Arts Council England is shaping a new 10 year strategy for 2020 2030 by engaging with the cultural and wider creative industries, stakeholders and the public. Through this extensive process, Arts Council England has developed a case for change, three proposed outcomes, investment principles, and a vision to frame its new strategy along with seven initial outcomes, which it tested in a first consultation aimed at the cultural sector. The outcomes have since been further refined and were tested again in a second round of consultation in June 2019. Before doing this, Arts Council England wanted to explore the public’s response to the emerging content.
In March 2019 Arts Council England contracted Traverse to conduct a range of engagement activities with the public to explore draft elements of the new strategy. The content explored with participants in this engagement programme was based on the draft outline of the strategy as it read in early 2019.
Traverse ran five full day deliberative workshops with 129 members of the public (aged over 18 years old) in Exeter, London (Newham), Shrewsbury, Southend-on-Sea, and Middlesbrough.
At the events, participants were given a range of creative supplies and asked to reflect on their views on creativity and culture. They were orientated to the work of Arts Council England through video, posters, and presentation, and negotiated as groups over potential strategic priorities using a basic participatory budgeting methodology. In addition they contributed to a creativity wall throughout the session, and at points used a digital voting tool to express their views on key issues.
Some of these participants also took part in an online forum, and in short telephone interviews.
A further three engagement events were held with 47 children and young people in Southend-on-Sea, London (Newham), and Shrewsbury. The engagement included both qualitative discussions and quantitative activities (such as voting).
The outputs from this public engagement informed a further round of consultation with cultural and creative stakeholders which took place in summer 2019. This informed the final stages of the strategy before its publication, along with a series of delivery plans, later in the year.
The outputs of this research received positive feedback from the client and stakeholders.
“The workshops were, in themselves, creative experiences, with participants drawing and collaging posters of their cultural lives. The enjoyment, growing confidence and social connections that came out of the day were obvious to see, and the affirmation of the value of creativity and culture, and the desire for more opportunities, was equally apparent (…) Thank you to Traverse for designing and delivering the workshops”
(Peter Modral, Arts Council England)