Letter to Culture Southampton 

UPdate 1 November 2016 – still nothing. *slight teeth grinding noise*

Update 12 October 2016. No reply from SCDT yet. *drums nails on table* 

TLDR: CHAOS steering group has sent a letter (well, an email actually) to the Board and outgoing Chair of Southampton Cultural Development Trust, John Denham, outlining CHAOS plans for growth and asking for more transparency and consultation in the development of cultural policy for the city.

  • offers CHAOS as a conduit for communications with creative communities
  • offers to co ordinate a briefing to the new SCDT chair on who we all are and what we are about
  • asks for a discussion about SCDTs consultative arrangements going forward

Full text of the letter is here. We will let you know what response comes back. 

“For the attention of the Board

Southampton Cultural Development Trust

Dear John Denham,

CHAOS – an update 
There have been some changes recently in the focus of CHAOS which we would like to share with Southampton Culture Development Trust.

CHAOS was formed 5 years ago as a networking organisation for “culture, heritage + arts organisations” in Southampton. CHAOS organises popular & valued monthly networking meet ups, but we want to do more.

Reviewing the make up of our 400+ strong membership, we conclude that our members comprise mainly “the creators” from a wide range of local artistic and cultural communities; artists, musicians, crafters, designers, performers etc. This group will be our focus going forward.

We have formed a steering group who are working on behalf of the membership to establish the structures and systems we need to operate as a representative body. We have added the In Conversation series of public talks with local creators to our offer and are currently consulting on a portfolio of events & services to benefit members and the wider creative scene. 

We know that artists and other creatives can offer a kind of insight and reflection to our city that no other group can. We are needed to support the delivery of community cohesion, city pride, economic development, improvements in public health and other city objectives through our individual and collective practice and as partners alongside other interest groups.

CHAOS is pleased to offer ourselves as a source of insight, project partners and a conduit for information about what Southampton artists and other creatives are doing and thinking. 

Listening to our members who observe and work in the local, regional, national and international cultural scene, there is a growing call for clear and timely information about and access to initiatives and projects relating to art and culture in the city. We also perceive a mismatch between city policy makers’ statements of welcoming & championing culture and relationships with the city’s own creative communities. 

We believe that creators’ voices are not currently being heard loudly enough in envisioning the city’s strategic planning. This is especially felt in the area of developing arts/culture strategic vision or identifying & delivering arts/culture projects. 

From our new focus as a voice for the city’s creators, CHAOS is offering: to:

act as a key representative body for arts and culture communities in the City. 

brief the new SCDT Chair on the local art and culture scene. 

We would like to discuss SCDTs arrangements for consultation and communication with the city’s creative communities going forward.

It is an exciting time for art and culture in Southampton. We are enjoying the benefits of significant investment from the Arts Council and others. This is, however, coming at a time of significant challenges in the face of reduced public spending. We look forward to making our contribution to ensuring that the significant investment of skill, time and money benefits the city and all its communities providing maximum sustained impact into the years ahead. 

Kind regards
Ben Scott, Christina Stone, Matt Salvage, Catherine Wright
CHAOS Steering Group”