Louise Blackwell

Questions and answers about the ABCD for Cultural Recovery Working Group recruitment process

On Thursday 4th March the What Next? Brighton & Hove meeting was dedicated to questions about the recruitment process for the next phase of the plan. For details of how we got to this point and to read the plan click here.

The following questions were asked at the meeting or via email/other methods:

Q: How many roles/spaces are available in each working group?

6 – 8

Q: Can you talk us through how the applications for the working groups will be assessed, and how places will be allocated, please?

The founding team (Andrew Comben, Ian Baird, Louise Blackwell and Marina Norris) and Donna Chisholm from Brighton & Hove City Council (Co-Chair of the ABCD Governing Body) plus two external people; Jenny Williams and Saad Eddine Said will shortlist the applications by scoring them against fixed criteria (see the details of what’s required for the roles here). They will meet and allocate the top scorers to the working groups and will use balancing criteria if necessary to make the final decision.

The two top scoring potential chairs will then be invited to a short interview on Monday 15th March between 12 noon and 3pm.

Q: Which 3 of the groups will be recruited for first?

Enliven Brighton, Creative Communities Network and Engine Room.

Q: What’s the monthly time commitment involved in being part of a working group? Will meetings initially be on zoom?

The initial meetings will be on zoom. We don’t know the answer to the time commitment – we are imagining about 2 hours per month plus some time to take action after the meetings but the frequency and commitment will depend upon many factors including successful partnership building and fundraising.

Q: Why is Enliven Brighton just focused on the City Centre? What about Hove?

Because it’s about building a partnership with the Town Centre Business Improvement District and bringing people back into the town centre. This is the starting point. We had to make choices about where to focus the work. We hope eventually the whole city will benefit from this work.

Q: Since we’re coming up on a year of lockdown measures and indoor venue closures, what’s the timeline of the working groups? From recruitment to meetings to following through with an actual plan of action?

The first two meetings for the first three working groups will take place in March. The rest will be confirmed once more funding is in place. The draft timeline for the recovery plan is now to the end of 2022.

Q: If there is a CRF round 3 would What Next and the separate working groups submit bids?

Unlikely. The great thing about being supported by the council is that there is a governance structure that funders can support and so it’s likely that any larger bids like CRF 3 would come from the council. However, there will be other bids that might just cover one or more of the strands. This is all to be worked out.

Q: Can you talk a bit more about Chairs responsibilities – will they need to do admin for the meetings (sending invites/taking minutes/doing any fundraising for ideas raised?)

The Chairs won’t necessarily need to do admin themselves but someone in the working group will. It’s why we are asking organisations to come forward who can offer their resources, be it money or staff time in kind for example.

Q: It’s good to see a commitment to looking at all outcomes through a number of lenses, including young people and inclusion. What is in place in the structure to ensure the right people are assessing this?

This will be the responsibility of the Chairs of each group and all working group members. This is why this recruitment process is crucial. The recruitment panelists have expertise in a wide range of areas including Diversity and Inclusion to be able to help ensure that the Working Groups have the right skills on board.

Q: Is there a term (length of service) for working group membership? Also is there any seed funding for activity or does it require fundraising from scratch?

The term will be until the end of 2022. If however the structure we have set up isn’t working, we will change it.

Some of the strands have already developed potential partnerships that could bring in seed funding. Nothing is confirmed at the moment but there are some ‘warm leads’.

Q: Since one of the working groups is essentially a team of professional fundraisers, would it be better to have that group act as an advice and consultation resource for Brighton orgs that are submitting for CRF 3 and need help with their applications

No one group is responsible for fundraising – this is split across the whole team.

The Engine Room strand plans to develop training programmes to support artists in Greater Brighton. BHCC supported a fundraising training session in the last CRF round for those applying in the City and there is a Facebook Group led by Lucy Stone and James Turnbull that offered support and advice.

Q: Will there be some central blog to engage with?

Good idea. We will can use www.cultureinourcity.com’s blog post function to share information.

Q: What will my organisation get out of being part of the Working Groups?

The aim of the Working Groups is to benefit to whole City not individual organisations in it. It’s really important that those who become members come to the programme with a generosity of spirit and a desire to seek benefit for the greater good of the cultural sector in Brighton & Hove not just their organisation or stream of work.

The aim is that individuals and organisations will benefit from the work that results from the Working Groups.

Q: Why has the structure been set up like it has?

We have set up this structure in order to shape the recovery process not control it. This is the first time in our knowledge that there has been an open recruitment process for a governance structure that will shape the cultural future of the City.

At least 50% of the ABCD for Cultural Recovery board will be new people who were not involved in the Arts and Cultural Industries Commission (ACIC) who oversaw the Cultural Framework since 2017.

The ABCD for Cultural Recovery plan supersedes the work undertaken by the Cultural Framework groups.

Q: How will you ensure the Working Groups are a safe space for people to challenge, constructively criticise and/or disagree without repercussions on their work elsewhere in the City?

We will ask this question of the Chairs in the interview process. It will be the responsibility of each Chair to ensure the meetings are conducted in a safe, accessible and kind manner.

Q. The Creative Communities strand appears to be focused on performance, what about opportunities for visual artists and writers?

The info in the plan is a starting point, and it will be the responsibility of each working group to think about the best means possible to engage local communities and agree with those communities the offer they want to see at local level.

It is also worth mentioning that a Public Art Strategy for the city is being produced that will be adopted by the Council. This work will make a positive contribution to the City’s cultural recovery and will inevitably have crossover with Working Groups.

Q. Are there ways including financial those organisations who have regular funding could support the Working Groups?

Collectively supporting the Working Groups would be great, this could be in the form of funding contributions to help the groups operate or seed funding towards ideas. Also, providing administrative support would be welcomed. Brighton Dome and Festival has already contributed to this process financially and with staff time.

Q: Are you looking for the Brighton and Hove NPOs to step into/apply for chair positions and administrative support for the ABCD Recovery plan, or if the governance panel are wanting the opportunity to go to freelancers and other third sector charity leaders?

We are looking for a range of people to become Chairs so are open to applications from people who lead or work in organisations and freelancers/sole-traders.

Here is a link to the recording of the meeting.

The deadline to apply for the Working Groups is Weds 10th March at 9am. Find out more here.