NFASP Northern Network Meeting


Monday, December 5, 2011 - 10:00

NFASP has begun a programme to set up studio networks across the UK, bringing artists' studio providers together to share intelligence and offer each other support. On 05 December 2011 the first Northern Network meeting convened in Leeds. What follows are notes of that meeting.
The event began with introductions from:

Ken Stratford - Studio Manager at East Street Arts/Northern Network Co-coordinator

Karen Watson - Artistic Director of East Street Arts

Duncan Smith – Chair of National Federation of Artists’ Studio Providers and Artistic director of ACAVA, studio organisation based in London.

All outlined their work for their organizations with Duncan explaining the rationale behind the setting up of NFASP regional networks and what we want to achieve from the meeting.

All present introduced themselves and their organisation and were placed on the map.

Key Points/Questions
There were a number of areas covered to get as much feedback and generate responses from the group to help form the driver for the network:

What do we want from a network?

*  Support and Resources e.g.- business models – Sean Rorke, Hotbed
   Press, had benefitted enormously from the highly specialised and
   targeted advice, including NFASP advice and resources in setting up the
   print works which now runs very successfully with an annual turnover of
  100k – he had not previous experience of business modelling.
*  Best practice how to go about putting visions into practice
*  Success and failure stories – to learn from
*  Access to expert advice
*  Selective information on a need-to-know basis
*  Themes emerging relevant to certain staff in the organisation
   eg premises management, collaborating on curatorial initiatives,
   exchanges for exhibitions/residencies
*  Professional development opportunities
*  Resource sharing
*  Increase open studio opportunities – through creating a clash diary and
   working together in hubs to create more marketing of events
Experiences of other networks in the region – positive features to adopt other to be aware of:
*  Newcastle – online website to facilitate opens studios
*  Creative Bubble- online site for Kirklees
*  West Yorkshire Visual Arts Network – offers services and professional
   development remit extends beyond studios and visual arts- offers
   signposting to groups facilitates action learning/prof development
*  Wakefield Arts Hub – yahoo group
*  Shape /Dada specific disability networks
*  AXIS – cited as good example of selective information rather than deluge
   which some organsations offer
*  North Yorkshire Open Studios – covers huge area
*  Artists Writes - project to help artists articulate /write about their work
*  Leeds Visual Arts Forum (1000+ subscribers) online yahoo group -  
   something for everyone/answer for everyone – downside often too many
   irrelevant emails to deal with
Ensuring plain email is used
Use of NFASP redeveloped website to have own Northern network hub hosted

What would you give/offer to the network and what do you want to take?
*  Specific disability policies and advice for the studios - The Art House  
*  Requests include a clash diary of visual arts events in regions
   space availability log , searchable according to studio group and region
   what’s available to point people in the right direction
*  Links to higher education established and linked in some way
*  Information for people wanting to visit other spaces
*  Smaller regional gatherings offer more input from smaller groups
*  Exchanging marketing intelligence on audiences to share information
   and increase movement across the region
*  Specific meetings/sessions on programming, curating and premises
*  Generating income from spaces
*  Business models
*  Developing a sponsorship offer – Studio Voltaire London have a good
   example of a patron scheme

The event ended with two tasks to do and feedback on:
1)  Identify what you want/your priorities are from joining a network
2)  What you can contribute?