Conference 2019: Mapping the Midlands

  • The Empire Coventry
  • 27/03/2019
  • 09:30 AM - 05:00 PM

Mapping the Midlands is a conference exploring the territories of cultural education, collaborative research and placemaking in the Midlands. In this one-day event in Coventry we will investigate the cultural landscapes of time and place in the context of collaboration with universities, creative organisations, projects and individuals.

The conference, convened by The Midlands Higher Education and Culture Forum, encourages a journey both to and from the centre of the country; geographically, philosophically and psychologically. Rather than an inward take on our regional identity (or seeming lack of one), the forum here takes a broader view of centrality itself, looking at the theme from a range of contexts and encouraging advocacy and communication. The Forum has invited a broad range of commentators working locally and from broader national and international contexts.

This event is now fully booked. Follow the booking link to add yourself to the waiting list. We will let you know if a space becomes available

The conference is free to attend and a delicious hot vegetarian lunch will be provided.


Cultural Education in the Midlands – knowing our past to help shape our future

This session will feature three speakers who between them have a wealth of knowledge and experience of cultural education in the East and West Midlands. Each has contributed to significant and seminal work and research in the region. Francois Matarasso, community arts worker, writer and researcher; Paul Roberts OBE, ACE National Council and a Commissioner for the Durham Commission and Professor Pat Thomson, University of Nottingham. Our panel will ask, what can we learn from the distant and more recent history of participatory arts practice in the Midlands? And how could that knowledge help shape future Cultural Education policy and practice across the region?

This panel will be chaired by Jacqui O’Hanlon, RSC Director of Education and will include Rob Elkington, Director, Arts Connect West Midlands and Nick Owen MBE, CEO, The Mighty Creatives, to reflect on the current context and propose ideas for a future that would see every young person in the region able to make, shape and participate in the arts.

Collaborative Research: Current Landscapes and New Directions

Collaborative Research panel explores the current landscape of collaboration between Higher Education and the Cultural sector and examines opportunities to promote experimental and creative research methods in both fields. Our speakers will articulate how these collaborative practices contribute to new modes of knowledge production and research methodologies in non-academic and academic contexts. This panel aims to engage with current debates around collaborative research across the HE and cultural sectors; advocating for a more collaborative dialogue where cultural partners also contribute to the development of research questions and advance methods to further new modes of research.

The panel comprises Maria Hlavajova, founding General and Artistic Director of BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht and Anthony Downey, Professor of Visual Culture in North Africa and the Middle East, Birmingham City University. The panel will be introduced and moderated by Carolina Rito, Head of Public Programmes and Research at Nottingham Contemporary and Bill Balaskas, Associate Professor in Visual Communication & Research Coordinator at Nottingham Trent University.

Placemaking - The context of a place for change

Our final session will look at placemaking from the context of change. Speakers will include Rashid Bhayat, founder and CEO of Positive Youth Foundation in Coventry and Lara Ratnaraja, a freelance cultural consultant specialising in diversity, innovation, leadership, collaboration and cultural policy implementation within the HE, cultural and digital sector.

The panel will look at local agencies working together to change place and how new agencies can work together to make changes and challenge the status quo, in conversation with Eleonora Belfiore, Professor of Communication and Media studies at Loughborough University. The discussion will be chaired by Geoff Willcocks, Director of Arts, Culture and Heritage at Coventry University and Chair of Coventry Music Education Hub.


Diversity in cultural work: The importance of role models

This session is convened by CAMEo Research Institute for Cultural and Media Economies at The University of Leicester and will feature theatre director, producer and researcher Suzanne Gorman. Suzanne will present key findings from Where Am I?, a project that looked at the importance of BAME role models in relation to workforce diversity and how they can help challenge and change the status quo. She will also introduce The Pocket Guide to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Role Models and Leaders in the Performing Arts, one of the project’s main outputs.

A Walk around the City of Culture

This short tour through the city of Coventry will show the city's rich heritage, and how the historic environment is being used in placemaking. Looking at the city's medieval and industrial heritage, as well as the post-war regeneration; the walk will prompt examination of how initiatives and projects across the city are using heritage to bring economic and cultural regeneration. The walk will look at work by Historic Coventry Trust and the City of Culture Trust, as well as other initiatives.

Making a Cultural Education Promise

This practical workshop will introduce some of the key pieces of research that tell us about how to create arts rich environments in schools and universities and how the voices of young people can be central to the promises we make about cultural access. Participants will leave the workshop with a set of principles that can be applied in large or small organisations as well as at policy level.

This event is now fully booked. Follow the booking link to add yourself to the waiting list. We will let you know if a space becomes available

Book now