Eileen Kerr, project coordinator of the Arran Theatre and Arts Trust, is back in post and here she tells us about the organisation’s plans for the coming year and shares her vision for arts on Arran. She would love to hear from readers with ideas they have for the arts on the island, her contact details are below.
In 2017, Arran Theatre and Arts Trust were successful in securing funding for an Arts Coordinator for a two-year period, with support from North Ayrshire Council, Creative Scotland, The Robertson Trust, and LEADER. It was a fantastic achievement to raise such funds, and to create a role with optimism and hope at its core, and I was thrilled to secure the role.
Amongst a myriad of planning, programming, consultation and support roles, within the time I was in post I spent time gathering information, reflecting on and assessing the future potential of the arts industry on Arran, questioning, amongst other things; what more can be done to support artists on the island? Why are there not more high-quality performances happening on the island? What barriers are there to engagement in the arts across the community? With 5 months out of post waiting for funding to return, I am now back for a further 12 months and reinvigorated to be a catalyst for change, progression and support where needed.
With a desire to answer and address some of the questions above, we put together another plan and after discussion, North Ayrshire Council and Creative Scotland granted the funding for my role for a further 12 months. Within this time, I have a lot I’d like to crack on with, as well as looking at how we might work to fund the role again for a longer period of time beyond next year to provide some much needed sustainability. It is a long-understood truth that sustainability in the arts industry is a huge challenge. Having met colleagues who promote and programme arts in rural settings throughout the highlands and islands, I realised quite how lucky we are to have funding for this role, and that has really encouraged me not to waste a single second. I continue to be inspired by those who work so incredibly hard, often for free, to enrich their communities by bringing culture to their doorstep. It is, I think, vital, to quality of life in any environment, and I am committed to continue to do the best I can to support Arran Theatre and Arts Trust, and through it the wider arts community, whilst in post.
Here’s a snapshot of what I’ll be focussing on in the next twelve months, though the following is not exclusive…
– We are going to be entering a research and development period for a community theatre project, which we hope will involve many of you in the creation and performing of.
– We’ll be working hard to continue to bring more professional theatre programming through the year to surprise, delight, challenge and entertain you.
– We have a very exciting large-scale heritage project which we’ll officially announce in the new year.
– We’ll be working more closely with the young people on the island, including creating a youth board for Arran Theatre and Arts Trust.
But, importantly, all of this should be a conversation – please write to me and let me know your thoughts. What do you want to see more of? Do you find that you don’t really engage with what is currently on offer on Arran? In which case tell me why, and what might get you involved.
We will also shortly be launching the ‘Friends of Arran Theatre and Arts Trust’ to encourage more direct engagement with anyone interested. Keep an eye out for our launch, and we hope to welcome many of you to join us in supporting arts and culture on Arran.
Here’s to the next year!
– Eileen Wilson Kerr
www.arrantheatreandarts.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is the Arts Coordinator Activity Report 2017-2019 (PDF), which has further details on all of Eileen’s work in her previous two years as coordinator.