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Submission from Katie Smith, Freelance Artist and Creative Learning Consultant

Why do you think people in the South Holland and Boston areas don’t get more involved in the arts?

A major problem is time; people have less freetime and it has become a precious commodity. If this is combined with the fact that most of us are more demanding as consumers arts experiences have be high quality to both meet the high expectations of the participants and to compete with leisure activities. I think Boston in particular hasn’t had a cultural offer good enough to ‘compete’ for many years and people go elsewhere to get their culture fix.

What do you think should happen to encourage people to get more involved in the arts locally?

The culture sector is often vague about what engagement in the arts means, using interaction, participation and collaboration as interchangeable terms so I think for a start to encourage people to get more involved in the arts we must be clear about what that means.

I think that the only way to encourage people to get more involved locally is to engage them in the consultation process but I think that as a consortium we also need to avoid reinventing the wheel. There is a wealth of research that maps audience behaviours that should underpin any activity as it develops. ‘Towards 2010’ prepared by the Henly Centre for ACE and Morton Smyth’s ‘Not for the Likes of You’ are both particularly valuable resources.

What ideas do you have for exciting, innovative ways to get more people involved in the arts in the area? Please also estimate how much it might cost.

I would really like to see activities that have worked in Lincolnshire being developed further by CPCP. I think that the Beacon Arts Project has been one of the county’s gems, transporting people to cultural experience that respond to its heritage and remove barriers connected with rurality. I really enjoyed the Frequency Festival in Lincoln and would like to see something large scale that would create a buzz. My personal passion is using Web 2.0 technology to encourage participation by unsuspecting audiences in unexpected places so I would love to see that written into the bid!

I love this project from the Caravan Gallery and think it would work really well in Boston/South Holland.