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Sally Abbott takes on the south east

  • Date: 18 March 2010
  • Area: South East
Sally Abbott, Regional Director, South East, 2010

Sally Abbott, Regional Director, South East, 2010. Credit: Photo: Philippa Gedge

Sally Abbott took up the position of Director, South East last November. We asked her to take a short breather to tell us about her plans for leading the south east’s arts sector into a new era.

‘While developing plans for a 10-year national strategic framework for the arts and moving forward the case for continued arts investment, the Arts Council has been conducting a major review and restructure,’ Sally tells us. ‘That’s been one of the major focuses of my work in recent months.’

‘The opportunity we have here is unrivalled. When it’s complete we will have an organisation better equipped to drive forward the ambitions of artists and all our partners. An organisation fit for these different times.’

Part of Sally’s new role is overseeing the creation of our new south east team: ‘My aim is to build a team of individuals that has an in-depth, broad experience and understanding of the unique conditions in which the arts sector works. A team that is particularly skilled in what it takes to both carry out and encourage partnership and collaborative working.

‘Ultimately, we will be a team dedicated to generating and sustaining the best possible conditions for artists and arts organisations to work in the south east. 

A team that will collaborate with our broader partners to get the best art to more people than ever before.’

So, is the new staff team complete? Sally explains: ‘We are in the process of bringing in some fantastic new staff to join the existing team of experts.’

With a new structure, and an election on the horizon, 2010 is likely to be challenging for all of us in the arts sector. Sally is confident though that in a region undergoing significant change and growth real opportunities lie in ‘learning to work in a different way, in a different world’.

‘The current political and economic situation offers some interesting possibilities for the arts,’ she says. ‘And artists and arts organisations have always had the unique ability to turn challenges into opportunities.’

‘Over the last 10 years we have seen how a thriving arts sector can help regenerate cities and communities, generate jobs and contribute to the creative economy. We will empower artists and arts organisations to sustain that and shout loud about our achievements and why the arts matter.’

‘We must work together as an arts sector and with other sectors to focus on producing robust evidence to prove without question the importance of great art to peoples’ lives, building strong communities through economic development and artistic excellence.

‘I’m confident that in building one confident Arts Council we will be better placed to create a world in which everyone sees the arts as part of their lives. We can do this together!’

To take part in shaping plans for our national strategic framework, please visit: Achieving great art for everyone. Find out more about our thoughts on why the arts matter.