Cultural markers in the East of England

Month: July 2015

Inequality in Education

The Future of Education in England

5 October 2015, 6pm – 9pm   –  The RSA, The Great Room, 8 John Adam Street, London, WC2N 6EZ

“Inequality in Education: The Future of Education in England – Organised by RSA London Inequality in Education Network hosted by Annette Smith, Education Consultant and member of Turning The Tide.

We are delighted to announce two great speakers: Diane Reay, Professor of Education at Cambridge University & Danny Dorling, Professor University of Oxford. Both speakers are passionate and informed critics of the current education system“.

The booking page on Eventbrite offers you full details of this interesting and informative event. On the booking page you can see the key questions that are to be addressed by Diane Reay and Danny Dorling, with an opportunity for you to tender your ideas and comments on the questions ahead of the event.

‘We are doing this because we think it unlikely that any significant changes will be made unless there is a strong social movement supporting progressive reform and we intend the meeting to be a contribution to the building of such a movement’.

eventbriteButton See more on this Eventbrite page here.

You can also review our last conversationsEAST article on Inequality in Education, about the previous group event. See more here.

Here both Pasi Sahlberg and Peter Mortimer gave relevant and commensurately challenging speeches about our emerging movement and ‘the state of the education nation’ in England.

See you on the evening of the 5th October?

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A Digital Toolkit,
for the Arts?


See your copy here…

Making Digital Work – A digital toolkit for Arts and Culture is one of the latest publications available from The Digital R&D Fund for the Arts.

This is a stunning piece of work, encapsulating business modelling, ideas curation and potentiality for delivery , route mapping and success measurement – all through the meta-filter of the arts and culture agenda.

The toolkit is not a complex piece, nor is it exhaustive, but it does contain processes which any arts focused project can use to identify new opportunities, to plan the business case for the digital work, focus on audience and user value, collaborate, design, build and engage, then evaluate and share.

Simple and effective solutions to arts project planning and delivery in the digital domain.

interneticon You can view the full document or download sections here…

‘The arts sector is fizzing with ideas and creative ambition. Large and small organisations are using digital technologies to deliver dazzling online experiences linked to live events, useful services for learners, interactive displays in physical spaces and so much more’. Source: The Concept – Digital Toolkit

Whether developing the concept in mind with the Six Hats methodology or taking a more mainstream approach to idea development by using the Business Model Canvas, then the toolkit from The Digital R&D Fund for the Arts offers plenty of opportunity to use the techniques best suited to your management team, volunteers or funders.

We like the Business Model Canvas. Using it with our Third Sector clients is a good way to encapsulate the business argument and key considerations for the community enterprise. You can see an example on here.

Using it here, in the arts and culture context, the main headings have been adjusted to include clarity of thought in the project overview, sales and marketing, operations and resources, staff and management…and finance too.

Contemplating a digital arts or cultural project then the web lends itself to testing, data collection, evaluation and storytelling derived from a completed project. The digital toolkit contains much that is useful in using and shaping output from new media and new technology, within the context of arts delivery.

We recently wrote, on our Communications EAST Toolkit page about The Growthverse, a very useful web service that can help you decide upon and plan deployment of your new media, user relationships and feedback methodologies. We commend it to arts professionals too. Although it is intended for tech start-ups, there is insight to be gained from exploring it, we would argue.

In summation, this is the toolkit for arts and culture in the digital age, bar none. The closing pages contain useful links, not only to the Digtal R&D Fund, but also to the Nesta Creative Enterprise toolkit, a variety of digital capacity resources from the Arts Council and the Design Council Guide to Design.

If you are a practitioner…connect to the internet and diary some laptop time, you will need it.

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Enjoy The Fling!

The Fling Festival is taking place today on Saturday 4th July at Hylands Park in Chelmsford.


Where is the The Fling?

‘An abundance of local talent across four music stages, including Paolo MorenaLittle Donkey, The Midnight Barbers, Secret Company, Stealing Signs, The Kubricks, Creme de Chevre, ukulele group D’Ukes,  Band of Fools, Tall Dark Friend, Ady Johnson, Animal Noise, Papa Shango,  Bakerside and 12 piece group Nat & The Noise Brigade,  who will be bringing their eclectic mix of brass, wind, strings and more to Hylands Park…’

However, there is talk set amongst all the music and song.

