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  • Writer's pictureBeth Wardell

Meeting Organisers Call On Cultural Sector To Make Voice Heard



Thank you to Luke McTaggart and Trina Dalziel for sharing information on the 'Cultural Assembly'. Read on to find out how YOU can be involved...


The organisers of a public meeting set for the evening of Wednesday February 7th in Amble, Northumberland are calling on members of the area’s culture sector to come along and make their voices heard.


Painter Luke McTaggart and Illustrator Trina Dalziel, the organisers of the February 7th ‘Cultural Assembly’ at The Dovecote Centre in Amble, are asking that artists, creative freelancers and cultural professionals join them in agreeing upon a set of verdicts that will form the basis of a sector-led public report.


Their aim is to publicly address what they perceive to be a geographical gap in arts development and investment in the county. They hope that an in-person, ‘town-hall’ style meeting can draw people together in order to help better determine where demand for provisions and funding currently is and how it might be connected up.


Luke McTaggart explains that: “I think it’s great that there are flagship investment projects in the likes of Berwick-uponTweed with its CCZ status, or in Hexham or Blyth, but it feels like there is a fourth area, broadly, but not exclusively, focused around Amble, that is missing out. There are so many artists, creatives, and cultural professionals around here and there is a real sense that we are being overlooked. I know that Amble itself is a bit of a no man’s land, being lumped in with South-East Northumberland for some funding pots and North Northumberland for others. I think Trina summed it up best when she described the whole area we are focusing on as a bit of a hinterland.”

He continued that: “We are hoping that by coming together we can start to organise ourselves a bit and figure out how we might bridge this gap. I think it’s almost like we need a network of micro-CCZ’s that connect-up towns and villages like Amble, Alnwick, Alnmouth, Newbiggin and Morpeth. There is a decent amount of cultural infrastructure already in place in these areas and there’s a real and vital creative energy fizzing away that we think is untapped. Part of the challenge in working in a rural county like Northumberland is that things become hyper-localised from place to place, settling into pockets that can become disconnected over time. I think there’s a real value in trying to connect these pockets together and make our voices heard”.


What you need to know


Luke and Trina emphasise that there are no restrictions on who can attend the meeting, stating simply that their focus is on those who feel they fall outside of, or don’t benefit from, existing arts development schemes.

They want a diverse range of participants from different art forms, not just the visual arts; they are actively encouraging, musicians, writers and actors to come along too.


Trina also added that she recognises that even if people live quite far outside of the areas mentioned they might find it interesting to come along as they might often travel into these areas to see exhibitions or attend workshops.


The meeting will involve participants being asked to vote on a number of statements in an effort to form a collective opinion which Luke will compile into a report made available after the meeting.


There is no need to preregister and anyone interested can just turn up on the night. Organisers were also keen to emphasise the social aspect of the event.

“I think there’s something special about coming together and gathering on these dark, winter nights. A chance to meet people with similar interests and views, but also to recognise where there are similar concerns and challenges. It’s also just a nice chance to have a chat over a cup of tea!”. - Trina Dalziel

Trina and Luke will also be using the meeting as a chance to collect some demographic information for the subsequent report.


“We will be handing out some registration forms as people come in, these will ask for information like where you’ve travelled from, the town or parish you work in, as well as age, sex and how you would describe your profession. These will be strictly voluntary and we won’t be forcing anyone to fill them in but we will appreciate those who do. We plan on anonymising the collected information into some charts after the meeting to give the report a bit of demographic background. We hope that this information can be shared with the sector and possibly be used to support future funding applications down the line”.


The meeting will take place from 7-9pm inside the Main Hall of The Dovecote Centre in Amble. Anyone who has any further questions or that would like an advance copy of the meeting agenda or a meeting overview should email lmctaggart7@gmail.com



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