What an experience! I feel very fortunate to have had this opportunity. It has been tremendous meeting and working with so many new people, new ideas and different ways of working. I’ve had time to step back and consider what I do as well as what Artswork does, and think about how we need to make connections in a troubled global world to strive to promote unity and common understanding in and through the arts.
I have learnt much about the vital role artists play in combating oppression and giving voice to a people; about ‘artivism’ and the very active role artists round the world have played in traumatic and troubled times – and the risk of reprisals and death they have experienced for that work.
I have learnt a little more about abject poverty and how the arts can make a difference and ‘give dignity’ as well as ‘plant seeds’ for the future.
I have seen the work of extraordinary Chilean artists – those leading residencies within communities, as well as the work of artists such as Emma Malig . But also the fabulous street art making Santiago and Chile places of both giving voice to a people but also of vibrant colour.
I have learnt that our two countries and our organisations (Balmaceda Arte Joven and Artswork/The Mighty Creatives) have much in common. We all have a commitment to the importance and value of the arts in the lives and education of young people. We believe in building opportunities for young people to find their voice in and through the arts, but also to have opportunities to grow and develop as artists. It seems that the Governments of both Chile and of England no longer seem to prioritise the arts – indeed, their importance in education in both countries appears to be diminishing. We also believe in the role of the arts in addressing exclusion.
I now need to consider and reflect on all this and how this might further inform and enhance the work that Artswork does.
I believe too that there is much we can share in terms of the work that Artswork and TMC are doing around Cultural Education Partnerships, Professional Development and the work with young people at risk of exclusion, including those in migrant communities.
We are now considering how and in what way we might build from this. BAJ would like to form a Memorandum of Understanding between our organisations outlining the potential for next steps. TMC and I will then work with them to see what, how and in what way we might shape and model a way forward.
Thank you to everyone: BAJ, Emma Crook, Cognita, Educacion 2020 and the British Chilean Chamber of Commerce for meeting with us and for your generosity of spirit. It has been an extraordinary joy to meet with you all.
Finally thanks to Arts Council England and to the Anglo-Chilean Society for trusting in the programme and providing grants to enable Nick Owen and myself to go.
27th August 2017
At the end of August, Artswork’s Chief Executive, Jane Bryant, went to Chile to visit a number of organisations and speak at Balmaceda Arte Joven’s Artvistas symposium. Whilst on her travels, Jane produced daily blogs for us. Keep up with Jane on Twitter @JaneVBryant, and read her Chile blogs at the links below