by Lizzie Crump, What Next? National Strategic Lead
Cultural Learning Alliance | www.culturallearningalliance.org.uk
There is a great deal of critical work to do in navigating COVID and beyond for the arts and cultural sector, and we’re looking for colleagues to join our leadership and drive this work forwards.
This is a paid opportunity for freelancers.
To support our new strategy, the growth and development of the movement, and to ensure we have a diverse and effective leadership able to respond to this emergency situation, What Next? is seeking to recruit up to eight new members to its Steering Group; a leadership team that supports the core team and the national movement as a whole. It’s an easy, light touch and accessible process (but please do let us know if it doesn’t work for you).
Commitment: During the crisis we are meeting virtually around every two weeks for an hour, but we expect this to resolve to monthly meetings from October 2020 onwards. We are looking for colleagues from anywhere in the UK, and for leaders from a range of backgrounds, lived experiences and perspectives. We are committed to ensuring that this opportunity is fully accessible.
This opportunity is open to colleagues new to What Next?, change-makers who want to challenge and evolve practices, and existing WN? members who want to take on a leadership role.
For more information on Why now? Who we are looking for? And benefits including a stipend for freelancers, please see here.
If you’d like to talk it through, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
About What Next?
What Next? brings people together to debate and shape the future of arts and culture. We are the only, free-to-access national movement that brings together both freelancers, and small and large organisations to debate and shape the future of the arts and culture in the UK. We are comprised of 30 chapters, who each meet regularly in their own local community and together at regular meetings. All are supported by a tiny core team working a total of 3.5 days a week and a Steering Group of sector leaders.
What we are doing now
Throughout 2019 What Next? undertook a strategic review to refresh our vision, mission and reaffirm our values (more below). When the COVID crisis hit, we were really grateful we had done this, as the work gave us an excellent frame to guide our response.
Over the last eight weeks, What Next? meetings all over the country have been coming together. We’ve been working with one another, with partners and with the civil service to make a useful and effective contribution in this time of chaos and crisis.
We see our role in this to use the capacity and agency we have to champion the voices in our sector which may not have a route to government to explain what is happening to them. Together we have set up Roundtables, drafted papers, and presented the findings directly to Ministers. We’ve shared news and resources, hosted mass Zoom meetings, and we are now working to streamline opportunities to change policy, and to plan the next stages of our response to the pandemic.
We have agreed that throughout COVID-19 we will work with our partners across the country to:
- champion those in acute and immediate need and foreground the needs, strengths and experiences of young people, disabled artists and freelancers
- share information on lockdown activity and models, and plan for effective transition
- explore and engage with the changing wider context: asking what the needs will be for education, climate change, local communities and government and for our international partnerships
- make the strongest and most coherent case we can for investment into arts, culture and communities as part of a national strategy which prioritises social outcomes, diversity, young people and those who have been left economically vulnerable by the virus.
These decisions have been made collectively by the 30 Chapters that make up What Next?, by our tiny core team (which is the equivalent of one paid full time person), and its advisory Steering Group (Consisting of David Lan, Alistair Spalding, Jamie Beddard, Dave Moutrey and Suzanne Alleyne). We have been convening weekly Chapter Chair meetings and Steering Group meetings to discuss and respond to the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Our new strategic framework: headlines
What Next? brings people together to debate and shape the future of arts and culture in the UK
We are the only, free-to-access national movement that brings together both freelancers, and small and large organisations to debate and shape the future of the arts and culture in the UK.
Arts and Culture play a vital role in creating a more equitable society.
This will be achieved when:
- all people have access to arts and culture, and the sector reflects the full diversity of our communities
- the arts and culture sector takes greater ownership of its public sector role, improving quality of life for all
- Democracy: creating models for open and purposeful conversation
Equity: creating conditions for a more equitable movement and society
- Leadership: building the conditions for everyone in our movement to make change
- Creativity: embedding and celebrating creativity across our movement
- Generosity: sharing our skills, expertise and resources with each other
- Trust: building relationships and a more resilient sector.
How we work:
- facilitate conversations with each other, politicians, funders, partners, activists and the public
- build knowledge, relationships and resilience in the arts and cultural sector
- lobby for the arts and culture, creating collective responses to policy proposals and national and local strategies
- create national campaigns and collective resources to effect the things the movement cares about.
We are comprised of 30 chapters operating across the UK, who each meet regularly in their own local community and together at quarterly meetings. All are supported by a tiny core team working a total of 3.5 days a week and a Steering Group of sector leaders.
Our Three Priorities for 2020
- Influence policy-making to make the case for the arts, culture and communities
- Organise the WN? movement around debating and shaping the future of the cultural sector
- Diversify and strengthen the leadership of WN?
Each action attempts to respond to the needs of the Cultural Sector, and respond in a way that enables WN? to:
- Build movement leadership and ownership
- Create clear channels of decision-making and communication
- Diversify and strengthen leadership
- Communicate WN? Vision, mission, values and strategies