Edition number 2; dateline 7 September 2007

Scottish Sports Development Conference to butter its own parsnips
The Scottish Sports Development Conference, which will take place at the Crieff Hydro on 20 and 21 November, is advising delegates for this year’s event to book early to make sure of their place. Now in its fourth year, the Scottish conference has quickly established itself as a popular and effective national training opportunity, increasing capacity this year to meet increased demand. This year’s event has maintained last year’s pricing thanks to the support of SportScotland and Highland Spring. As with previous events, the programme will be focused on training workshops with a number of keynote speakers. The organising group of the Scottish Sports Development Conference has also invited The Leisure Review to serve as the event’s ‘official media partner’, a role that will see TLR offering comprehensive coverage of the conference in all its glory. Further details of the event are available from conference organisers First City Events; e-mail conference@firstcityevents.co.uk for details and delegate bookings.

Amateur arts under the research spotlight
The DCMS is to commission a  study of amateur participation in the arts across England. Speaking at the National Association of Local Government Arts Officers (NALGAO), culture minister Margaret Hodge said that the survey would acknowledge the huge number of people who take part in the arts outside and beyond the publicly funded arts environment. “We know from our Taking Part survey that nearly seventy per cent of people in England attend and participate in a huge range of arts and craft activities from book clubs to amateur orchestras and from lace-making to ballet and ballroom dancing,” the minister said. “It is important to take into account the thousands of people who participate in the voluntary and amateur arts sector and consider whether the different kinds of support available are providing the right platform for them to thrive.” Peter Hewitt, chief executive of Arts Council England, who will be supporting the project, welcomed the research as an important contribution to ACE’s work to bring the arts to a much wider audience. The £60,000 project is currently out to tender.

Starting the weekend early
Our new favourite gallery, HOST (see News in Brief passim) continues to push the boundaries of what a gallery can be with its involvement in the First Thursdays programme of arts-related excitement. On the first Thursday of every month, in common with eighty other galleries and museums around the capital’s East End, they will be throwing open the doors for some late-night opening. HOST will also be getting a DJ and a cocktail mixologist along as a further incentive. That bastion of going out, Time Out, has already tipped First Thursdays as one of the top-five nights out in London. Visit www.firstthursdays.co.uk

The latest fastest-growing
Almost every sport has at some time been acclaimed as “the fastest-growing sport in the country” and the latest, according to Radio 4’s venerable Women’s Hour, is roller derby. As far as we could gather from the report, this sport involves two teams of women skating at high speed around an oval track doing each other harm. With a lurid attitude to team kit (fishnets are popular) and the adoption of noms de skate (Correctional Felicity was our favourite), plenty of women are apparently using the crucible of competition to let off steam after a busy day at the desk. The Women’s Hour team are confident that it is an appropriate pursuit for any sporting feminist.

The Wolfson at the door
The sixth year of the DCMS/Wolfson Foundation museums and galleries improvement fund has provided another £4m for museums across England. The sum is provided annually to capital projects in national and regional museums and galleries. This year’s biggest awards went to the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge for its Greek and Roman gallery project (£300,000), the Victoria and Albert in London for its Buddhist sculpture in Asia project (£300,000) and to National Museums, Liverpool for its maritime park (£220,000).

Set the controls for listed
A 1950s centrifuge, still used to test the effects of acceleration and G-forces on aircrews, has been Grade II listed following the recommendation of English Heritage. The ‘man-carrying centrifuge facility’, situated in Farnborough, Hampshire, is officially known as Building F49A and is capable of 55 revolutions per minute, creating a force equivalent to 30G, to test equipment; humans are tested at up to 30rpm, equivalent to 9G. Announcing the listing, culture minister Margaret Hodge commented, “England has a glorious scientific heritage, particularly in the field of aviation, and it's absolutely right that we do what we can to help preserve the best of it for future generations.” Meanwhile, the Victorian prehistoric animal sculptures in Crystal Palace Park have been upgraded from Grade II to Grade I, with the listing amended to include the geological strata and lead mine on the site.

News even briefer
Legend Club Management Systems has signed a ten year contract with Serco Leisure to supply management information systems. Escape has been chosen by the Wentworth Club as their supplier of functional training equipment, including barbells, dumbbells, benches, gym balls and medicine balls.  West Wiltshire District Council’s eight leisure centres, managed by DC Leisure on behalf of the council, have all increased their Quest scores in the latest round of assessments, scoring at least 70%.

Prodaman Sarwal, financial adviser and non-executive board member of the Port of London Authority and the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, Eric Prescott, former president and managing director of Alstom UK, and Maggie Carver, former financier and a non-executive director of the RDF Media Group PLC and Satellite Information Services Ltd, have all been appointed to the board of British Waterways. Dame Liz Forgan and Darra Singh have been appointed by the DCMS as non-executive board members. Timothy Hornsby and George Loudon have been appointed as trustees to the Board of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Neil Bragg has been appointed chair designate of the new Horticulture Sector Company.


News in brief
Staccato reports from the cultural typeface

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Gormley's Event Horizon
Anthony Gormley's Event Horizon exhibition, in which 31 sculptures were placed on building around London, came to a end in August. The figures, which accompanied Gormley's Blind Light exhibition at the Southbank's Hayward Gallery, had become a feature of the capital's skyline over the summer.

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