Waiting at Heathrow for my plane to Santiago, Chile, gives me time to consider what I anticipate will be an amazing week in Chile – both for me and for Artswork. I have a busy time ahead with a range of meetings, including with The British Council and Educacion 2020, with International Education organisation Cognita, plus a presentation to give to the Education Committee of the British Chilean Chamber of Commerce and discussion with them about cultural education.
At the heart of the visit to Chile however is the opportunity to spend time with youth arts organisation, Balmaceda Arte Joven (BAJ). BAJ has invited me and my colleague Nick Owen, CEO of The Mighty Creatives, to join them in their 2-day International Symposium, Artivistas, which they are holding to celebrate their 25th Anniversary. BAJ is a non-profit organisation that works with and supports young people across Chile – delivering projects and training and promoting creative expression, critical thinking, self-reflection and a sense of community – through innovative and high quality artistic education and practice.
During the week, both Nick and I will be giving presentations at the Symposium in Santiago as well as having the opportunity to work with and see BAJ in other centres – in Antofagasta and Valparaiso respectively.
We are very grateful both to Arts Council England (Artists International Development Fund) and to the Anglo-Chilean Society who have each given grants for us to go. Through this support, I will have the opportunity to step back, to reflect, to be refreshed and inspired by seeing a range of youth and Chilean arts practice, to learn from the work of BAJ and how they support emerging artists, and to consider potential next steps as well as how all this might inform Artswork going forward.
As I sit here at Heathrow surrounded by people from a great diversity of backgrounds, it reinforces for me the fact that we are all now living and working in a global context. If, through working in the arts and building new international collaborative partnerships between organisations and with young people, we not only can create opportunities for young people to achieve their potential – including as emerging artists developing vibrant, innovative arts practice – but at the same time, we can also promote enhanced understanding of each other and our cultures across countries and continents, then this would be valuable in and of itself.
Jane Bryant, CEO, Artswork
19th August 2017