The Garage – New Horizons: Towards a More Inclusive Arts Sector


In early 2016, The Garage, one of Youth Music’s key delivery organisations, gave the hub a call about curating an event for the, focused on widening access to the arts, and developing a more inclusive arts sector. Naturally, we said yes, as championing work that does this is part of our organisational ‘DNA’.

The brief was clear: to curate an event that would share inclusive thinking and practice from across and beyond the arts sector; inspire people and catalyse new thinking and doing, providing people with the chance to identify practical actions they can take to help make what they do more inclusive, and bring beople together to share experiences and learn from each other. Over the next few months together we worked hard to put together a provocative, proactive and practical event for leaders and doers across the arts sector.

 Fast forward to a sunny September, and around 150 CEOs, artistic directors, arts professionals and artists from around the country came together for the event – New Horizons – Towards a More Inclusive Arts Sector, to give it its full title. To kick off the day we invited Stella Duffy (Fun Palaces) & Inua Ellams (performer) to write and share a ‘postcard from an inclusive future’ where their vision for an inclusive arts sector has become a reality. Over the course of the day, there were panel discussions on how can we work together locally to ensure a more inclusive picture; how might we get to a more inclusive arts workforce; what makes an arts organisation truly inclusive, and how we can all get a bit closer to that, and how can technology help promote and achieve inclusivity in the arts. In addition there were practical how to sessions on making your venue more accessible and how to involve young people in your organisational policy making. Speakers included Sam Cairns (Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation; Abid Hussain (ACE); Janine Irons (Tomorrow’s Warriors); Carol Reid (Youth Music), and Sarah Weir (Roundhouse). You can see a full speaker list here and the full programme here.

We wrapped up the event by asking everyone to write their own postcards from the future, which we used to create a New Horizons Manifesto for the Future, as well as an online postcard album.

We also secured Arts Professional as a media partner, and were joined by AP’s Frances Riches and Christy Romer, who presented findings from their new Pulse research into diversity in the arts.