image

So. (this is a very very very long post, but bare (bear? beer?) with me. things they are a changin) At our AGM last month I suggested a few changes. Basically, on one hand we face unprecedented cuts in our city, on the other, despite this, we at Northfield Arts Forum want to expand, to partner more with you, to support you more, to grow more opportunites for creative practice, to inspire the heart of Northfield/Weoley/Longbridge/Kings Norton. And to do it, we need you. we. need. you. There will be more info in the not too distant future, but for now, here is my coordinators report/manifesto for change that I delivered to our AGM. Much love. Olly.

Somewhat excitingly, some of the changes have already been set in motion. We start our new NAFcaf(e) on the 4th sunday of jan then it will run each 4th sunday of the month. Also we have a visioning day in jan, contact me on oliverarmstrongmusicworkshops@gmail.com if you want to take part.

(PART 1 of 2: COORDINATOR REPORT)
Northfield Arts Forum 2015 (and a little bit of 2014)Past. Present. Future.
(please feel free to read this in the voice of the ever lovely Tom Hardy. Probably in his Peaky Blinders role. I know I will)
So this is what we have gone and done mate.
Made some lovely stuff with you and for you.
We did it. We are doing it. We are going to do some more.
Hop on board the NAF express. You will love it. And we already love you.

PAST

Well, it has been a year.

Blimey.

We have:

Christmas partied, with Santa, live music, choirs, Costa (in longbridge) chock full of people, a cardboard christmas tree covered in our memories of love, poetry, dancing and full on christmas cheer.

Had incredible music and dancing from our arts champions SAMPAD.

Ran the Our Style project with our wonderful partners WiP( the fashion show was a personal highlight of the year). A packed Factory Youth Centre with young people making, wearing, watching, dancing, posing, laughing in clothes they created themselves (and gaining Arts Awards through WiP whilst doing it).

Music’ed Danc’ed Draw’ed (as part of our Music! Dance! Draw! project) with dance groups and art groups from all over the area coming together to put on a festival of dance and art at the northfield baptist church. We also had the wonderful Northfield Notes choir perform a song they wrote especially for the event. The utter legends.

Made stories at the Weoley Castle festival of angels.

Documented memories of WW1 (and WW2) in partnership with Arts50 Alive and the Northfield Town Partnership.

Built our Arts Village (and delivered a myriad of craft, dance, music and games) at both the Northfield Carnival and the Northfield Beach (as part of culture mash)

Ran treasure hunts, poetry-trees, face painted, live music on the high street.

Put on a Fun Palace at the Quaker House.

Made dry boats for the Kings Norton Canal Festival with the Friends Of Kings Norton Park.

Made story books and poems at Kings Norton Fete and Frankly Carnival

Presented at the Connecting Communities Symposium (this was our Music! Dance! Draw! project) alongside all the other fantastic fora of the city.

Put on a play through the REP at the Hollymoor Centre.

Woooooo!!!!!!!

AAAANNNNNDDDD…. breathe.
PRESENT.

Whats going on right now you say? Ill tell you geezer, I’ll tell you:

Year 2 of our Connecting Communities. (this is building on our Music! Dance! Draw! project)

Tales From Heads. A poetry and storytelling project in Frankly and Kings Norton.

FUTURE

plans we have:

We will be applying for funding from the police to deliver a “street scene” project across the 4 wards.

Christmas Party! yes indeed. A party, but with craft, music, dancing, interaction (and maybe santa…)

We have been sponsored by Barclays Bank to run an art exhibition of local art (this is going to be mega, we will source wonderful arts made and curated from within the 4 wards, and display it as part of our Arts March event)

Arts March. Art, in, erm, well, March!

And: even more wonderous things from our Arts Champions SAMPAD (the ever brilliant Shaheen will deliver most of their project this year. her art work is lush and I cant wait to see what she creates with you, our local community)

Fun Palace will happen again next year. Bigger, better, cushdy belter.