This RSA Fellow supported event runs from 12.00 to 21.00 in Hylands Park on Saturday 4th July. Adults only. Tickets from £22,  There are over 300 performers in the programme including live music and cabaret.
Malcolm Noble FRSA, the Fellowship regional Chair, is leading a debate in the Provocative Forum tent. The motions being debated include:
  • Who cares if the Scots go for independence?
  • The UK needs to leave the EU now.
  • What’s wrong with a Tory government anyway?
  • Who needs Human Rights?
  • The only way is austerity.

Nothing contentious there then? Looking forward to a great day!

The Fling Festival is produced by the Cultural Events Team at Chelmsford City Council


The Blue New Deal
from NEF


This new research report from the New Economics Foundation (NEF) is a refreshing look at our coastal communities and their economies.

It provides proposals for action, which are leavened through a recognition of history and localised specialist skills. The analysis is elevated beyond the ordinary ‘top down research’ by emphasising the need for socio-political and economic frameworks in coastal communities which re-connect people  with nature and the coastal landscape – a series of contours that are geographical, industrial and philosophical.

The report takes us out of the ivory tower and into the sand dunes.


See your copy here…

pdfIcon4  You can view, print or download a pdf copy of this NEF report here…

Previous NEF research has already looked at how  a low-carbon economy can generate new jobs and economic entities,  that can offer secure, decently paid and satisfying work in a more equally distributed economic landscape. See more here…

The essence of the New Blue Deal is to build on existing initiatives and create a mixed framework of five changes and economic thematic deliveries, which are sustainable, inviting and inclusive to the communities of focus.

  • Ÿ Ÿsustainable fisheries and aquaculture
  • renewable energy
  • coastal tourism and related activities
  • Ÿ innovative approaches to coastal management
  • opportunities to re-connect people with nature

‘For the fishing industry, for example, NEF analysis  shows that restoring UK fish stocks to healthy levels and promoting lower carbon emissions through
quota allocation across the main UK fishing fleets would mean an extra 457,000 tonnes of fish landed each year, leading to an additional £268 million
GVA (Gross Value Added) and a 24% increase in employment, the equivalent of 4,922 new jobs’.

Source: Carpenter, G., Esteban, A. (2015) Managing EU fisheries in the public interest: Results from the Bio-Economic Model of European Fleets. New Economics Foundation. Results calculated using 2010-2012 performance. New jobs estimate is made up of fishing jobs (11%) andprocessing jobs (89%). Retrieved from:

The report looks at a variety of UK locations, with fishing being a key focus of course. However, other work is highlighted. Engagement and partnerships that work across responsible tourism, leisure and recreation.

From Anglesey Adventures, a business working in the outdoor leisure arena, to The Venus Company, working in its chain of cafes to ‘…balance customer needs with environmental and social considerations’. We particularly liked the feature on Learn to Sea, a ‘sea school’ project in South Devon. Using the coastal spaces as an educational resource which informs children and young people, but which also carries forward the ideas of sustainability, economic durability and environmental awareness into the next generation.

Here at conversationsEAST we are incredibly fond of the Suffolk coastline, for example. But we look at areas around communities like Great Yarmouth or Lowestoft, with their long tradition of fishing and livelihoods from the sea. Whilst we recognise that ‘Big Oil’ does provide jobs and technical advancement for some sectors of the community, without doubt, creating a recognisable  influx of highly specialised employees from external sources.

Whilst this fosters economic activity which is vital, it does not reposition those communities to explore, create and sustain their history with their coastline and enable them to encourage the growth of entry level and intermediate skilled work.

The New Blue Deal does.

You do not need to spend long with the NEF document to see, in your mind, how your favourite stretch of coast can become a thriving community – a nexus of education, social and community enterprise, ocean facing and non-exploitative at every level.

We commend this report to our readers. If you would like to explore and track the New Blue Deal there is a new NEF website available here.



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