Event Report: TCCE Annual Conference - "Culture, Creativity & The Academy - Exploring the New Normal"

Chris Blincoe of the University of East Anglia attended the The Culture Capital Exchange's (TCCE) annual conference on behalf of PraxisUnico.

TCCE is a company promoting the exchange of universities' knowledge and expertise with London’s cultural and creative sectors. On 15th July 2015 I attended their Annual Conference at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama as a Praxis Unico representative.

The Conference brought together representatives from higher education, the arts, cultural and creative sectors and the wider worlds of policy and business under the theme; Culture, Creativity and the Academy: Exploring the New Normal.

The Conference explored whether partnerships between the Arts, Cultural and Creative industries and Higher Education are becoming the ‘new normal’ and, if so, what such a new normal looks like and why is it important. Sessions throughout the day covered themes including:

• Successful partnerships: What models are out there and how do they work?
• Public funding and collaboration: Joining the dots
• Universities and the social contract: Working together for the wider good
• Moving forward: A blueprint for the future

Evelyn Wilson of TCCE, reflecting on the past 10 years of knowledge exchange development in the creative industries, highlighted that one key challenge that remains is that funding for collaborative projects tends to be focused on one-off pilots. However, she feels that collaborations should be funded "beyond impact" and that a more joined up approach between Government departments could facilitate this. Furthermore, John Newbigin, Chair of Cultural England, summed up a key challenge in his excellent keynote address. He said that "true convergence" requires partners who are all confident in their own expertise as well as generous in their attitudes towards each other's contribution. He concluded with reference to a Robert Frost poem and the need to distinguish the role of the arts in business partnerships with the apt phrase "good fences make good partnerships"!