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Diversity and outreach

Issue: Diversity and Outreach

Convener(s): Emteaz

Participants: Ellie Mackenzie,  Depi Mavroppoulou,  Imogen Toya, Jen Summer, Alison Garner, Jayne Lewis, Christopher Neil, Stephen McClaren, Kevin Fegan

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

Is it a high quality experience/process for ‘hard to reach groups/participants versus  a high quality end product?Development of personal skills can’t be overlooked for the product;
What is excellence? If the experience is good for these groups then that would speak  and show for itself and can be considered an excellent experience/product in itself.
How is this high quality experience achieved?
Ideas, projects and outreach programs are more successful when participants are involved in the planning process alongside the artists who are experienced in delivering this work.
Current climate: Ideas are not leading at the moment; ‘priority funding’ i.e teenage preganancy, for organisations seems to be leading which is frustrating for participants and artist alike.
Funders need to recognise that engagement for ‘hard to reach groups’  and participants is a long process i.e building trust; Funders and management need to create dialogue with artists and participants and this will require courage for honest conversation, being able to admit mistakes and failings and not just ticking a need for immediate great results- this courage seems to be lacking.
Developing of talent from the margins: Not enough role models or showcase of culturally diverse great work  in the area for ‘hard to reach groups’, although there seem to be good work going on in non-theatre venues. Need to raise expectations and that can be achieved if diverse talent is developed and showcased more in the area. Artist leaving the area to develop their skills, there is a need to follow your peers. Emtac is a good solution for peer support in the region. Also, Empaf is a national recognised organisation for excellence in participatory arts offering support for independent practitioners in this region. Need Theatre Writing Partnerships to continue outreach and developing writing talent in the region and for this to be valued by the funders.

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