This is a holding blog for TAKING UP SPACE – a pilot grouping of eight individuals sharing a signficant track record in the arts. We have come together – with the support of the Cultural Leadership Programme – to explore, enquire and formulate ways in which the arts can operate distinctively in today’s environment.
Coming from a range of backgrounds and working practice in the arts – from urban planning to policy-formulation, from festivals to education – we believe that working across disciplines and sectors grows community engagement, can develop resilience and find new strategies of living together.
TAKING UP SPACE has been set up by Naseem Khan and Lucy Neal, inspired by their experiences – in Shoreditch in East London and Tooting in South London respectively – and by the nature of the current challenge: uneasy societies, global inequalities, conundrums created by new types of migration, climate change and shrinking resources. We are all being urged to embrace the concept of ‘the Big Society‘ and for power to become more vested in local communities. Experience has shown the potential of the arts in all these areas to imagine and model change. Can these lessons be pulled together and focussed?
Taking Up Space is located in the space where the cultural and the political meet. It aims to be both freewheeling and precise: inventive and analytical, novel and respecting its roots and forebears.
As the project develops, we will invite people to contribute to and share in the debate, and to help us in the ambitious but crucial aim of defining and articulating the role of the arts and its potential to model social change.