It was Newcastle in 2009 and for 2010, Eastbourne played host to the second national gathering of the Turning Point networks. Despite the gloomy funding forecast (the outcomes from the Comprehensive Spending Review had just been announced) the sun shone down on those 130 delegates who had made the journey to the South East coast to join colleagues in a day of discussion and exchange.

The tone was deliberately upbeat, alternatively entitled ‘never let a good crisis go to waste’[1] (suggested by Julia Bell of TPNE), the day’s programme was designed with plenty of opportunity for delegates to network, collaborate and share their experiences of working together.

For many, the highlight was the opening ‘keynote’ session by John Holden, an associate of the think tank Demos and visiting professor in cultural policy at City University London. Drawing on many examples from across the arts and beyond, John’s presentation examined how networks can function, and their beneficial impact on both organisational behavior and relationships with the outside world. There was general consensus that John’s contribution was both timely and thought provoking, providing us all with a focus on the hot topic of the day, namely, the rewards and challenges of working together as regional networks.

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With a number of workshops to chose from, the afternoon was an opportunity to reflect on the range of work being undertaken by the TP networks: market development, artists’ support and advocacy, digital developments and research into alternative business models.

Annabel Jackson’s workshop on the findings from her interim evaluation report on TPN was a useful opportunity to discuss what we have learnt so far.

The day ended with a firm commitment to working together through the networks, and an understanding that this will be essential for us all in the future if we are to thrive as a sector, in challenging times.

Thank you to all who made the journey to the South East and contributing to the day – we couldn’t have done it without you!

Amanda King

Turning Point South East

[1] but originally coined by Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s erstwhile Chief of Staff!