City Arts trip to the ISAN conference

Date published: 27 Nov 2013

Posted by: Alison Denholm

The City Arts Chimes

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We had a great time visiting the 6th Biennial ISAN conference in Birmingham last week.  The two-day event, produced by the Independent Street Arts Network, is a fantastic place to discuss all kinds of issues relating to outdoor arts; challenges, opportunities and the legacy of 2012.

Highlights included a presentation by Jenny Sealey and Bradley Hemmings, the joint artistic directors of the opening ceremony for the London 2012 Paralympic Games.  They talked us through some of the challenges they faced putting together an event massive both in its scale and its audience.

We also really enjoyed a talk by John E. McGrath, the artistic director of the National Theatre of Wales.  He spoke about the theatre’s approach to creating site-specific productions with casts mixing professional performers and amateur performers from the communities the productions were set in.   John discussed the National Theatre of Wales Team, a brilliant initiative where community leaders and individuals feed into and support the development of the theatre and their work.

Watch a film about Team:

It was exciting for City Arts to be one of 30 companies invited to present a show at the X-Trax Ideas Summit.  The summit allows organisations to show off ready to tour events to the conference’s delegates.  It happened speed dating style, with programmers and producers from festivals across the UK, including the National Theatre, City of London Festival, and Bestival, taking turns to speak to each of the presenting companies.  Michael Davis and I pitched a two day event combining the City Arts Dome, the giant Chimes and Pentatronix.

We made some good links with other organisations at the Ideas summit and are looking forward to see how we might develop what we pitched, taking it out and about around the country.