Exeter Cultural Partnership

Engaging, empowering, energising culture in Exeter

Exeter City Council Arts & Events Review - comments invited

Message from Exter City Council regarding proposals for City Council Arts & Events.

The following is a message from Victoria Hatfield, Economy & Enterprise Manager, inviting comment from ECP members:

Val Wilson, Exeter City Council's City Arts & Events Manager is retiring at the end of March 2018, which will be a great loss to the City Council and especially Exeter. Over the previous couple of years Val has managed and delivered two major events that has had a significant impact on the city, as well as continuing with the day job in supporting the arts community within and surrounding Exeter….a commendable achievement.

Val’s retirement is providing Exeter City Council with an opportunity to re-look at how we deliver / manage / co-ordinate arts, culture and events across the city. The proposal, which would be implemented March 2018 is:

  • The management of the team going forward will come under Jon-Paul Hedge (the City Council's Strategic Director for Communications & Marketing), as this ties in with the purpose he is overseeing - ‘provide great things to see and do’
  • Funding of £20,000 per year for two years will be provided to the Exeter Cultural Partnership to enable it to take on the strategic leadership of arts across the city
  • As of 1 April 2018, the post of City Arts & Events Manager is amended to Events Manager and will act as a facilitator, enabler and co-ordinator of events across the city to avoid duplication of events, to ensure that there is a full calendar of events across the city and to assist event organiser to expand existing events and to attract new events to the city
  • The process of applying for Exeter City Council Core Arts Grants and Small Arts Grants will remain unchanged
  • Events grants will be made available to help attract new events to the city and or to expand existing events (one off pump priming)
  • The awarding of the above grants will be administered by a member of Jon-Pauls’ team. A small panel, with an independent representative from the Exeter Cultural Partnership, will be set up to determine the awarding of the above grants
  • The Arts & Events Officer post is to be made redundant due to the above changes taking place

The job description for the new Events Manager post is attached here:

City Council Events Manager job description

If you would like to comment on the way forward for the service, could you please do so to Victoria at the City Council by FRIDAY 28 JULY 2017, so these can be incorporated into proposals going forward.

If you would like to talk in more detail regarding the above proposal, please email: victoria.hatfield@exeter.gov.uk or telephone her on 01392 265104.


Views: 160

Comment by Naomi Hart on July 18, 2017 at 19:00

My overall feeling is of deep, deep despair, that the ONLY arts officer position has simply been discarded.  Art is not just events, art is a major part of the whole country's economy and should be far higher up the agenda in Exeter than it seems to be.  There is a wealth of talent here, good will from places such as Exeter College to increase the art offer to the city, and this seems to suggest that the city is fundamentally disinterested in supporting the arts.  This is a very bad idea, and I hope that it isn't a done deal, as so much seems to be, and that the city is open to discussion about this vital subject.

Comment by Martin Thomas on July 18, 2017 at 21:50

Thanks for the comment Naomi.  Do please feed your thoughts through to Exeter City Council as described above.  This is - as far I as understand - not a 'done deal'.  These are proposals from the City Council and Victoria does want comments, hence sharing via ECP Ning and beyond.  An update on other developments in respect of ECP will be shared shortly.

Comment by Naomi Hart on July 19, 2017 at 8:19

Thanks, Martin.  Done, while gently bashing head against nearest brick wall.... ;-)

Comment by Nick Hall on July 23, 2017 at 17:22

Thanks for posting this Martin , MIDI would be very interested in seeing how we could fit into a discussion about the vision for the future of Exeter's arts and cultural scene - particularly the musical element - is Victoria the best person to direct questions and comment to at this stage ?

Comment by Martin Thomas on July 24, 2017 at 10:17

Hello Nick, in the next phase of the Cultural Partnership (beyond October) it is intended to develop a new culture strategy for the city, building on what has been achieved, and engaging more people in its development.  That would be an opportunity for MIDI to be involved so watch this space for that.  (It depends ofn the outcome of the Arts Council funding currently under consideration).  In respect of Exeter City Council and its priorities for arts and events then yes certainly worth feeding into the consultation on this role and area of work as Victoria has invited comment.

Comment by Josie Sutcliffe on July 24, 2017 at 14:21

I will definitely be feeding back to Victoria on this.  I'm horrified that the arts in Exeter is now going to be viewed & discussed purely along consumer lines of "see & do".  This is not all that culture is/should be (see Naomi's comment above) and to relegate it to this 'bin' is to consign the artistic endeavours of the people in this city and the communities they operate in/with/for to the scrapheap!  This is truly shocking.  We need someone in place as an arts officer who knows their stuff and is experienced - as Val Wilson is.  How will decisions be made in the future if they are not done by someone with this experience?  Headcount? Bums on seats? Economics? Personal likes? What a terrible episode in Exeter's cultural heritage!  I am completely disheartened to be losing the one arts officer left - she is/was a guide and a mentor who cared about the future of Exeter as a vibrant cultural city.  I'm devastated & furious!

Comment by Martin Thomas on July 25, 2017 at 10:45

Thanks for the remarks Josie - just to remind everyone to please send any feedback to Exeter City Council by 28 July.  As mentioned before, my understanding is that the City Council is keen to receive, and is listening to, constructive feedback.  This is not an ECP proposal, though the partnership clearly has an interest in seeing a positive and sustainable way of doing this in the future.  The future ECP post-holder and members of the Steering Group will also likely be involved in further discussions with colleagues in the Council before anything is decided for next year.

Comment by Josie Sutcliffe on July 25, 2017 at 10:57

Ok, Martin, thanks for your response - I will definitely respond! :)

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