The Midlands Higher Education & Culture Forum is a dynamic network bringing together and building partnerships between Higher Education and the Cultural Sector across the Midlands. We aim to make a significant impact on the way we view research in a cultural context both regionally and nationally, providing a cohesive view of the landscape in order to advocate effectively.
In 2018-19, our forum comprised working groups focused on themed priorities developed out of conversations at our launch conference in late 2017 at Nottingham Contemporary. This convened 150 people from Higher Education and Cultural Sectors to identify shared strategic challenges and issues. It allowed us to examine how we might collectively address them and 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 and to develop a space that enables a single joined up conversation. Throughout the summer and autumn of 2018, our working groups delivered a series of informal events and a second conference, Mapping the Midlands, which took place in Coventry in 2019.
Our steering group from 2018-19 was chaired by Sam Thorne, director of Nottingham Contemporary and comprised Rebecca Blackman, Director Midlands (Birmingham) of Arts Council England; Mark Done, Senior Relationship Manager, Midlands at Arts Council England; Michaela Butter, MBE, Director of Attenborough Arts in Leicester; Eleonora Belfiore, Professor of Communication & Media Studies at Loughborough University; Doris Eikhof, Deputy Director of CAMEo Research Centre at the University of Leicester and Paula Serafini, Research Associate at CAMEo Research Centre at the University of Leicester plus members of the current executive group. Previous members remain critical friends to the project and continue to provide consultation and advice.