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Virtual Event: Nurturing Local Culture

As part of our ongoing ArtsEngage Learning Community, Ontario Presents is excited to announce our next Spotlight Session!

Nurturing Local Culture: Stories from Creative People and Places

Virtual, free event
Tuesday, February 23rd
 from 10am - 12pm ET

What does it take to support long-term, community-led arts work? What can we learn from global initiatives that can be applied to our Canadian context?

Join us as we explore these questions with three spectacular guests from England’s Creative People and Places initiative.

Creative People and Places is a large-scale Arts Council England initiative which funds over 30 long-term action-research projects that are taking community arts to a new level across the country.

CPP is all “about more people choosing, creating and taking part in brilliant art experiences in the places where they live.” Projects are based in areas with fewer opportunities to get involved with the arts, and are founded in long-term partnerships with grassroots and community organisations.

In this creative session, our three speakers will each share one ingredient that has made CPP a success:

  • Power and distributed leadership - Jenny Williams, Project Director of CPP project Revoluton Arts
  • Bringing creativity and representation into research & evaluation - Elizabeth Lynch, CPP Critical Friend
  • Peer learning and working at your best - Amanda Smethurst, CPP National Peer Learning Manager

Participants will have a chance to learn together and explore how these ingredients can be adapted to their own contexts.

This is the first time our friends from CPP have shared their experiences with a Canadian audience. Don’t miss this unique opportunity for cross-cultural learning!

This interactive, virtual conversation is available to interested members of the performing arts community free of charge. Email info [at] ontariopresents [dot] ca (subject: Registration%3A%20Nurturing%20Local%20Culture) to register. Please let us know of any accessibility needs and we will do our best to provide necessary accommodations. Space is limited- first preference will be given to Ontario-based presenters and artists. As this will be an interactive session, we ask that you register only if you are able to participate for the full session.

Check out this short video for a sneak peek at the inspiring impact of Creative People and Places!


Elizabeth Lynch MBE
Specialist Arts Advisor, Community Participation, Research, Coach (London, UK) 

Elizabeth is a specialist Arts Advisor and Critical Friend. She has pioneered influential approaches to engagement and participation and enjoys bringing artists, scientists and other specialists together with communities to share knowledge and to explore and express ideas. Elizabeth is especially interested in work that is experimental, questioning and includes a variety of voices. She has worked with Creative People and Places in several roles - Arts Advisor on community panels, Interim Director, evaluator and currently as Critical Friend for Ideas Test.

Photo by Sarah Hickson

Amanda Smethurst

Amanda Smethurst Headshot

Amanda is an independent consultant, coach and facilitator with a focus on organisational development and change within the cultural sector; and a passion for supporting people to understand what makes their heart sing. The theme of working with individuals and organisations to support their development has run through her career within arts organisations, local government and at Arts Council England as Director, London. She now relishes the opportunity to lead a number of peer learning programmes - most significantly with Creative People and Places - that create spaces to share learning and experiences, in turn developing practice.

Jenny Williams

Jenny Wililams HeadshotJenny is Director of Revoluton, Luton’s ACE funded Creative People and Places project. Revoluton is a people-powered project on a mission to cultivate grassroots creativity in Luton.

Jenny has held numerous senior positions within the arts and public sectors including Founding Director of Take the Space set up in 2006 as a creative production hub for Black and multi-ethnic talent; Head of Diversity, Arts Council England, National Office; Cultural Diversity Officer, Arts Council England South East; Clore Fellow 2007-9; Education and Community Director The Tricycle; and Arts Development lead for Mid Sussex District and Wandsworth Borough Councils; as well as her first job in the arts sector as Fundraising Officer for English Touring Opera.

Jenny was recently awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the New Years Honours for services to culture and creativity, in recognition of Revoluton’s digital programme through the pandemic – an honour Jenny shares with the Revoluton team, Luton’s fellow creatives and audiences.

Photo by Rachel Kiley Photography


cj fleury


Ronnie Brown - Oakville Centre



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