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Paul Collard – international governments want to hear about the success of Creative Partnerships

June 12, 2010

Paul Collard will address the conference in the session Future Proofing Theatre. He is Chief Executive of Creative and Culture Education. I caught up with him yesterday:

CCE runs a major programme of research into the far reaching impacts of young people’s engagement in creativity. Why is this important?

There are many reasons why a Government might want to support the arts. Some Governments invest in them for their intrinsic value. But generally Governments are prepared to invest only where the outcomes address their most urgent concerns. These are generally social and economic. To attract such funding the arts competes with many other sectors who also claim to improve the social and economic outcomes of the country. Governments will inevitably challenge the evidence base of all such claims to distinguish between them. CCE believes therefore that if it is to continue to provide high quality cultural programmes to young people it must be able to demonstrate through its research programme that it will deliver the outcomes Governments are looking for.

There is an international appetite to learn from CCE’s experience and you have been having extended discussions with Governments and funders in countries as diverse as Germany, Lithuania, the Czech Republic and Korea. Why? 

 The focus of the world’s major westernised economies is shifting away from resource extraction and manufacturing. The resources are depleted and the developing world manufacture more effectively and at a lower cost. So the western economies now see the creative and knowledge industries as being their best hope. Generally, they are constrained from investing directly in the industries themselves and so increasingly seek alternative ways of nurturing the development of such economies.  Preparing the workforce for such economies is an area in which they can invest – and this inevitably leads them to consider the nature of the education such a workforce might need. Creative Partnerships is probably the biggest programme focussed on developing creative skills in the world and has worked hard to understand how such skills are developed. For this reason many governments and funders are anxious to learn how CCE’s experience can be applied in their countries.

 You experience at first hand the creativity of children and young people.  What has surprised/inspired you recently?

Today I was in Telford and talking to a remarkable young woman, in care, working with the Royal Shakespeare Company on a production in which she plays Lady Macbeth. Her ability to turn experiences which would crush most of us into a performance of controlled power and conviction was humbling, extraordinary, inspiring. Everyday is like that for me.

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