ARC Stockton Arts Centre

email box.office@arconline.co.uk
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Three months into the year, and its time for a ‘check in’ with my New Year’s resolutions. I’ve only missed this one (writing a weekly blogpost) once; and I did commit to ‘most weeks’…

Blogging was linked to wanting to be more reflective – to spend a little more time reflecting and a little less rushing forwards, with the aim of making sure that I was directing my time and energy for maximum impact. It was both a personal and an organisational aim.

It’s always flattering when people from outside the area visit ARC, to talk to us about our work. It helps me look at the organisation from their perspective, and their questions help me articulate what we are doing, how and why.

It’s great for reflecting – but also a way of fulfilling with my other New Year’s resolution: to learn more. I’ve been lucky to host two brilliant people this week – an innovative fundraiser and a theatre executive director – thank you for helping me reflect and learn.

There were so many special moments at ARC this week, it is hard to pick one out. But none would have happened without all the fantastic people I get to work with here. Not only are they amazing individuals, they are also an amazing team. I was reminded of this on Friday afternoon when I heard a spontaneous round of applause break out in the office. It turned out to be everyone clapping our Young People’s Programme Coordinator as she left for the weekend, having led a challenging but hugely successful young people’s project over the last three weeks.

We often talk about ‘organisations’ as if they are a thing in their own right, but really they are just a group of people working together. When people talk about what organisations do, and how they behave, they are just describing how a group of people have decided to behave together.

I raise this because I have been struck this week by reports on social media about how some of our ‘national’ arts organisations are behaving. People being asked to leave public spaces because they don’t have a ticket for that evening’s show, or being told off for using laptops in the foyer. This may be organisational policy, but people make policies.

Somewhere in those organisations, a group of people has agreed a policy that makes their publicly-funded spaces less open to the public. I find this unacceptable and counter to what most of us are working really hard to do: to try and make sure everyone feels welcome in our spaces.