And, you know, thats not all. We will continue to seek funding, time, people, art, lovely stuff, to do, show, make with you.

We will do as much as we can this year to grow and engage community with creative arts. Come with us. We need you.
x

(PART 2: RECOMMENDED CHANGE)
Coordinator recommendations for the future of NAF.

This document is part of the NAF Coordinator report for the 2015 Northfield Arts Forum AGM.

The impact of NAF over our 4 wards has been vast, yet still has the capacity to grow. We have seeded many community groups with quality work since the inception of NAF. To water and nurture the work we have planted, in the hope of creating a positive legacy across the area, I believe we need a change to our working structure.

Recommended change:

Management changes.
The board should consist of clearly defined roles. Chair/Secretary/Treasurer all who have a responsibility to attend, lead and manage the forum policies and finances from the 4 quarterly meetings outlined in the constituency (of which 1 will be the AGM).

A further 3 to 5 “on the ground” board members to have the responsibility of making connections and relationships, identifying need and funding to meet that need, building community through creative art across the 4 wards. These positions would be voted in yearly and with full voting rights(as with all other board members) and would be in a volunteer capacity. They would be: a Communications Officer (the post which Leo currently fills) plus 1 to 3 ward facilitators. Local creative practitioners who would each oversee a ward/s in a volunteer capacity, alleviating the workload on the NAF Coordinator (the role I currently hold) who would continue to oversee the whole of the forum engagement and delivery, but with Facilitators taking key roles/areas/projects responsibilities, and reporting to the Coordinator.

I recommend the NAF Coordinator becomes a volunteer post, voted in yearly and with full voting rights (as with all other board members). Most of the day-to-day Coordinator work that is currently done is technically on a volunteer capacity already, the £2.5k budget from the City Council goes on the meetings with council/meetings with Arts Champion/planning monthly meetings/planning and delivery from within the £1k delivery budget. Making the Coordinator role a volunteer post with voting rights would create clarity, meaning that any monies (such as if we still receive the coordination funds from City Council next march) would be used for specific projects with clear and precise contracted tasks and hours.

Although the Coordinator, Facilitator/s and Communications posts will be volunteer positions in how they oversee the forum and its relationships/community building across the wards, when specific funding for projects is successfully applied for, the creative professionals in these roles will be contracted to deliver the projects in a paid capacity. Fees and responsibilities will be discussed and documented before any funding application is submitted to ensure transparency in all decisions. These “on the ground” posts would meet at least monthly with a strong remit to apply for funding and deliver work, as well as find and grow partnerships with local organisations and community groups. The Facilitator roles would not have to be filled all of the time if creative professionals with the desire and time were not found each year, although at least 1 would support the Coordinator post immensely (and 3 facilitators would mean that alongside the Coordinator a single person could take responsibility for engaging with each ward).

The Coordinator and Facilitator roles would also cover named key roles, such as:fundraiser. Volunteer management. Asset management(We should buy a shed or storage space to keep bought and given assets) etc.

Members.

As raised by Laura Yates and Julie Pope some time ago, it would be healthy to create a members scheme where those excited and galvanised want to be involved can have more responsibility than simply attending, but less than being a board member. I propose we put in place the suggested members scheme with a token amount paid each year to retain membership. We would need to discuss rewards/perks/responsibilities for members, to answer the question “why be a member?”.

Monthly meeting changes

We have spoken a number of times since the inception of NAF about creating a NAFCaf(e).
I suggest that we instigate this from January, changing our monthly Monday meetings to monthly Thursday meetings, potentially at the Baptist Church cafe. With live music from across the 4 wards, art on display, workshops tested out, coffee, cake and chat. I would hope this space could also be one for local creatives to network.

Reason for change

I believe these changes will create a more holistic approach to the forum, with responsibility spread wider to a team of locally based creative experts, relieving pressure from the Coordinator and Chair, whilst allowing for more pinpoint and in depth creative activity across a wider area than we currently work within. I believe this will increase our impact and capacity immensely, bringing positive change to those in the forum, those we directly engage with, and the communities impacted indirectly around us.

