. Slow-burn project: Six years in the setting-up. “Council support really galvanised us into action” - get to know your local council's cultural development officer! Action point: Art practitioners pool their contact lists of helpful/support people in councils. Chiswick There is an assumption that it is all very affluent. However, Chiswick also has many form of diversity, including economic. There is an assumption that Chiswick is too uninteresting to be bothered with. There is The Tabard. A representative of the Tabard should be invited to Open Space Event. The ‘problem’ with the supposedly affluent areas is also its benefit e.g. more resources, audiences who can afford to attend and people available. Hounslow An arts desert. Brentford Watermans just doesn't work for people. Limited scope of almost exclusively asian-orientated work and even the community to which it is directed does not support it. “I used to go there as a kid in the 80's and it was really good.” “I don't know anyone who goes there now”. A representative of The Watermans Arts Centre should be invited to the Open Space Event. Baron's Court The soon-to-be-available library would make a great venue! Marylebone The ex-BBC building on Marylebone road is being occupied by Theatre-Deli. It is used by a diverse range of inter-connected collectives and individuals across a broad spectrum of people including the established, known and famous. Rent is only £80/month for a space. Battersea Arts Centre Example of a space that really works. Open the spaces and they will draw-in the arts Diverse examples from participants' experiences given including: Caravans Camps Squats (although changes to the law have meant that these need to be managed collaboratively with owners). It was agreed that more spaces are needed! But: “It starts from the ground up.” and “Don't wait for the council.” Many opportunities available for meanwhile spaces in unoccupied shops and offices. Theatre Deli have a business model whereby the businesses save *alot* of money on business rates whilst the arts practitioners are in residence *and* some of the money saved is *paid back* to the arts practitioners while they are there! Quite a strong collection of voices in the group that said things like: “These meanwhile spaces are just the crumbs…” e.g. more permanent spaces are needed and “if the energy that is put into these temporary spaces were to be invested in sustainable spaces, much more of value could result.” However: “Some people only need meanwhile spaces” and “Meanwhile spaces can provide stable support by setting up a series of them”. And “What we need is a balance between sustainable and meanwhile spaces”. Youth “Is it possible without their involvement?” An arts scene cannot thrive without their involvement. The need to be included in the invitation to the Open Space Event. “They are the ones with the dance companies”. There are gaps of opportunities for the crossovers between youth and adult arts and between pre-professional and professional arts practice. Each of these sectors should receive invitations to participate. There is a site that helps put 18-25 arts practitioners in touch with companies that have available spaces: http://somewhereto.com Diversity It was noticed that *again* there are very few non-white people at DandD8. It is very important to ensure that the invitation to the Open Space event reaches non-white potential participants. Involve everybody in setting it up, “from MPs to counselors, council workers o the underprivileged and to the yummy mummies”. Community Arts vs. Professional Arts Segregation between community and professional arts is not helpful to creating a vibrant arts scene. Both groups should also be invited to the Open Space event. All participants above agreed that they would like to be involved with the Open Space event in the Spring (estimated date: late April 2013). Please add your details in the comments if you would like to be involved too! Tags: open space, London, west london, earl's court, Venues, arts, spaces, Arts, event, festival, venues, Open space, london, Open Space, OST Comments: 3 Anna Marsland, 28 January 2013 Hi, my email is [email protected] (a ‘.’ rather than a ‘-’) - look forward to hearing more! Anna Sally Christopher, 28 January 2013 Hello Lawrence. Sorry to miss your session on the West London Arts scene - it all looks very interesting! It would be great to chat as I have lots of info/contacts which may be of use to you. I was the Big Dance Project Coordinator (the Worlds Largest Dance Festival) for West London for two years (2010 -2012). In partnership with English National Ballet, Arts Council England and the GLA I established great links with many venues, artists, parks, libraries, Local Authorities etc in nine West London Boroughs: Hounslow, Harrow, Hammersmith and Fulham, Hillingdon, Brent, Westminster, Ealing, Richmond and Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. I can be reached on [email protected] and would be very happy to help if I can. Thanks! Bridget Floyer, 29 January 2013 Hello - mine is [email protected]!