Greetings from Paula Gazzard to the CVAN Network!

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As many of you may know, I've recently been appointed as CVAN's new national Director and have begun settling in this week with BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art who host and support CVAN's national work. I'm sure everyone in CVAN's network will want to thank Julia Bell for her invaluable support and commitment over the past years as well as Gordon Dalton of Visual Arts South West for his energy and achievements, and Annabel Clarke, who continues as our excellent Web Communications Editor. Sarah Munro of BALTIC is an inspiring mentor and I only hope to live up to the important work that CVAN has been doing over the years with BALTIC. 

CVAN is a self-sustaining peer network with a strong, regional presence which has proven robust and effective. It seems to me absolutely crucial that nothing should disturb CVAN's network 'ecology' and that my role is to consult, support, and amplify the achievements and concerns of the organisations which make up the regional networks and those of the sector as a whole. At national level, CVAN can provide a powerful voice for visual arts and the cultural sector to Government, national sector bodies, policy-makers and funding bodies, as well as informing and engaging the public discourse. 

Visual arts and culture are facing a number of key challenges in our 'interesting times' and it has never been more important for us to pull together collaboratively as a sector. We need to articulate clear and consensual messages on key concerns in order to become more influential in the national discourse. Given the pressures on all of us in our busy professional lives, this is easier said than done. This is where the national role at CVAN comes in. 

As the new national Director, I will work to promote the arts and culture in society and economy with an emphasis on regional balance, experimentation and criticality, diversity, innovation, and inclusivity. I would also hope to build on my work at the Council for Higher Education in Art & Design (CHEAD) to foster the existing close connections between arts HE and the cultural sector. Our advocacy work will be based on open policy principles - and so first on my agenda is to meet with the regional Chairs and Coordinators. I hope to begin the process of an open policy consultation with CVAN's regional networks to develop a national policy and advocacy strategy together to guide my work. 

Please do tweet me @cybergazz with ideas and inspirations or submit a story to the website.