I joined the Birmingham Cultural Education Partnership – known as Birmingham Creates – as Development Coordinator at the end of January 2020. I managed two meetings in person with the CEP’s Steering Group – then we went into lockdown.
Taking on the role of Development Coordinator at a time of such great change and upheaval has been both challenging and inspiring. The Birmingham CEP works at quite a strategic level and the Steering Group comprises senior leaders from some of the city’s most recognisable and influential cultural organisations. At a time like this, when people are deeply concerned about the future of their own organisations and are dealing with tumultuous change within their staff teams, it would have been easy for any one of them to see the CEP as something to cut back on – a regular meeting and draw on their time and energy that they could easily get out of. But that isn’t what happened. Our six-weekly meetings are as well attended by video call as they were when we tempted people in with nice coffee and good biscuits. The commitment these cultural leaders have to the CEP’s vision – ‘a world-class cultural education for every child and young person in the city’ – both now and post-lockdown, is undimmed. In fact, if anything, there has been more collaboration, more energy, more determination that no child or young person gets left out. One of the results of such a collaboration, is Sofa School, a podcast created during lockdown for 5-11 year olds, and made right here in Brum.
One of our challenges at the moment is ensuring that the CEP can communicate the work it does with a bigger audience, so that people know what support we can offer. We are tackling this is by creating a website that can serve as a resource for schools and cultural partners, which we hope will launch within the next few months. We’re also developing a newsletter that will help to communicate the work of the CEP and we’re working on our long term fundraising plans, so that we can invest in programmes that will open up new opportunities for young people to engage with arts and culture.
These times continue to be incredibly challenging for many of us, both personally and professionally. But with a clear vision and a powerful collective commitment to make sure young people enjoy greater equality of access to arts and culture, I feel sure that the CEP will continue to make a difference to the lives of many young people around the city.
Laura Cockett – Development Coordinator