In the afternoon of the Culture Forum North symposium on 24 May, a lively programme of discussions brought delegates together to share experience and spark new ideas.  The sessions, which were co-hosted by Forum members from the cultural and higher educations sectors and sector agencies, sparked ideas and provocations  that will inform the Forum’s future programme of activity.


The Idea of North: Making connections between the cultural agenda and the research agenda coming out of the northern powerhouse. 

How we can make connections between the cultural agenda and the research agenda coming out of the northern powerhouse to create both discourse and tangible outcomes.

Session hosts: Dominic Gray, Projects Director Opera North; Professor Frank Finlay, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, University of Leeds.

See here for further information and feedback.


Are We Equal to…The North?: How we exploit our combined strengths to tackle the challenges that really matter to the North. 

Session hosts: Edward Harcourt, Pro-Vice Chancellor External Engagement, Liverpool John Moores University; Sarah Fisher, Director, Open Eye Gallery

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Just do it!: Developing a strategic and integrated approach to working together…but what’s in it for us?

How, by starting to work together on one project, HEIs and arts organisations can develop a mutually beneficial relationship that adds significant value to both organisations.

Session hosts: Colin McCallum, Executive Director, University Advancement and Lindsay Taylor, Art Curator, University of Salford: Zoe Dunbar, Director, Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art.

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Whose knowledge is It Anyway?:  Developing individual and organisational praxis through partnership

How partnerships between the HE and Cultural Sector have the potential to transform the ‘tacit’, ‘productive’ knowledge of the creative economy into something more ‘explicit’.

Session hosts: Dr. Dave Camlin, Head of Higher Education & Research at Sage Gateshead; Wendy Smith, Managing Director, Sage Gateshead.

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Making it official: The benefits and challenges of, and frameworks for formalising a partnership’

The ways in which formalising an HE/cultural partnership can support and hinder a relationship, and the processes of developing a model that enables it to flourish.

Session hosts: Liz Harrop, Impact and Innovation Project Manager, Cultural Institute, University of Leeds; Tim Wheeler, Arts Consultant, Tim Wheeler Art.

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Collaborative clout: Working in partnership to influence policy and decision-making at a national level. 

Why the HE and cultural sectors should raise a powerful voice that penetrates the thinking and action of policy makers at the highest level, to create the public and private infrastructure and investment needed to ensure future growth and success.   

Session hosts: Harriet Finney, Director of Policy, Cultural Industries Federation; Sue Hayton, Research & Innovation Manager, Cultural & Creative Industries Exchange, University of Leeds.

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Building Bridges & Bridging Gaps: How can arts organisations and universities work together to impact on inequality and diversity in the creative industries?

Where the aims of arts organisations and universities meet and how we can best identify the right kind of working relationships to inspire and enable future generations to realise their potential.

Session hosts: Emma Thomas, Head of Learning and Engagement at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art; Claire Malcolm, Chief Executive at New Writing North; Dr Heather Robson, Associate Dean, Business and Engagement at Northumbria University.


Journeying Together: Exploring multi-partner initiatives for community wellbeing

How to develop, manage and sustain partnerships to make a meaningful difference to the health and wellbeing of our communities.

Session host: Ivan Wadeson, Director, The Dukes, Lancaster


The Princess and the Pea: How something small can impact on something much larger 

How small and large organisations can work together to form productive partnerships and discusses whether these relationships can be mutually beneficial for all involved.

Session hosts: Katy Vanden, Producer, Cap-a-Pie; Mel Whewell, Manager, Newcastle University Institute for Creative Arts Practice


Best of both worlds: Co-design and co-delivery of practice-based learning programmes as a way to build a workforce fit for the future

The frameworks that enable the co-development and delivery of accredited undergraduate and post-graduate hands-on learning models, and addressing the associated challenges. 

Session hosts: Sam Johnson, Head of Bolton School of the Arts, University of Bolton; Jacqui Cameron, Director of Education, Opera North.


 Awakening the archive: How archives can strengthen organisational resilience

How collaboration between culture, Higher Education and National Archives can help create the structures to allow this to happen.

Session host: Isobel Hunter, Head of Archives Sector Development, The National Archives


‘You Scratch My Back…’: Developing the arts ecology through mutually beneficial partnerships

What can happen when, in this current economic environment, HEIs, the industry and the arts practitioner share, exchange and transfer resources to continue to support, nurture and develop an arts ecology.

Session hosts: Deb Ashby, director, Dance Manchester; Lisa Cullen, Head of Dance, University of Salford.


Pleasures and pitfalls: Developing a meaningful collaborative research relationship

The development of the relationship between staff from an arts organisation and staff from a university, with all the pleasures and pitfalls involved in finding out how to work together.

Session hosts: Antony Dunn, Marketing & Communications Manager, Yorkshire Dance; Laura Griffiths, Senior Lecturer in Performing Arts-Dance, Leeds Beckett University (ex-University of Leeds)


Club or Country?:  A consortium approach to building a culturally vibrant city

The opportunities and challenges facing a city wide approach to cultural assets and partnerships – the hard choices, who should make them and the risks and benefits.

Session hosts: Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Director of City & Cultural Engagement University of Sheffield and Chair of Sheffield Cultural Consortium; and Kim Streets, CEO Sheffield Museums Trust.


Force Magnify: Research in Vivo in Arts Organisations

Research and its role in supporting innovation and public engagement through art and creativity and asks:  How we can combine our creative, technological and intellectual assets most effectively to create opportunities that have real impact on a regional and strategic level.

Session hosts: Roger McKinley, Research and Innovation Manager at FACTDr Mark Wright, LJMU and Academic in Residence at FACT.


Working in partnership with civic authorities: Improving urban governance through a collaborative cultural offer

How interrelations between cultural and education partnerships and urban governance can provide citizens opportunities and affordances in their daily lives.

Session hosts: Professor Steve Swindells, University of Huddersfield; Kathryn White, Kirklees Museums and Galleries; Kath Davies, Kirklees Creative Economy


Talent development and retention in the North

Addressing this challenge in order to be truly successful as a creative and cultural region on an international stage.

Session hosts: Kwong Lee Director, Castlefield Gallery Manchester; Penny Macbeth Head of the Department of Art at Manchester School of Art (MMU)


How Creating Living Heritage: can collaboration and cultural engagement build a connected North?

Responding to three key questions: In what ways can we work together to explore, understand and co-curate the collective cultural heritage of the North?; How do communities of interest and practice help us learn from the past to co-design and create impactful collaborations for better futures?; How can universities work better both within local cultural ecologies and build connections across the greater North?

Session hosts: Dr. Abigail Gilmore, Institute for Cultural Practices, University of Manchester; Professor Eric Cross, Dean of Cultural Affairs, Newcastle University; Professor Paul Rodgers, Professor of Design ImaginationLancaster



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