'The arts are at a tipping point' - Hannah Keville on her first 3 months as a Fundraising Fellow

Create Gloucestershire is one of 15 organisations currently hosting an Arts Fundraising Fellow through the Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy scheme. In October 2014, fine art graduate Hannah Keville joined our team - here are her reflections on the first three months with CG. 

A few months ago, our Director Pippa Jones asked the CG team 3 questions to get us thinking about our hopes, fears and motivations in relation to CG. Now that it’s been 3 months since I began my fellowship with Create Gloucestershire (and just over 3 months since I first set foot in Gloucestershire!) I feel like I might finally be better equipped to answer these questions.  

Why I get out of bed to do CG work....

When I first started, I found CG as an organisation a bit tricky to get my head around. It wasn’t a venue. Or one art form. It wasn’t one organisation, but over 80 artists, producers, organisations, makers and curators. It was a completely new and different way of working. As the weeks went by, more and more things started to click into place in my head and I finally felt like I was starting to understand what CG was all about. I realized the aims and concerns of CG weren’t dissimilar from my own. Despite training as an artist, I have never been about art simply ‘for art’s sake’. Like CG, I believed there was a holistic case to be made for the arts deeper than simply cultural value; which had the power to improve our economy, education, health and wellbeing. We just needed to get better at communicating this.

Thing that does/could keep me awake at night…

Sometimes it seems like things are going from bad to worse for the arts. In times of uncertainty there is a temptation to fall back on what we know and continue along the same path, rather than pause and look for an alternative. CG was born out of this uncertainty. Created in 2011 as a direct response to total funding cuts by Gloucestershire county council to the arts. The plan was to join up working across the county to help sustain, promote and protect the arts. 3 years on and CG has raised over £850,000 for the Gloucestershire arts sector, influenced policy makers and given us all a push to be more risk taking and outward looking.

It would be easy to be kept awake wondering what the landscape of the Gloucestershire arts sector would look like had CG never come to existence. Would Gloucestershire have the same cultural profile? Would we have made the same headway in establishing culture as a vital contributor to education, health and wellbeing? Would we be as ‘future proofed’ for any more cuts to come? We must continue to question how and if CG is best utilized to support the county and its members. But so far, by working collaboratively, Gloucestershire has found a way of creating a collective voice and of measuring tangible results for the whole sector, of identifying gaps and addressing needs and of working towards an arts sector that everyone can be proud of.

What I’m most looking forward to in 2015…

First and foremost, I am looking forward to being a part of CG and continuing to support our mission to make the arts part of our everyday lives. 2015 will be an exciting year. The arts are at a tipping point. Funders are beginning to recognize the value and importance of organisations trying new models and different ways of working. Increasing numbers of arts providers have the confidence and support network to explore new approaches to funding and work in collaboration. Diversity, engagement and cultural leadership are becoming key points of discussion.

At the end of last year, Alistair Hudson, Director of MIMA, spoke about the need to ‘get to the point where people realize they need an art gallery and a hospital.’[1] Looking back at my time in Gloucestershire, I believe we are closer than ever to getting there.

 Here’s to an inspiring year ahead!

[1] http://www.theguardian.com/culture-professionals-network/culture-professionals-blog/2014/oct/21/alistair-hudson-mima-modern-art