Getting people from the arts and education sectors in the same place is the core of what we’re trying to do with A2:Connect. One of our methods right from the start was to hold a termly meeting for everyone in the region who is interested and involved in arts in education to gather together face to face.
The meeting is an opportunity for conversation, networking, an opportunity to see presentations about different projects and initiatives and to learn, exchange views and contribute to mapping a direction to the network.
We’ve held two meeting so far one back in March when things were just starting and another in July. The conversations and questions have helped us to start to put together a programme of activities for the network and learn from each other about what the future should look like.
We learned that regular termly meetings were seen as useful and that the meetings should focus on a particular theme or issue. We’re going to move the meetings around the area and between schools and cultural venues. The meetings have also been an opportunity to explore the different parts of the Creative Learning through the Arts plan and how the Lead Creative Schools Scheme, Regional Network and Experiencing the Arts Fund are very different but complementary programmes and we’ve also looked at the Artworks Cymru Quality Principles
As A2:Connect matures we envisage that the meetings will be hosted and led by different organisations both arts, heritage and educational. The events are open and free and we’ve been exploring a number of different meeting, discussion and forum styles so it’s not the same old panel discussion or Q&A format and as many voices as possible can be heard.
Our intention is that there is always some take away learning to be had and that everyone leaves with some clear ideas for creating, developing and encouraging valuable arts experiences for young people.