The Start of Something

The Start of Something was a platform for conversation between different parties within the region, to explore issues and topics deemed relevant to the region’s visual arts community, expand the community of interest, encourage collaboration and stimulate ideas, and ultimately to make things happen.

We invited people working within or with relevance to the East Midlands’ visual sector to propose a conversation to enable people to envision could happen here, for the benefit of artists, organisations and audiences. This could be new networks, projects or opportunities.

Proposals for conversations were invited at any time. We considered how each conversation would benefit the widest community and make the greatest difference within the region and supported those that best addressed our aims to:

• engage artists and organisations in tackling common issues resulting in new ways of working and more informed decision making
• support collaborative working across the region leading to new opportunities, new experiences and new networks
• celebrate and promote contemporary arts in the region, from making to presenting.

Conversations could take any form be it a conference, a walk, a meal, a workshop, whatever was the most suitable format for each discussion.

All the conversations had benefits for those involved, some simply by offering the opportunity to spend time together, some by stimulating new groups or activities to form and some by feeding into larger civic and community agendas. Conveners and participants alike, valued the opportunity to organise or be involved in something that felt ‘bottom up’ rather than ‘top down’ and that was speculative rather than pre-determined. There was a great value in allowing the “region” to determine what was important or a priority and to engage in small scale experimentation as well as more ambitious undertakings.

The project has enabled us to broker a considerable number of new relationships, has been a catalyst for people to get together, become connected and feel less isolated and has raised awareness of the wealth of ideas and breadth of practice that exists in the region.

Find out more about The Start of Something and the conversations that we supported.