Bath Art News

    12 September 2011
    Workshops for BANA Members - Supporting Professional Practice

    BANA's management committee is offering a series of free workshops during 2011/12, to support the professional development of its members and to help ensure the network evolves to meet its members' needs over the coming years in a functionally and financially sustainable way.

    BANA's management committee held a successful half-day workshop, Spying Out the Land, in March 2011, pooling and reviewing knowledge, experience and ideas about BANA's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

    A second workshop open to BANA's entire membership, entitled The Artist's Way, is scheduled for Saturday 26th November 2011. All BANA members interested in revisiting their professional aspirations and giving their motivation a boost in these 'interesting' times are encouraged to attend this workshop. The results of the workshop will also help to shape the network's future priorities and direction to support its members. See also the Events item http://www.banaarts.co.uk/bath-art-events.asp).

    A final workshop, Imaging the Future, will be held early in 2012, to produce a new 'narrative' for BANA, together with a strategy and plan of action to take the network forward and to promote its achievements and profile to the wider world.

    But before looking forward, it is worth looking back. BANA has been going strong for over 12 years as a truly artist-led network: run for artists, by artists. Arts organisations like BANA have been facing increasingly difficult times recently. Against this background, in 2010 BANA's management committee reviewed the range of member services and, responding to members' feedback and suggestions, took action to ensure the network did not fold. To continue to thrive in the years to come, BANA is now planning how to make the most of existing and upcoming opportunities and how to meet some specific and broader challenges.

    One of the main challenges for BANA is becoming self-sufficient in the day-to-day running of the network without depending on external sources of funds to cover core administrative costs. A key successful step already taken in this direction is the new BANA website, which, among other things, enables all BANA members to manage their own content. The website is now also the main source of news items and information about opportunities - so members are encouraged to log on regularly. Another challenge for the network is supporting member artists to help each other develop particular creative ideas and secure project funds for them, where necessary using the strength of BANA's corporate status as a vehicle for funding applications.

    As for opportunities, three of B&NES Council's strategies (the Public Realm and Movement Strategy, the Sustainable Community Strategy and the new Cultural Strategy) include aspirations and plans to support the development of cultural activities, facilities and infrastructure in the area. Taken together they provide an encouraging context and welcome avenue for artists to come forward with creative ideas and arts-related projects. Also, BANA's membership of the Cultural Forum for the Bath Area (http://www.cfba.org.uk) has already helped the network actively promote its core aims - raising the profile for visual arts and crafts activities in the Bath area, strengthening links between artists' groups and arts promoters, and advocating for increased investment in local visual arts and crafts.

    The Cultural Forum is one of B&NES' key strategic partners for realising the aims and delivering the objectives of the Council's Cultural Strategy. One of BANA's directors, David Metcalfe, sits on the executive group of the Cultural Forum, seating BANA at the 'high table' of cultural organisations in the area. As a specific example, the Cultural Forum is actively involved in discussion and consultation about possible plans for the redevelopment of the eastern end of the western riverside project (i.e. the Green Park Station and current Sainsbury superstore site), lobbying for a significant arts and culture component to the site in the future.

    BANA's longevity and the evident quality of its members' work are among the key, enduring strengths of the network. In these interesting times for the arts, there are real opportunities for BANA members to develop, show and sell their work, and to offer other 'creative consultancy' services to the wider worlds of education, health and business. It is against this background that BANA's management committee invites all BANA members to be part of choosing the right paths for the network to take into the future.