In Between Spaces – policy report launch event

We would like to invite you to join our discussion of the outcomes of the M4C Creative Economy Engagement Fellowship In-Between Spaces. This research project looked at the level of visibility and inclusion of Central and Eastern European (CEE) artists and their work in the UK’s creative economy. Together, with the panel of experts from the field of art and culture, we will present and problematise professional barriers faced by CEE artists living and working in Britain. 

Over the last 10 months we conducted a series of interviews with CEE artists, curators and cultural workers as well as with policy makers and policy implementers. Together, with a small scale scoping exercise of contemporary and heritage art sites, we have produced a policy report. This report, aimed at policy makers as well as artists and curators, reveals three key professional development challenges that have a material impact on CEE artists and their art produced while living as migrants in the UK. 

1. Work of CEE artists is predominantly contextualised in relationship to their cultural and ethnic heritage, which leads artists to feel uneasy in disclosing their cultural origins for fear of exclusion from certain art spaces. 

2. Large cultural and funding bodies do not have an understanding of CEE artists’ contemporary practices and the issues created through the process of migration (low income jobs, language difficulties, different educational system); this creates an environment of separation, meaning CEE artists do not have access to the same professional opportunities as their British counterparts.

3. Contemporary art spaces and arts festivals often show and support CEE artists’ work if it is not produced in the UK. Those professional practices do not represent CEE artists who live and work in the UK and further an experience of exclusion from the British art scene. 

The presentation of the policy report will be followed by a public discussion by a panel of experts drawn from the UK creative economies:

Steve Ball – Director of Culture Central and Associate Director at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre where he oversees learning, participation and community engagement. 

Hugh James – Senior Relationship Manager with the Arts Council England Midlands team. Previous roles include Education and Learning Officer with East Midlands Arts, Creative Director of Creative Partnerships Nottingham, and Director of Learning with The Mighty Creatives. Hugh has extensive experience as a practitioner in theatre in education, small-scale theatre and community arts, and is a qualified teacher with an MA in Drama in Education. He’s also worked as a museum research assistant, a musician and songwriter and a stand-up comic.

Alicja Kaczmarek- Director of Polish Expats Association and Centrala Space. Cultural producer, community leader focused on improving integration of Central and Eastern European communities and representation of CEE art in Britian. 

Lara Ratnaraja- freelance consultant specialising in ideas, innovation, leadership, collaboration , cultural policy implementation within the HE, cultural and digital sector. She develops and delivers projects and policy on how cultural and digital technology intersect for a number of national partners as well as programmes around leadership, resilience and business development for the arts.

Dr Nando Sigona- Nando Sigona is a social scientist with over fifteen years research and teaching experience in migration, refugee, citizenship and ethnic studies. He is Deputy Director of the Institute for Research into Superdiversity (IRiS) and a Research Associate at the University of Oxford’s Refugee Studies Centre.