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RD NG


FORWARD THINKING


Heart of Glass / A Modest Proposal


WE ARE VERY PROUD OF WHAT HEART OF GLASS, OUR CONSORTIUM PARTNERS AND THE PEOPLE OF ST HELENS HAVE ACHIEVED TO DATE.


Our co-produced programme has created radical and exciting art, and brought internationally renowned artists to work with communities across the borough. As we embark on our second full year of operation, our thinking expands to how we can maintain that richness, quality and dynamism going forward and, having laid those all-important foundations, how we can continue to work with the people of St Helens to achieve great work, deliver interesting projects and building a vibrant arts ‘ecology’ for the long-term. Stagnation is not an option. Growth is the only way forward.


New ideas, collaborations and partnerships are central to our strategic vision for growth. Building around Arts Council England’s Creative People and Places ethos as its nucleus, the vision sees a catalytic growth model in which existing relationships are strengthened and new, exciting and innovative partnerships are forged.


The Heart of Glass approach is anything but superficial. Arguably reflecting the idiosyncratic nature of St Helens, there is a depth and rigour to both our consortium partnership and our delivery, and a purposeful pragmatism in how we operate. Our work seeks to go beyond performance to explore art as meaning, redefining the terms of engagement with ‘audience’ as not about othering, but creating and fostering a deep and integrated relationship, and recognising ‘communities’ of place and interest as untapped resources rather than communities of need.


The strength and depth of these core relationships creates a solid centre point for the project, which supports and enables fluidity, risk-taking and experimentation around it. Our vision sees these dynamic ‘fronds’ extend to seek out new partnerships and collaborations as the basis for continued growth and innovation. By bringing in new ideas and approaches, these partnerships will feed and strengthen those core relationships, increasing viability and sustainability, and positioning St Helens at the centre of a rich and reciprocal arts network.


Our primary purpose in this endeavour is to develop St Helens as a centre for arts and artistic practice. Working with our partners and stakeholders in ‘Cultural Partners’, a new arts and cultural collective for St Helens, we will build capacity, develop good practice, and ensure that a robust infrastructure is in place to support this enhanced strategic leadership.


Knowledge lives everywhere. One of the benefits for Heart of Glass as a non-venue based organisation is being operationally fleet-of-foot. We are not restricted to a building, or constrained by the operational considerations that apply to most built venues. We are keen to explore a ‘nomadic’ approach to delivery, working across the borough in multiple contexts and with diverse communities, and to scope out further partnerships across the north-west region and beyond, building on our existing partnership with FACT, a member of our core consortium, and our collaborations with The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Tate Liverpool, Merseyside Dance Initiative, Homotopia, DaDa Fest, Contact Theatre, Live Art Development Agency, Wunderbar, (to name but a few), to seek out and bring in a broad range of learning, expertise and excellent arts practice.


In the longer-term, these networks could potentially be the basis for a national touring programme, growing into a wider network of European and ultimately worldwide partnerships, which could see internationally significant work manifest and realised in St Helens.


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