Edition number 93; dateline 1 March 2017
Select committee reports on parks again
The Commons communities and local government select committee published its report on public parks early in February following an enquiry into the state of our urban greenspace. Weighing in at a healthy 89 pages, the report contains the committee’s findings following evidence presented in person over four days by representatives of various interested organisations and groups, including Andrew Percy MP, who is listed as “parliamentary under secretary of state, minister for the Northern Powerhouse, Department for Communities and Local Government”. There were also some 390 submissions of written evidence from a great many individuals, groups and bodies, all of whom made their pleas on behalf of parks from a local or national perspective, often both. The Chief Culture and Leisure Officers Association, our friends at the FA and the Froglife Trust were among those making their contribution. The committee primarily concerned itself with three questions – “Why parks matter, what challenges are facing the parks sector, and how we can secure a sustainable future for parks” – and “approached parks not as a problem to be solved, but rather as assets which support and further the achievement of many of our local, regional and national policy objectives”. The committee stressed that they “do not underestimate the challenges and the risks of transforming services” or fail to recognise that “local authorities will require both financial and expert support”. They were not persuaded of the value of a statutory duty on local authorities to maintain parks to an particular standard but were definite in their feelings that “parks and green spaces matter” and that parks are “at a tipping point” that “could have severe consequences”. However, for all the evidence they heard and for all their experience of how national policy is being devised and implemented, they were still able to state, “We believe that our recommendations will help to ensure that parks receive the priority they deserve, and to prevent a period of decline.”
• The CLG select committee report on parks is available via www.publications.parliament.uk. Download it here [pdf]..
Cultural counterbalance via the Factory
Manchester City Council has granted planning permission for the building that is to be the home of the Factory, a £110 million arts centre on the former Granada Studios site on the edge of the city centre. The building has been designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and will, according to Sir Richard Leese, leader of the council, provide a focus for the arts that will make Manchester a cultural counterbalance to London. “Factory isn’t just going to transform this unused corner of the city centre,” he said. “It’s going to further transform the way we see the world and the way the world sees Manchester.”
Grant helps Kielder project push on
A new project at Northumberland’s Kielder Water and Forest Park will expand the Kielder Art and Architecture programme while providing practical opportunities for creative learning, skills development and engagement with children and young people. The scheme has been awarded a £49,300 grant from Arts Council England and will use the grant to build upon the existing partnership between the trust and Newcastle University that exists to nurture talent and provide opportunities for the development of creative skills. Three new artworks will be commissioned and artists will be invited to submit proposals for a new permanent installation. Lynn Turner, director of Kielder Water and Forest Park, was pleased to be able to announce the grant and the plans. “As a major part of Kielder’s tourism offer, the Kielder Art and Architecture programme needs to remain visible, attractive and interesting to visitors, as well as being relevant to artists and architects,” she said. “The Explore and Create project, supported by this very important funding from the Arts Council England, represents a combination of new work, enhancement of existing assets, new events and activities, all coming together to create a future that helps Kielder to sit at the heart of Northumberland culture.”
Numbers rise in football’s abuse investigation
Given the popularity of the game, it was always unlikely that football would avoid having to deal with allegations of sexual abuse but the scale of the problem that was revealed made a full-scale response from the FA, not usually the most responsive or dynamic of organisations, unavoidable. Operation Hydrant, a focal point for historic abuse cases that was established in 2014, has already received more than 1,000 referrals from a dedicated football hotline set up by the NSPCC. In mid-January 2017 Operation Hydrant confirmed that 184 suspects and 526 potential victims, 97% of whom are male, had been identified. Although the majority of cases are related to football, 22 other sports have been identified within the cases being investigated. The FA has commissioned an independent review of the handling of allegations of abuse prior to 2005, which will be overseen by Clive Sheldon QC.
Tate Britain commission Cerith Wyn Evans
This month (March 2017) Cerith Wyn Evans will unveil a major new light installation for the Tate Britain Commission 2017. The annual commission, supported by Sotheby’s, invites a contemporary British artist to create a new artwork in response to the space of the Duveen Galleries at the heart of Tate Britain. Born in Wales in 1958, Cerith Wyn Evans first came to attention as a filmmaker producing experimental films and collaborative works. He has subsequently incorporated diverse media including installation, sculpture, photography, film and text. Alex Farquharson, director of Tate Britain, expressed delight at the commission. “Cerith has made a unique contribution to British and international art for over two decades,” he said. “His ability to create compelling structures out of light on a challenging scale, and the rich world of poetic ideas that informs his projects, makes him the perfect choice for the Tate Britain commission. We are excited to see how he will transform the Duveen Galleries this spring and summer.” The exhibition will run until 20 August 2017.
News in brief:
Other news that really deserved much more time and space than we are able to give it includes…
Research from Sporting Equals shows that 90% of sports governing bodies have no individuals from BAME backgrounds in leadership positions. Richard Leman has been appointed as chairman of SLC to lead the company in its plans for growth. President of Great Britain Hockey and a director of the British Olympic Association for the last decade, Leman was a member of the Great Britain Hockey squad that won gold in the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. SLC MD Duncan Wood-Allum welcomed “Richard’s experience of developing numerous successful businesses”. Brothers Gareth and Hadyn Luke have joined the board at CMS Fitness Courses and CMS Vocational Training Limited, a health and fitness training provider based in West Yorkshire. Bar and club operator the Deltic Group has appointed Alex Millington as group finance director. STA has launched its new Octonauts-branded swimming awards at the Alton Towers Resort. The STA has also appointed Ian Prosser to the role of technical manager for lifesaving. Playwaze, the website and mobile app for organising sports activities, has been chosen as the official technology partner of Parkour UK. YMCA Awards, one of the UK’s leading awarding bodies, has appointed Dr Fiona Summers to the newly created role of head of quality and compliance. Simon Titley also joins the YMCA Awards’ leadership team as head of centre support. Concept2 has become the official performance rowing machine of British Rowing and will be providing support to British Rowing’s high performance. British Rowing’s new indoor rowing initiative, Go Row Indoor, aims to double the number of indoor rowers over the next five years. The Sports Consultancy has announced the appointment of Sharon Bayton as associate director within its major events and venues team.
News in brief
Staccato reports from the cultural typeface
TATE MODERN''s first annual live exhibition in the Tanks, the underground spaces dedicated to performance art will be Ten Days Six Nights, which will take place over 10 days with a combination of installations, performances, film, music and dance. It runs from 24 March to 2 April 2017 as part of BMW Tate Live, Tate Modern’s ongoing performance art programme in partnership with BMW.
Fujiko Nakaya Fogfalls #47626, Showa Kinen Park, 1982 Courtesy the artist © Jill Krauskopf