We also had a discussion about definitions of the words arts and culture egged on by the poet in residence Peter Sansom. Sessions on music hubs, LEPs, bridge organisations and commissioning followed and in the afternoon were study tours. I chose to go on a trip to York University to visit the Ron Cooke Hub with incubator spaces for new businesses, and a look round the film and TV school. It was almost too much to take in so we were glad to get on to the social eating and drinking bit in the evening where we had a go at making chocolate lollies.
At this point, I would like to enthuse about York for a bit. I had never been before but I have to say, I found it a charming city. It is very well-balanced, walkable with a well proportioned river. A whole range of interesting buildings and carefully chosen and maintained street surfaces. There was a friendly buzz of people out in the streets at most times of the day and I almost fell in love with the city.
One of its famous industries is chocolate with Terry's and Rowntrees being their famous brands and the Cocoa House is the York homage to chocolate. There is also Betty's, a sublime tea shop which had a French or Italian feel in spite of being solidly Yorkshire. It is clear that York City Council is taking a lot of notice of how visitors perceive the city.
But back to AD:UK, this morning John Holden from think tank Demos came to talk to us about his thoughts on the new arts landscape. He was optimistic about the progress that the arts have made and the new thinking that is at the forefront of arts development. We have more awareness and skills than ever before, and more traction. We must build on this. More later