2019 Autumn Area Meeting

The Arts SocietyRepresentatives from twenty out of twenty-two of the societies in the North East Area attended a lively and informative Autumn meeting at the Folk Hall, New Earswick.  We were joined by the Vice Chair of the Trustee Board, Roger Duckworth and by Katherine Sutton, Education Manager at The Arts Society House in London.  We also welcomed Sam Slatcher, founder and director of Citizen Songwriters.

Katherine gave us a clear and comprehensive presentation on the work of the Education Department.  She explained the rigorous process used to select accredited lecturers and the follow up procedures employed to monitor performance.  She invited members to join one of the Lecturer Selection Days and encouraged all the societies to submit Lecturer Review forms following each lecture, in order to ensure the very high standard of Arts Society presentations is maintained.  Roger Duckworth heard of some of the concerns of our societies here in the North East and agreed that he would take these back to The Arts Society House.

In a break from our usual programme, Sam Slatcher, founder and director of Citizen Songwriters talked at length about the work that he and his colleagues have been doing among refugees and asylum seekers in the Durham/Newcastle area.  This includes encouraging those who have sought sanctuary to write about their experiences and their journeys and help to turn their words into songs.  Under the title Stories of Sanctuary there have been performances in many of our major northern cities and this is something which we hope we will be able support in the future.  His presentation clearly gave many of those present at the meeting food for thought and over the next few weeks we will be following this up.  We have already received some interesting suggestions as to the way forward from Sam and would very much like to hear your thoughts.

Lizzie Darbyshire