Phase Two: Building a movement of change-makers

Supporting an international movement of organisations advocating and demonstrating a stronger civic role in the arts

Through our Inquiry phase, we identified five levers which could help lead to a movement of change-makers collaborating with their local communities. These form the foundation for our work in Phase Two. We are galvanising networks and groups that will embed ‘the civic’ into arts organisations, arts funding, and arts policy.

Levers for change

Five levers for change

Some supported initiatives

  • Creative Civic Change: 15 hyper-local community-led projects across England, using culture to enrich lives and the community.
  • Co-Creating Change: an international network of practice-based change, uniting artists, arts organisations and their communities.
  • UK Creative Community Fellows: Derby Museums transforming leadership programme.
  • Culture Declares Emergency: spearheading a wider definition of the civic role.
  • Culture Reset: Born out of the devastating impact of Covid-19 and inspired by the urgent need to respond to the experiences of a broader diversity of people, Culture Reset is an urgent programme to reimagine the future of arts and culture.


Phase 2: What happens next? – This summary outlines the feedback we received on our Phase One findings and sets out our priorities and next steps.

What Would Joan Littlewood Say? – Ten leaders from the arts and culture sector discuss why they feel it is crucial they play a civic role. In conversation with journalist Lyn Gardner, the book explores today’s fast-changing social and political landscape. Maria Balshaw (Tate), Madani Younis (formerly Southbank Centre) and Althea Efunshile (Ballet Black) are some of the voices that feature in this inspiring collection of essays.

Creativity, Culture and Connection – For the arts and cultural sector, the initial months of the Covid-19 pandemic have been a time of deep instability and uncertainty, but also a time for collaboration, strategic thinking, and resetting values and priorities. Common Vision spoke to over 100 cultural practitioners around the UK to understand how the new context has affected their work and future plans.


In 2019 we held five conferences across England ‘A Civic Role for Arts Organisations: Relevance, Risks, Rewards’. Topics we explored included cultural democracy; art as a catalyst for radical change (particularly in an age of growing climate action); and partnerships, people and power dynamics.

We co-hosted ‘From Participation to Co-creation’ with Creative Scotland in early 2020, with keynote speaker Nina Simon (Of/By/For all) and workshops that built on new research and resources from With One Voice.

What next?

We intend to make the most of this moment where arts organisations are asking ‘what does it mean to be relevant?’ We have identified five priorities:

Header photo: Filwood Fantastic, Creative Civic Change area © Marcus Way
Updated on 18 march 2022

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