UPEN Arts & Humanities Fringe Event

Helen Apsey, Policy Lead for the AHRC Creative Communities Programme, spoke at the Universities Policy Engagement Network (UPEN) Arts & Humanities Fringe event in May 2024. Helen took part in an online panel on ‘Strengthening and Sustaining Arts and Humanities Research in Policy’ alongside Prof Jane Winters from the School of Advanced Study, University of London, Sarah James of the West of England Combined Authority, and Emily Hopkins of the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre.

The panel opened with a presentation by Prof Winters on the Mapping the Arts and Humanities database, before a broad panel discussion around how policy-makers, academia and the creative industries can most effectively interact with each other, regional engagement with the levelling up agenda, sharing good practice within and between regions, and the narratives and stories that have the most impact in supporting engagement.

This discussion was very relevant to the work of the AHRC Creative Communities programme, which brings together diverse participants from central, devolved and local government, community, third and private sector organisations, academics, creative freelancers, and young people, in place-based consortia to develop collaborative cross-sector R&D, to explore how culture can address regional inequality and help level up the UK.

This is highlighted by the work of the programme’s Community Innovation Practitioners, who work across all four nations of the UK, to collaborate with cross-sector partners to capture knowledge about co-creation and partnerships in community-based R&D. It is also central to the UK-wide Policy Labs series, which encourages cross-sector discussion through creative facilitation to identify the opportunities and challenges, key issues, needs and potential solutions that matter to creative communities. The Policy Labs focus on the programme themes of Health and Wellbeing, Environment, Pride in Place, and Education and Skills, and aim to embed communities in policy making and R&D to create a more inclusive innovation ecosystem and to influence wider UK policy.


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