Coordinator recommendations for the future of NAF.

This document is part of the NAF Coordinator report for the 2015 Northfield Arts Forum AGM.

The impact of NAF over our 4 wards has been vast, yet still has the capacity to grow. We have seeded many community groups with quality work since the inception of NAF. To water and nurture the work we have planted, in the hope of creating a positive legacy across the area, I believe we need a change to our working structure.

Recommended change:

Management changes.
The board should consist of clearly defined roles. Chair/Secretary/Treasurer all who have a responsibility to attend, lead and manage the forum policies and finances from the 4 quarterly meetings outlined in the constituency (of which 1 will be the AGM).

A further 3 to 5 “on the ground” board members to have the responsibility of making connections and relationships, identifying need and funding to meet that need, building community through creative art across the 4 wards. These positions would be voted in yearly and with full voting rights(as with all other board members) and would be in a volunteer capacity. They would be: a Communications Officer (the post which Leo currently fills) plus 1 to 3 ward facilitators. Local creative practitioners who would each oversee a ward/s in a volunteer capacity, alleviating the workload on the NAF Coordinator (the role I currently hold) who would continue to oversee the whole of the forum engagement and delivery, but with Facilitators taking key roles/areas/projects responsibilities, and reporting to the Coordinator.

I recommend the NAF Coordinator becomes a volunteer post, voted in yearly and with full voting rights (as with all other board members). Most of the day-to-day Coordinator work that is currently done is technically on a volunteer capacity already, the £2.5k budget from the City Council goes on the meetings with council/meetings with Arts Champion/planning monthly meetings/planning and delivery from within the £1k delivery budget. Making the Coordinator role a volunteer post with voting rights would create clarity, meaning that any monies (such as if we still receive the coordination funds from City Council next march) would be used for specific projects with clear and precise contracted tasks and hours.

Although the Coordinator, Facilitator/s and Communications posts will be volunteer positions in how they oversee the forum and its relationships/community building across the wards, when specific funding for projects is successfully applied for, the creative professionals in these roles will be contracted to deliver the projects in a paid capacity. Fees and responsibilities will be discussed and documented before any funding application is submitted to ensure transparency in all decisions. These “on the ground” posts would meet at least monthly with a strong remit to apply for funding and deliver work, as well as find and grow partnerships with local organisations and community groups. The Facilitator roles would not have to be filled all of the time if creative professionals with the desire and time were not found each year, although at least 1 would support the Coordinator post immensely (and 3 facilitators would mean that alongside the Coordinator a single person could take responsibility for engaging with each ward).

The Coordinator and Facilitator roles would also cover named key roles, such as:fundraiser. Volunteer management. Asset management(We should buy a shed or storage space to keep bought and given assets) etc.

Members.

As raised by Laura Yates and Julie Pope some time ago, it would be healthy to create a members scheme where those excited and galvanised want to be involved can have more responsibility than simply attending, but less than being a board member. I propose we put in place the suggested members scheme with a token amount paid each year to retain membership. We would need to discuss rewards/perks/responsibilities for members, to answer the question “why be a member?”.

Monthly meeting changes

We have spoken a number of times since the inception of NAF about creating a NAFCaf(e).
I suggest that we instigate this from January, changing our monthly Monday meetings to monthly Thursday meetings, potentially at the Baptist Church cafe. With live music from across the 4 wards, art on display, workshops tested out, coffee, cake and chat. I would hope this space could also be one for local creatives to network.

Reason for change

I believe these changes will create a more holistic approach to the forum, with responsibility spread wider to a team of locally based creative experts, relieving pressure from the Coordinator and Chair, whilst allowing for more pinpoint and in depth creative activity across a wider area than we currently work within. I believe this will increase our impact and capacity immensely, bringing positive change to those in the forum, those we directly engage with, and the communities impacted indirectly around us.

Oliver Armstrong

Northfield Arts Forum Coordinator

Comments: