Sharing knowledge and experiences is key for BME arts organisations

Creatives and voluntary sector organisations gathered for an open seminar to learn about the support and opportunities available to them in the sector.

The seminar, which took place at the Resource Centre on Holloway Road on Thursday 6th June, offered attendees support, advice and networking opportunities. One of the main messages throughout the event was the ethos of 'A Peoples Art' to unite organisations and that for many BME arts organisations the way forward will be to create social enterprises.

Keen creative practitioners in Black-led (African, African Caribbean and Asian) arts and heritage organisations found the evening to be a great way to network with others who are struggling in the current financial climate and those overcoming these challenges. Some of the highlights of the evening were performances by young poets Boss Man The Orator and Roslyn Blu.

Kamara Gray, director of the dance company 'Artistry Youth Dance', said: "The evening has been really interesting . It's just touching the surface but it's a great beginning to find out more information. I'd like to learn more about the networks and resources available to assist with my company."

Key speakers included Robin Simpson CEO of Voluntary Arts, Ngoma Bishop CEO of the community arts organisation BEMA, Kunle Olulode CEO of V4CE and development officer Saqib Deshmukh.

Mr Simpson, of Voluntary Arts, argued that events such as these are highly important. He said: "There is a strong emphasis about being stronger together. arts organisations and individuals may feel like they're on their own and may have too much to do but there is always somebody trying to do the same thing or who have already done it, therefore it is important we share these experiences."

"Although you might not feel you have the time to spare it is important to invest your time in events such as this to talk to other groups, it's a really important way to get you through your difficulties," continued Mr Simpson.

The idea of sharing knowledge and experiences was echoed by many of those who attended the seminar. Iqbal Husain of the organisation Shared Heritage, said: "It's important that we continue to share information and networking opportunities to the BME arts sector. There are many opportunities available but the key message is to keep getting the message out to those who need it."

Development officer Saqib Deshmukh said that the response to the event was great and that it now opens up the opportunity for further events.

Mr Deshmukh explained: “We have plans to hold regional events in the future and we are looking to establish partnership working with other bodies. Essentially we want to collaborate with other organisations to support those looking to establish themselves and their creative projects, in particular opportunities for funding.”

Young poets Boss Man The Orator and Roslyn Blu