Cultural markers in the East of England

Month: February 2015

Be a volunteering Fellow
in Cambridge…

Volunteer for Cambridge

Saturday 28th February, 2015 – There is a great day of volunteering opportunities for the Fellowship in Cambridge this weekend. Visit The Guildhall and see!

Members of the regional Fellowship will be abroad, supporting 80 Cambridge based organisations who are ‘…working to create positive social and environmental change through volunteering‘.

Visit the Volunteer for Cambridge event page here...

11am to 4pm, Saturday 28th Feb. – The Guildhall, Market Square, Cambridge.

‘The aims of the fair are to get more people involved in volunteering, bring together organisations with shared aims and to break down the town/gown divide by opening the event up to students and locals alike. Anyone and everyone in Cambridge is welcome to attend!’ The Cambridge Hub

This is a great event that offers many opportunities for Fellows, anybody in fact, to seek out and engage with a broad range of organisations in Cambridge.

Volunteer and donate time and your specialist knowledge to any one of these great organisations. If you are a Fellow in Cambridge, or its hinterland, here is the event to start your journey with a new community.

phoneIconYou can book your free tickets on-line with Eventbrite here.

phoneIconFind the event on Facebook too. Visit the event page here.

By supporting The Hub, you are also helping students at Cambridge support and make a contribution to communities, helping them tackle their social and environmental issues.  Working in a collaborative and supportive way. You can see the story of The Hub here.

Image credit: Painting for the community – picture courtesy of The Cambridge Hub.


Visiting the Sainsbury Centre at UEA

(Image: Alberto Giacometti, with his work)

A visit to Sainsbury Centre on Friday 20th February, 2015

We had a group of seventeen fellows and friends who met up for the visit. We congregated at 10.30 for complimentary tea and coffee at the Modern Life café and then we were taken off by three guides to explore the Centre. We began with the Permanent exhibition on the ground floor and then after a short break proceeded to the basement exhibition areas to view the Reality exhibition, which was outstanding.

Curated by artist Chris Stevens, REALITY brings together over 50 works celebrating the strength of British painting with some of the best and most influential artists of the last sixty years.

The Sainsbury Centre is one of the most prominent university art galleries in Britain, and a major national Centre for the study and presentation of art.

It houses the extraordinary art collection of Robert and Lisa Sainsbury, as well as the Anderson Collection of Art Nouveau and the University’s Abstract and Constructivist Collection. Alongside these permanent collections, there is a range of temporary exhibitions, with new galleries providing the largest climate-controlled exhibition space in Eastern England. Also on offer is an award-winning learning programme of gallery talks, lectures and art workshops. (See the programme of lectures, symposia and training here).

The Collections at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts represent some of the most remarkable works of art assembled in the UK. The Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection features work spanning 5,000 years of human creativity. The presentation of art from across time and place continues to inspire and surprise and uniquely presents art as a universal global phenomenon.


Picasso, 1901-2 Femme au Cafe

The Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection
Permanently displayed in the Living Area Gallery, the collection includes major holdings of art from Oceania, Africa, the Americas, Asia, the ancient Mediterranean cultures of Egypt, Greece and Rome, Medieval Europe, and including a significant number of works acknowledged as seminal examples of European modern art. Pablo Picasso, Edgar Degas, Francis Bacon, Jacob Epstein, Henry Moore, Alberto Giacometti and Amedeo Modigliani are all represented in the collection.

The Lisa Sainsbury Ceramics Collection
Although not formally part of the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection, the Lisa Sainsbury Ceramics Collection represents a major collection of 20th century studio ceramics, including a significant body of work by Lucie Rie and Hans Coper.

The Sainsbury Abstract Collection
The Sainsbury Abstract Collection includes paintings from the post second world war Ecole de Paris with a strong preference for lyrical abstraction and Tachisme, art movements that flourished in France from 1945 to 1960. Notable artists included in the collection are Jean Fautrier, Charles Maussion and Mubin Orhon.

The Anderson Collection of Art Nouveau
Alongside the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection sits another principle collection; The Anderson Collection of Art Nouveau, donated in 1978 by Sir Colin Anderson, a close friend of Sir Robert and Lady Sainsbury. The collection represents artists working across a range of disciplines and materials such as glassware and furniture, metalware and jewelry. The collection includes pieces by leading exponents of Art Nouveau such as Louis Comfort Tiffany, Emile Gallé and René Lalique.

Vorticist David Bomberg's The Mud Bath, 1914

Vorticist David Bomberg’s The Mud Bath, 1914

The University Collection of Abstract and Constructivist Art, Design and Architecture was established by the University in 1968. This Collection concentrates on the non-objective, constructive and concrete art movements of the 20th century and the related fields of architecture and design, such as the English Vorticists, the Russian Suprematists and Constructivists, the Dutch De Stijl Group and the German Bauhaus School.

All who attended enjoyed getting to know each other and spoke of possibly another visit soon. It was very much enjoyed by all and many used their ticket to linger longer in the afternoon. Also, a new Francis Bacon exhibition is coming soon. The Francis Bacon paintings are currently at the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg and will return for the Francis Bacon and the Masters exhibition in April.

Possibly another day out!

Christine O’Hanlon FRSA

(Public domain images are for illustrative purposes only – they do not seek to represent the collections in the narrative about this visit).


The Self Employment Summit!

The RSA, in partnership with Google and craft marketplace Etsy, recently held a Self Employment summit. Stimulating debate and reflection about the changing landscape of employment and the rise and condition of those ‘going it alone’.

The short film below offers insights into the various debates on the day and some of the original ideas and thoughts emerging from the discussion…

See the movie on YouTubeSee the original film on YouTube here

The debate ranges across some interesting data, movements in the economy and is awash with definitions. Data seems to show that since the year 2000, the self -employed as a recognisable economic cohort, have increased by 30%. With the self-employed now representing some 15% of the total active work force in the UK.

