Mapping the Midlands is a conference exploring the territories of cultural education, collaborative research and placemaking in the Midlands. In this one-day event we will investigate the cultural landscapes of time and place in the context of collaboration with universities, creative organisations, projects and individuals.
The conference, convened by The Midlands Higher Education and Culture Forum, encourages a journey both to and from the centre of the country; geographically, philosophically and psychologically. Rather than an inward take on our regional identity (or seeming lack of one), the forum here takes a broader view of centrality itself, looking at the theme from a range of contexts and encouraging advocacy and communication. The Forum has invited a broad range of commentators working locally and from broader national and international contexts.
The Midlands Higher Education Culture Forum was founded in 2017 to build partnerships between Higher Education and the cultural sector across the region and beyond. For this, our second conference, we will view the region’s rich history in cultural education projects and its contributions in developing cutting-edge practices in the arts. We will also traverse the current trajectories of collaboration between HE and cultural sectors to identify opportunities to promote more experimental and creative collaborative research methods. We will draw from Midlands’ examples while looking at forging dialogues with practices and colleagues beyond the region in order to share practices, further its impact and advocate effectively.
Drawing upon dialogues between projects taking place from within and outside of the Midlands, the forum has convened three sessions:
Cultural Education – A growing archive of learning and knowledge sharing in the Midlands and beyond.
Panel: François Matarasso, Independent writer and researcher — author of A Restless Art; Paul Roberts OBE, Chair of the trustees for Creativity, Culture and Education, Member of the DoE/DCMS Ministerial Board for Cultural Education and of the Arts Council steering group for In Harmony, Commissioner for Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value. Others to be confirmed.
With Cultural Education Working Group: Pat Thompson, University of Nottingham, Nick Owen OBE, Mighty Creatives; Rob Elkington, Director of Arts Connect.
Chaired by Jacqui O’ Hanlon, Director of Education at The Royal Shakespeare Company.
Collaborative Research – Innovation, Methods and Current Landscapes
Panel: Maria Hlavajova a founding General and Artistic Director of BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht and others to be confirmed.
With Collaborative Research Working Group: Bill Balaskas, Associate Professor in Visual Communication & Research Coordinator at Nottingham Trent University.
Chaired by Carolina Rito, Head of Public Programmes and Learning at Nottingham Contemporary.
Placemaking — The Context of a Place for Change
Panel: Rashid Bhayat, founder and CEO of Positive Youth Foundation in Coventry and Lara Ratnaraja, Midlands based Consultant in Cultural, Digital and Creative Industries and others to be confirmed.
With Placemaking Working Group: Geoff Willcocks Director of Arts, Culture and Heritage at Coventry University and Chair of Coventry Music Education Hub and Eleonora Belfiore, Professor of Communication and Media studies at Loughborough University.
The conference will also hold a number of breakout sessions, designed to encourage delegates to make their own active journeys through some of the forum’s core working group topics examining cultural histories, diversity and employment and mapping past education experiences.
The conference is free to attend and a delicious hot vegetarian lunch will be provided.