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Co-Creation Roundtable

WCE held a roundtable discussion on the subject of Co-Creation at Millburn House, University of Warwick on the afternooon of 8th July 2015. This topic emerged from WCE's earlier 'Locating Cultural Value' event: a number of our partners, from both academia and the arts community, were interested in looking more deeply at issues surrounding the concept of co-creation between artists, communities and universities. These include ways of developing links and partnerships; tensions around engagement and arts production; how research might inspire production; the role of research in investigating the impact of arts work with communities; how research itself might be co-created.

The discussion involved a small number of people (15 in all) who had expressed a particular interest in this subject, both arts practitioners and academics, all of whom have been working in ways conducive to co-creation. The introductory speakers at this event were: Karl Greenwood, Appetite, Stoke; Heather Parker, University Neighbourhood Project, Coventry University; and Cath Lambert, Sociology Department, University of Warwick. These opening contributions were followed by in-depth discussion embracing practical examples of work and of the ideas and issues arising from this approach to creativity, community engagement and pedagogy.

Locating Cultural Value

For details of this event, see separate page.

All Roads Lead to Coventry

'All Roads Lead to Coventry' was an event initiated by Warwick Creative Exchange, and co-organised with Warwick Arts Centre and Coventry Artspace, to explore how arts and culture can help to build a thriving city that draws in its visitors and nourishes its citizens. It aimed to bring together artists and cultural producers, Coventry City Council officers and councillors, and academics from both Warwick and Coventry Universities. Held on 16th September 2014, it was supported with grants from Warwick’s Humanities Research Fund and Institute of Advanced Study.

The event took the form of a series of walks through the city, starting from significant but often undervalued or little-known places. On the way the participants (in groups of five or six) were encouraged to think about what can make the city a more engaging environment and what barriers are in the way of what we want the city to be; to stop and speak to people, hear their stories, take photographs; to explore the old and imagine the new.

The walks all ended at the EGO performance company's venue, where we had lunch and then shared together what we had learnt – bringing together new insights, uncovering what we already knew in a different light.

To find out more about 'All Roads Lead to Coventry', read Chris Bilton's blog and watch out for more blogs on the Warwick Creative Exchange blogpage in the coming weeks.

The Audience as Co-producer: Re-thinking the role of the artist and authorship in the digital era

WCE's seminar 'The Audience as Co-producer: Re-thinking the role of the artist and authorship in the digital era' took place at AE Harris (home of Stan's Cafe) in Birmingham on Tuesday 20th May. Despite a prolonged deluge of rain - which chose our travel time as the best moment to drench us! - many hardy souls arrived to hear contributions from Annette Mees, Co-director of interactive theatre-makers, Coney and Sam Underwood, musician, sound artist, and artist-in-residence at THSH Birmingham.

The event was opened by Chris Bilton, Director of the Centre for Cultural Policy Studies at the University of Warwick, and aimed to explore questions such as 'Can digital tools enhance and develop collaborations between artists and their audiences?' and 'What new forms of collaboration between artists and audiences are being developed without the use of digital technology?'

The speakers triggered a stimulating discussion with the audience, which continued in conversations over drinks after the presentations. You can take part in this conversation yourself, using #wcecopro, and you can watch a video of the event here:

Building Partnerships Seminar & Workshop

The Warwick Creative Exchange Partnership-Building Seminar and Workshop was held at Warwick Arts Centre on 5th February 2014.

The event was designed to kick-start new collaborations between researchers from the University of Warwick and arts practitioners and producers, and also offered the opportunity for participants to apply to WCE for two development grants of £1,000 (funded by the University of Warwick’s GRP Connecting Cultures programme).

Those attending heard presentations from three successful collaborations: Happenstance, Qualia, and This_is_Tomorrow; and then took part in a working session to identify potential partners and projects.

At the end of the event, participants were invited to submit written applications for the development awards. Ten proposals were submitted in all, and at a panel meeting of WCE and RSS, two proposals were awarded the development grants:

  • "Drama and Democracy: engaging young people in political and democratic narratives through educational theatre and drama" - Partners: Dr Renske Doorenspleet, Associate Professor, Politics & International Studies AND Big Brum Theatre in Education Company.
  • "DSCH (Dmitri Shostakovitch)" - Partners: Professor Christopher Read, History AND Talking Birds Theatre Company.

Read more here.

Is Culture Valuable?

You can watch or download a video of the event below.

Articulating cultural value is a key and ongoing issue for cultural practitioners and organisations as well as for academics working across a wide range of disciplines. At this moment in particular, there is pressure and temptation to frame the value of arts and culture in ways that draw heavily from economics and to justify public spending in this field primarily in terms of jobs, economic development, and tourism. Warwick Creative Exchange's first seminar, held at Warwick Arts Centre on 27th June 2013, aimed to tackle these issues from a wider set of concerns and approaches, in order to contribute to the growing debate on why and how the arts and culture are valued by both the people who create it and those who participate in it.

Is Culture Valuable? - a conversation facilitated by playwright and cultural commentator David Edgar, with: