Culture Forum North to launch in the Howard Assembly Room, Leeds

Culture Forum North, a new consortium of partnerships between higher education organisations and the cultural sector in the North of England, will be formally launched at the Howard Assembly Room, Leeds on Tuesday 24 May. Keynote speakers include Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair, Arts Council England; Andrew Thompson, interim CEO, Arts & Humanities Research Council and Pat Conner, Head of Development & Events, BBC North.

Culture Forum North embraces a wide range of arts and higher education organisations across the North of England. Partnerships focus on the three key areas: research, cultural and creative careers, and public engagement – areas where mutual ambitions have been proven to yield maximum impact. Such models of excellence include new professional development programmes in fundraising and theatre practice; collaborations that find inventive ways to share new research with the public; and professors in residence who change the way an organisation thinks and acts.

Peter Bazalgette, Chair, Arts Council England, comments:
“Arts Council England believes that higher education and arts partnerships can add up to so much more than the sum of their parts. Such partnerships in the North are bringing together creative forces that address culture, health and well-being and fuel professional skills development. And our colleges and universities as well as our arts organisations are up for it.”

Opera North Projects Director Dominic Gray, who leads Culture Forum North’s project group on research, comments:
“In the world of opera we’re very aware that collaboration is a dynamic and potent force: DARE, Opera North’s collaboration with the University of Leeds, facilitates the exchange of knowledge between academics and creative practitioners and plays a leading role in cultural thought, learning and practice. Culture Forum North underscores the importance of this outlook and expands it across the cultural and academic spectrum throughout the North, bringing together knowledge, experience and imagination to address shared questions. We think that being open to conversation between individuals, disciplines and sectors, might be a better way forward than sealing ourselves in separate envelopes.”

Alistair Hudson, Chair of Culture Forum North and Director of Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima), comments:
“The North has a powerful and compelling history of partnership between education, culture and society. The time is right for us to build on this strong foundation: universities and cultural organisations are increasingly taking leading roles in civic, social and economic developments. The breadth of organisations involved at this forum’s foundation is testament to the knowledge and experience of the highest quality that originates in the North, and to our commitment to working together to respond to key issues and opportunities in society. I am confident that through our collective endeavour and in partnership with leaders nationally and internationally, the Forum will drive bold, dynamic programmes that influence positive change in thinking and practice."

Professor Andrew Thompson, Interim Chief Executive of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) adds:
"The AHRC is committed to the development of high quality partnerships between researchers and practitioners that work in new ways to create knowledge that is vital to intellectual life and the health and wellbeing of communities. Culture Forum North exemplifies this philosophy, bringing together models of proven collaborative success and the collective expertise of its members across the North to achieve far-reaching impact on the world in which we live."

The day-long launch symposium on Tuesday 24 May, 11.00am – 4.30pm at the Howard Assembly Room in Leeds, will offer cultural and higher education organisations and agencies from across the sectors the opportunity to share practice, to learn from leaders in the field, and to make connections that will support them in the process. The event will be documented and shared as a resource on the Forum website: