Report by Clare Drury

Those present included: Clare Drury, Frankie Banham, Sarah Pennington, Victoria Bissett, Lucy ?, Anna Ingleby

The group agreed that one success of the 2017 year had been to see artists working across artforms. Continuing to work in this way would help to sustain momentum of activity across a range of artforms beyond 2017. Was there an assumption that Theatre was the only performance genre? Music and Dance should be included, but there were also opportunities to include visual arts in performance context, as well as other creative sectors.

During 2017 there had been some opportunities for mentoring by visiting artists. It would be helpful to build that into future plans as well, to share expertise, and experience. It was not to be assumed that local artists had less expertise or experience than artists based outside Hull. There was perceived to be benefit in sharing experience for all, and that this would be mutually beneficial. It was suggested that some local artists might feel intimidated to approach a visiting artist of interest. Support to facilitate this kind of dialogue would be helpful. E.g. producers and organisations ensuring that opportunities for visiting creatives to share with local artists could be built into programmes as a matter of course.

Exchange of ideas in a non-hierarchical environment would be welcomed. Sharing what each other does regionally would be particular interest. This happens naturally elsewhere, but Hull's geographical isolation has been a barrier to this exchange and flow of ideas. Looking forward was key to keeping momentum after 2017. It is assumed that there would be less money coming into the city in the future.

One great aspect of Hull being UK City of Culture in 2017 was providing an opportunity for meeting different people, interacting with various artists, who would not otherwise have been working in the area. It would be great to keep those connections, develop new connections and devise more innovative work. Sarah P was interested in how to work with different genres, such as with science and physics, biodiversity and engineering. She cited the Amy Johnson Festival's work with engineers as an example of exciting collaboration opportunities. She saw an opportunity to expand on how the arts can assist in disseminating scientific research. Another example of cross over was sculptural work with local galvanising manufacturer. E.g for States of Play exhibition and Hall of Hull installation. This collaboration in 2017 had increased awareness and impact and also reduced costs by working with a local firm.

Lucy was working on London Borough of Culture project and was interested in culture as a vehicle for change and regeneration, and was interested in how the UK City of Culture model might work in London Boroughs. These Boroughs of Culture were less well financed, but the opportunities were the same to engage with arts, and it was felt that working across genres and encouraging collaboration between artists offered an opportunity to create extraordinary art. Moving forward in cross genre working was something to develop – and needed wider discussion. Perhaps local authority arts forum could provide a platform to discuss this and help to make things happen – an ideas forum for all artists.

There was a barrier with some artists about fear or reluctance around sharing ideas, for fear of being copied, or ideas being taken forward by others. No solution to this was offered. It was felt that there were many unexplored opportunities to work across artform, with music, film, vicaul arts, dance and theatre etc. With an opportunity to commission work that responds to others – e.g. dance that responds to exhibition. To make this work early conversations were necessary to be able to plan and respond, and to raise money to make work – and there needed to be some co-ordination of such opportunities. At the moment those in the group found that it is difficult to know who to speak to about developing such opportunities.

It was observed that there is a tendency for some arts organisations to become territorial, and to enable the development of cross genre working and exciting collaboration organisations would have to adopt a more generous approach. Anna (Indigo Moon Theatre) had an unused theatre space that she could offer for use when she was not using it. The group felt that a directory resource was needed for all artists, arts organisations, with a skills analysis to help with collaboration. This had been considered by a few people but directory information goes out of date too quickly. It was suggested that a wiki resource, with responsibility given to each individual or organisation to keep their information up to date could provide this kind of resource, but needed some setting up. Artlink operate a list of local artists and advise on suitability for project work, e.g. with schools. Sometimes there needed to be a broker, such as Artlink, who would match make artists with communities to ensure appropriate skills etc. Schools had a habit of assuming that local artists were of poor quality and that buying in services of artists from elsewhere offered higher quality, this is not the case. Schools needed a broker, but perhaps artists wishing to collaborate across genres also needed some assistance in finding the right collaborators. A discussion around social engagement ensued. St Helens were doing interesting work on socially engaged arts – they had recently published an interesting report. More open conversations were needed to aid artists ability to work across artform. e.g. sharing events. Univesities could be more open and engaging with local communities. It was generally felt that there were unexplored opportunties for collaboration which would greatly assist keeping the momentum going in performing arts. NB it was noted that there were no representatives from more traditional theatre within this discussion group.