A look back: Forum Launch 2017


Working Groups

  • Collaborative Research led by Carolina Rito and Isobel Whitelegg, Programme Co-Director, MA Art Museum & Gallery Studies at University of Leicester
  • Cultural Education led by Jacqui O’Hanlon and Patricia Thompson, Professor of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences at University of Nottingham
  • Talent and Employability led by Rob Brannen with Michaela Butter, Director at Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester
  • Placemaking led by Geoff Willcocks and Eleonora Belfiore with Nic Millington, Chief Executive of Rural Media Charity, Hereford
  • Health and Wellbeing led by Rebecca Blackman (co-convenor to be defined)


Forum Launch Conference, 25 October 2017
This conference at Nottingham Contemporary brought together 150 people from the HE and Cultural Sectors to identify shared strategic challenges and issues and examined how we might collectively address them. It explored where we can more effectively collaborate and provide mutual benefit; to enable a stronger voice for our sectors in the Midlands and influence policy; to develop a space that enables a single joined up conversation. As anticipated, a number of task focused theme groups emerged from the conference. We began the event with sessions identified as of interest, but were keen for people who wanted to get involved to help shape and focus the forum.  It was intended as practical and useful and not just a talking shop.

Speakers: keynote speaker Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England with Q&A chaired by Sam Thorne; concluding remarks from Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England; Jacqui O’ Hanlon chaired an open discussion around the topic of ‘What’s Next?’

Breakout sessions comprised discussions on key topics, chaired by steering group members and guest speakers. These included:


  • Cultural Education – guest speaker: Erica Whyman, Deputy Artistic Director, RSC
  • Building a Collaborative Research Culture Between Sectors – guest speaker: Karen Salt, Assistant Professor and the co-director of the Centre for Research in Race and Rights at the University of Nottingham
  • Collaboration and Place-making – guest speaker: Andrew Dixon, Bid Adviser and Programme Director for Hull’s UK City of Culture in 2017; visiting professor at the Universities of Hull, Coventry and Warwick Business School