Chit chat

The CidaCo week – We’ve been talking to various Leeds City Region partners about a promising new programme in the EU to help grow the creative sector and the impact of the creative sector – everyone really interested but the governance structures in the city region don’t yet allow us to go for this now – but perhaps next time – still it was great to find such solid commitment across the region to supporting the creative sector – a real sense that the sector is ‘coming of age’ in terms of economic development to match its power in terms of social and cultural impact.

These new programmes coming through this year, as well as the forthcoming ‘Creative Europe’ programme for 2014 to 2020, recognise the cross sectoral potential for real impact by the sector, both economically and socially. The potential for the Munro House & Duke Studios cluster, the Quarry Hill companies, the STAY (Sustained Theatre Artists Yorkshire – focus on BME artists and organisations) group, the East Street Arts collectives, LVAF, the Colleges of Music and Art, Leeds Met, the exciting breadth of activity in University of Leeds especially in faculties of Arts, Humanities and PVAC, Antonia’s wonderful Owl Trail, the ambition of Trinity Leeds to embroil creative activity as integral to the new shape of the city centre…………there is so much sheer dynamism in the cultural life and I haven’t begin to take the lid off it (apologies to those brilliant people not name checked: you’re greatly valued but I’m in a Saturday frame of mind and taking short cuts – Hamilton has pole position and Schumaker is threatening to get serious – aargh!) but our potential is considerable – Yorkshire is already recognised as the most dynamic creative sector outside the ineffable London and Leeds is at the epicentre –

Great titbit proffered by Frank Wilkes, fresh back from SxSW – (complaining about exhaustion but somehow hard to sympathise!!) – apparently, some national music research has shown that much of the new music industry talent starts in South Yorkshire and comes to West Yorkshire to earn their money………………..

– Local authorities beating a path to the door of Balbir Singh Dance Company entranced by his Synchro piece for the Olympics, bringing together dance and synchronised swimming – lighting up everyone’s imagination – this one could run and run ………………….and win! (shld confess to vested interest – I’m the Chair, but it’s still true!)

ACE Creative Places, Creative People stimulating discussions across the region – hope the focus is not just on more of the same, force-feeding reluctant communities to experience what exists, but rather is taking their failure to engage much more seriously – cultural participation is established as a key factor in psychological well being (cf Sacco, IULM, 2011),  but we need to find the keys that make engagement appeal to current refusers – surely that must be the value of this new ACE programme ?

Went to see the NT production of Travelling Light at the Grand – very enjoyable, especially the first half (even if the rather dodgy accents made me think that the meercats were going to appear singing ‘If I were a rich man’….) – but completely shocked at the lack of audience – it was a first night but still – what on earth was going on?

Very excited at appointment of James Brining as new Artistic Director of WYP – already can hear waves of expectation throughout Leeds’ creative community- “For me, as a Leeds person, it’s a city I’m really proud to be from and I think we can stand up against any city anywhere in the world with confidence – ”    And so say all of us!

Great meeting with David Jones of  and Chair of STAY, together with George Matheson.  We’re exploring opportunities for working together which would be wonderful: am keeping fingers crossed!

My wonderful group of artists on the Work of Art course at York St John continue to be a fabulous group – every mentoring session is a surprise –  reminds why I love working in this sector –

Exploring potential for working with Paris Panda ( – can we do a  mutually beneficial deal that benefits our customers and each other…………..well, I think so!!

Now off to prep for the Creativity away day with the EU Cultural Policy Forum team in Brussels on Tuesday – my latest challenge!

Finally, have big secret about some of our work in Africa but can’t tell you yet………………………………it  really is thrilling!

Have a good week –

Anamaria Wills            E:            Twitter: anamariacida            Fb: