Events & Courses
A Civic Role for Arts Organisations: Relevance Risks Rewards
10 June 2019 - 28 June 2019
A series of free conferences from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation to share experiences, discuss and debate the civic role for arts organisations

What does it mean to play a civic role? For some arts organisations, it is at the heart of their mission and practice; others think it is not relevant. Communities are questioning whether the public money that arts organisations receive is benefiting local people; there are hard questions to be asked and there are no easy answers.

Following the two year Inquiry into the Civic Role of Arts Organisations, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch) is working with partners across the country to support a series of conferences. Together we will share experiences, discuss, debate and imagine the significance of a civic role for arts organisations and the relevance they hold within their communities. Speakers will share the innovative, sometimes radical, ways in which they are developing their arts organisation’s civic role.

All the conferences will address the same overarching theme but each venue will have a specific focus:

10th June, Manchester: ‘Partnerships, People and Power Dynamics’ (Whitworth Art Gallery)

13th June, Birmingham: ‘Flagship Cultural Events: Risks and Rewards’ (Birmingham Repertory Theatre)

19th June, Gateshead: ‘The Art of Cultural Democracy’ (Sage Gateshead)

21st June, London: ‘Cultural Spaces: Temples or Town Halls?’ (Wellcome Collection)

28th June, Bristol: ‘Art: A Catalyst for Radical Change?’ (Arnolfini)

In the autumn we will be in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. The exact dates are yet to be confirmed.

Book your free tickets at:


Venue Details:
Manchester, Birmingham, Gateshead, London, Bristol