I had one of those moments this week while at my second meeting as the Erdington Arts Forum Coordinator at the Cafe Arts meeting.
The group was first formed in March 2011 born out of an initiative by the then Arts Team at Birmingham City Council (now Culture Commissioning Service) to see the arts coordinated at local levels as well as centrally. Each Arts Forum having a plan and a coordinator to help make arts activity happen in the local neighbourhoods linking up with the already established Arts Champions Scheme which sees the big arts organisations of the city, partner with an area.
When I first started out in the arts they were called ‘Areas’ and I worked at Stockland Green Leisure Centre in the Erdington Area. Then areas got bigger and it became Erdington and Sutton, then a reshuffle later they were smaller and called Constituencies and then after a change in political colours at the top of Birmingham they became and are still currently Districts. I’m sure there’s another name on the horizon…
This context is all important as when that first group of people came together to form a Local Arts Forum network in Erdington they came up with the title Cafe Arts with CAFE standing for Constituency Arts Forum Erdington. Cafe Arts a much more sociable and snappier title than the remit.
But then it became a bit weird when someone decided the word constituency was so last season and the word district was the new fashion in local politics. Cafe Arts still works but then there’s an even longer winded description of explaining what it is to people who are new to it. “Hi I’m from Cafe Arts, it stands for Constituency Arts Forum Erdington but now we are a district not constituency. Anyway we exist to be a network for artists and people who are passionate in the arts to make sure that by working together everyone in Erdington – which includes Tyburn, Stockland Green, Kingstanding and Erdington wards – can all have access to high quality arts whether its led by community groups or professional arts companies.”
Can you imagine!
Thankfully though Cafe Arts is a group that has some great people from across the district and brilliantly one of them – namely Hannah – had a fantastic moment where she said. “Why doesn’t it now stand for Creative Artists From Erdington.”
So here we are. We are launching our new web presence through this wordpress site to help communicate who we are, what we do, things on offer you can get involved in, as well as the reasons to why we exist and our ambitions. We hope that you will come back and visit the site as it evolves – it really is in its early stages and we hope that you’ll choose to be a follower of the site and share it wider for others to enjoy.
I know it’s a bit bare at the moment but photos, stories and activities will soon start to appear. If you want to be a part of the group please get in touch and if you want to contribute to the site please do. We look forward to meeting you and getting you involved.