Between 2008 and 2013, we are told, the self-employed made up a staggering 90% of all jobs created. Even more seismic, in terms of paradigm shift, is the suggestion that by 2017/2018, the self employed numerically, may exceed the total number of individuals currently working in the Public Sector.

For those of us who work across the Public Sector/Charitable Sector divide, this is perhaps not so surprising. As Local Authorities continue to divest themselves of employed core professional expertise in a number of community support, education and housing sectors, the expertise is re-hired as consultants or contractors.

What does set this change in context, however, is not the numeric rise in self-employment, whatever the sector, professional or otherwise. It is the dramatic increase in diminution of turnover.

Steven Toft, who is the author of Flip Chart Fairy Tales, speaking at the one day RSA event, opines that between 2008 and 2013 aggregate income by the self-employed has fallen by a staggering 8 billion pounds.

However you define being self-employed, and there are multiple definitions, in the RSA research, by HMRC and in the national Labour Market Survey – it is clear that there is a re-structuring of the nature of employment wholly under way.

What this movement is not, however, is an attempt to create quality of life, sustainability of earnings or the increase in cultural and fiscal capital that this change might, given the right business environment, look to build over time.

Not all self-employed people strive to be the next Richard Branson, but that for the individual, given this data, the drive might be led by a belief, actual or not, in the achievement of a better work/life balance, access to culture and the arts and an exercise of choice regardless of cost, that corporatism or global capital does not offer. We do not know.

Finally, we would have liked the debate to have extended fully across social enterprise/social business as a new model for the self employed and entrepreneurially minded.  New financial markets and new business models are emerging in these two sectors. Perhaps that is where the real dynamism in the economy is, for those who go it alone?

Other good reads for context:

See our recent article featuring Every Day Employers, an RSA report from the end of last year – offering insights and suggestions to restructure traditional employer/employee relationships. See more here…

See also Salvation in a Start-up, a RSA/Etsy report, from last summer, on the emergence of new micro-businesses. The why and how. See more here…



Towards a new social settlement?

This is a new report from Anna Coote, the Head of Social Policy at the New Economics Foundation. People, Planet, Power – Towards a new social settlement is an attempt to re-define the shape of economy and community, and how these concepts are leveraged through socio-political and econo-social models onwards through the 21st Century.


A new social settlement?

This NEF report is an engaging, challenging and thoughtful piece of work. It chimes well with current RSA intellectual modelling of the same themes.

pdfIcon4 Download a copy of the report here…

The RSA thought leadership, and the recent strategic review at the Society, led to challenging aims for this year on focus, impact and joining up.

What has emerged has been a three-pronged change aim scenario for the work of RSA Fellows and the Society. This is neatly all encapsulated by the driving force of Matthew Taylor’s keenly edged concept of The Power to Create.

The thematic change aims for 2015 of the RSA are given below…

  • Public services and communities
  • Creative learning and development
  • Economy, enterprise and manufacturing

Reading A New Social Settlement you will find long echoes and a contingency of similar RSA aims and concerns about  inequality, elite power, creativity and community empowerment.

NEF‘s aims for their new settlement are stated thus…

This settlement has three main goals: social justice, environmental sustainability, and a more equal distribution of power. There is a dynamic relationship between these goals; each depends on the others for fulfilment. Addressing them together means aiming for sustainable social justice, which requires a fair and equitable distribution of social, environmental, economic, and political resources between people, places, and – where possible – between generations.

In summation, Anna Coote stresses that the NEF report lays out a new set of goals and objectives, and offers some illustrative effects that can achieve them.

It is though, perhaps more importantly, that the semiotic significance of strategic review at the RSA and the concentration by other leading thinkers on societal change and economic renewal of an equitable kind, all indicate that a sea-change may be under way.

The partiality of tax gatherers, the greed of bankers and the ‘socially neutral’ activities of global business may, at last, be under assault.

Be part of the debate, be part of a movement that puts equality of distribution, whether economic, social or intellectual, at the forefront of its aims.  Be part of the RSA?


Coffee with my Fellowship Councillor?



On Saturday 7th February, 2015 conversationsEAST are sponsoring an informal Open House drop-in event at their offices in Cambridge. Tim Smith FRSA will be holding a Fellowship Counsellor surgery, in his role as Fellowship Counsellor for the East of England. (Tim’s sponsored programme covers the region at monthly intervals or so. See more here...)

He’ll also be wearing his hat as Editor of this on-line publication, so a well as his Fellowship Council agenda, if you have a Fellow led project you would like support for, or to talk with another Fellow around funding, governance, communications or operational development…Tim will be on hand from 10.00am.

If you are intending to bring a charabanc of a dozen Fellows or so, do let Tim know, as our loft space will quickly fill up. See more details of Tim’s agenda and contact details for the day, including the creation of a women’s group to advance the interests of female Fellows in the region, here…

 RSA Engage

‘The Power to Create is the theme of much RSA work this year and this Connect event will bring local Fellows (an interested others) together to discuss both local issues and exciting work coming out of the RSA’.

The RSA are currently about to deliver a suite of RSA Engage events in the Eastern Region. There are forthcoming events in Ipswich, Cambridge and other Fellow population centres. See details below.

  • RSA Connect Ipswich on 9 Feb
  • RSA Engage Cambridge on 21 April
  • RSA Connect Bedford on 12 May
  • RSA Connect Peterborough on 8 Sept

You can find an EventBrite booking page for the forthcoming Ipswich event here.

These Engage events are a great opportunity to meet the team from The House and to develop contacts and share ideas with other Fellows, or yet to be Fellows too. See you there?



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