Worcestershire Arts Partnership Blog

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Herefordshire Children & Young People’s Arts & Cultural Network - Research Opportunity

Herefordshire Children & Young People’s Arts & Cultural Network

Research Brief: Arts and Cultural Sector Research and Information Gathering

Issued by: Arts Connect West Midlands

Date: 20th April 2015


Herefordshire Children & Young People’s Arts & Cultural Network is a recently formed network of arts & cultural organisations working with children and young people (aged 0-25) in Herefordshire. Supported by Arts Connect (the Bridge organisation for the West Midlands) and The Elmley Foundation, the network currently includes The Courtyard, Rural Media Company, Herefordshire Music Service, Ledbury Poetry Festival, Aylestone School, Brightstripe, the Library, Museums and Archives Services, 2 Faced Dance, Arts Alive, The Music Pool, Borderlines Film Festival, Dancefest, Hereford College of Arts, Meadow Arts, Hereford Sixth Form College, Arts Connect and The Elmley Foundation. It is anticipated that membership of the network will grow as plans develop in 2015.

We are now in a position to commission research to inform the development of the network. The aim of the research will be to:

1) Provide an analysis of current provision of arts and cultural activity (across arts, museums and libraries) for children and young people: scale, reach, strengths, challenges and development opportunities with a focus on network members but including other key activity being delivered in the county.

2) Provide an understanding of the Herefordshire context with an analysis of, for example: schools (those with significant arts/cultural partnerships or those who regularly engage with arts/cultural projects/programmes); demographics and comparative local authority data; an analysis of Arts Award and Artsmark; training and progression opportunities; the size of the economy - funding, expenditure and leverage; art form/cultural specialisms and geographical areas of engagement.

Context: Herefordshire Network

We have an evolving shared vision and priorities for arts and culture for young people in Herefordshire.

We want collective motivation (across the network) and a well resourced plan to offer opportunities for young people to derive pleasure from and develop critical understanding of the arts. We want to inspire and promote opportunities for children and young people to experience the arts, celebrate their community and their participation within the arts and cultural industries.

Through collaborative planning by arts, cultural and educational organisations, we want children and young people in Herefordshire to have access to strong and valued arts activities and events. We want arts for everyone, everywhere. We want all children, young people and their families to be able to access collaborative and sustainable creative and cultural experiences in their school, community and where they live.

Our approach builds on and adds to significant development work underway in the county, such as a joint campaign for the Courtyard capital redevelopment plan to form a Cultural Hub for Herefordshire as a creative arts space for CYP and merging forces as a dedicated CYP network to campaign and attract new resources to support a successful bid for Herefordshire to become the UK City of Culture in 2021. Other significant initiatives include plans for the new Hereford University;

the remodelling and refurbishment of Hereford City Library to become a cultural centre; Rural Media’s development of a community media centre at Packers’ House and plans for the redevelopment of the Buttermarket in the centre of Hereford. There is also a need to look at the Marches LEP’s Economic 2014/20 Strategy and Plan, given the significance of the European Strategic Investment Fund to the county, and the development opportunities for arts and culture through the skills, environment, social inclusion and infrastructure foci (especially for young people in the 16-24 age group).

As a network, our priorities are:

 Auditing the local offer to identify current activity, development opportunities and potential partners

 Seeking new investment

 Improving education engagement – building an offer to schools that is strategic and which builds on shared communications networks

 Developing a shared web platform to build information about what is available for CYP and increase the visibility of the offer and progression routes for young people

 Identifying the leadership capacity to realise opportunities to lead the process and broker partnerships needed to make new work happen

Research Brief

To inform our emerging plan, we need to establish a baseline and develop a clearer profile of current cultural activity for children and young people (age 0-25) in the county. This research will help us to:

- Produce a detailed picture and analysis of the current situation county wide (who is doing what, where and with whom)

- Advocate for arts and culture for children and young people

- Gain a greater understanding of the capacity of the sector in Herefordshire, that has a particular expertise/focus on children and young people

- Identify gaps, opportunities and shared development priorities for the network

- Assess issues of inclusion and engagement for the most isolated/disadvantaged children and young people

- Share resources and collaborate to address development opportunities

- Identify potential new areas for growth, new investment and markets

We would like the research to gather a range of different information from the network members and other significant local arts and cultural activity for young people. We are interested in understanding more from providers about:

1. What activity for CYP are you currently delivering? Which areas and locations are you currently working in?

2. What’s in the pipeline – what plans do you have for the next 2/3 years?

3. What do you lack - and would like to develop? What would you like to be better at – what are your development needs?

4. What are the barriers to development – what holds you back?

5. Approximately how many children and young people engaged in your activities over the last 12 months?

6. If you had to score your organisation’s work with children and young people as a priority from 1 to 5, what would it be? What would you like it to be? What are your goals for children and young people’s work?

7. What do you do really well? What experience and specialisms do you have – individually and within your organisation?

8. Who are the potential next leaders in the sector? Can we identify them?


9. Sustainability and funding: What are the current levels of funding to deliver CYP activity (we will compile an overall figure for the county). Do you see this situation changing over the next 12/24 months? How viable is your organisation? What are the main threats?

10. Who are your main partners - from both within and outside the cultural sector? Which schools do you have strong relationships with? Which networks are you involved in? Are there any other key organisations we should involve in the network at this stage?

It is anticipated that the research will be carried out either by written/email questionnaire, telephone or face to face interview. We would like the researcher to collate responses and provide an analysis and summary of the information gathered. This should include a combination of qualitative/narrative information, directories (of networks, partners, etc.) as well as any quantitative data. We would like the report to be completed by 26th June 2015. We would also like the researcher to attend a meeting of the network members in July (date tbc) to present the findings and discuss the process with them and to make limited revisions if required.


The research should include desk research; preparing and distributing a questionnaire/survey based on the above questions to network members; if required, follow up interviews with network members; collating information and preparing a report/presentation. We will be interested to hear ideas on the format of the report but it must be useable as a provocation and influencing document and may be used to support future funding applications.


The final report should include the following:

- A review and summary of key findings from the research

- A risk assessment, to illustrate where there are threats to the sector and an identification of opportunities. This might be as part of a SWOT analysis from the research

- Some brief best practice examples/case studies of different types of practice across the county in respect of children and young people’s arts and cultural practice to help with advocacy

- Presentation of relevant data with accompanying analysis

- Any relevant recommendations to support future collaborative working

Anticipated Timeframe

Response to the brief deadline: 8th May

Appointment: 15th May

Report of findings: 26th June

Meeting/presentation to network: July tbc

How to apply

Please send a short letter of application to Leslie Hampson by 8th May. Please describe your experience and suitability for the project, proposed approach, ethical statement, timetable, allocation of days, fees/relevant expenses and details of two referees.

We anticipate that this research may require up to 15 days.


Leslie Hampson, Arts Connect West Midlands, for more information or with any questions.

07795 818090


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