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News in Brief

  • Date: 21 October 2009
  • Area: South East
Polski Picnic at Polish Arts Festival 2009

Polski Picnic at Polish Arts Festival 2009. Credit: Pete Huggins

Arts Council England announces new national leadership team

Arts Council England has announced the members of its new Executive Board – the streamlined national leadership team that will lead the restructured organisation from April 2010. The nine-strong team is led by Chief Executive Alan Davey and consists of four National and four Area Executive Directors. They are:
• Alison Cole – Executive Director, Communications
• Laura Dyer – Executive Director, Midlands and South West
• Althea Efunshile – Chief Operating Officer
• Anupam Ganguli – Executive Director, Resources
• Andrew Nairne – Executive Director, Arts
• Moira Sinclair – Executive Director, London
• Andrea Stark – Executive Director, East and South East
• To be announced – Executive Director, North

To ensure a smooth transition, all existing Regional Executive Directors will continue in their current roles until the new structure is established. Recruitment to this new structure is likely to be complete by Christmas 2009. And after 20 years working with the Regional Arts Boards and the Arts Council, Felicity Harvest, Executive Director of Arts Council England, South-East, has decided to step down and pursue a new career direction. Felicity will be handing over to Andrea Stark, Executive Director of Arts Council England, East, who takes up the role of Executive Director, East and South East.
Andrea Stark says of her appointment: “I am delighted to have been appointed as the Executive Director for the East and South East. I look forward to growing a shared understanding of the assets and opportunities that both regions have to offer and working with our arts leaders and partners to navigate a purposeful way forward to sustain and develop the arts, even in tough times.”


The all new

The new Arts Council website is now live. It features new tools and content including organisation profiles, arts listings, case studies, latest news, an improved search function, a Grants for the arts eligibility wizard and a showcase of recent acquisitions from our Arts Council Collection. To mark the launch of the website, digital artists Thomson & Craighead were commissioned to produce Several_Interruptions, a challenging and absorbing new work which can be viewed exclusively on the site. Any feedback on the new features and content would be appreciated so please email


Outpost at Zoo 2009

Outpost in Norwich was selected to exhibit at Zoo 2009 in October. This was Outpost’s first time at the Zoo Art Fair where a number of artists from the East region exhibited. Zoo 2009 which ran from 16 to 19 October presented over 100 artists and 21 stand exhibitors which included emerging galleries, project spaces, artist collectives, curatorial groups and publishers. In addition, individual works by 14 artists were showcased in a specially-dedicated Solo Works section. Zoo 2009’s exhibitors were selected by a panel of art professionals.
Wysing Arts Centre also had work represented at the art fair. They commissioned the Freee art collective to produce a new public project in Cambridge entitled 'Revolution Road: Rename the Streets!' for the exhibition 'Generosity is the New Political'. Freee and a small group of invited 'witnesses' took to the streets of Cambridge to rename a selection of the city's streets. The work was represented at Zoo 2009 in a billboard print and a video documenting all of the re-naming ceremonies.
Visit Zoo 2009 for more information.


Letting us know what you think

Over the last year we have been working to focus our delivery on what really matters to people. We are working with organisations we regularly fund to discuss our future priorities, and now through the introduction of a stakeholder survey which started in September. We are asking a sample of individuals and organisations that we have worked with to take part. The first phase of research will be run by independent research agency Ipsos MORI. The results of the survey will be published on the Arts Council website in November 2009. If you are selected to take part, thank you for your time. Further information about the survey can be found here.


Polish Arts Festival 2009

Southend-on-Sea's first Polish Arts Festival took place from 18 to 20 September. Produced by Hungry Arts together with 30 Bird Productions, Metal, Focal Point Gallery and the local Polish community, the festival celebrated Polish culture and art, and the special relationship between Southend-on-Sea and Sopot – Southend’s Polish town twin on the Baltic Sea. The festival was a three-day feast of music, art, dance, film, workshops, football, food and crafts. Highlights included 30 Bird Productions’ unique mobile Polish 'Tea House' and multiple performances of 'Chodzenie Siberia' (one of a series of events inspired by the journey of Polish captives from Siberia to Iran during the Second World War); the 'Polski Picnic' in Priory Park complete with traditional Polish dancers, live bands, crafts, and Polish food and drink; and New York artist Erik Blinderman’s Solidarity-inspired exhibition 'Sounds of the Sea and Shops' in Focal Point Gallery. The festival received support from Arts Council England, East, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, and the Polish Cultural Institute.


Grants for the arts changes

In March 2010, applications to Grants for the arts will begin to be managed from the Grants for the arts centre in Manchester, and from 1 March 2010 applications can be submitted online. The new Grants for the arts centre will be staffed by highly skilled arts specialists who have close relationships with regional offices. The Arts Council will be suspending new applications to Grants for the arts between Monday 18 January and Friday 26 February to ensure that the transition from one way of working to the other is as efficient and seamless as possible.


East to Tbilisi

Eight producers and directors from the East of England visited the Georgian capital of Tbilisi in October for a showcase of Georgian theatre in the first Tbilisi International Festival of Theatre. The eight travellers represented a mix of theatre organisations from across the region which included Eastern Angles, Mike Maran Productions, New Wolsey Theatre, Scamp Theatre, Trestle Theatre and Watford Palace Theatre. The showcase, held over the weekend of 9-12 October, featured 12 productions from leading international directors. The visit is supported through Grants for the arts with additional support from the Tbilisi International. The international festival, which runs from 27 September to 18 October, includes Ipswich based company, Gecko, with their current adaptation of The Overcoat. They will be featured alongside a varied international programme, with work from Croatia, France, Germany, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden and Turkey.