The arts are not just the creative and imaginative expression of a society, but have an important role in illuminating the human condition and acting as a unifying and regenerative factor in the development of communities.
The aim of this conference was to explore the ways in which the arts have contributed and can contribute further to the life of the Commonwealth, particularly in Britain, whilst recognising that modern Britain derives much of its cultural energy from sources neither Commonwealth nor British in origin.
The conference looked at the following key topics:
- The need to be able to view critically through the eyes of one culture at another
- The community role of the arts
- The role of the arts in promoting social and economic renewal and the contribution of arts in reconciling division within communities.
Chris Bailey, Arts and Heritage Manager, Belfast City Council
Farrukh Dhondy, Freelance Writer, formerly Commissioning Editor, Channel 4 News
Jenny Edwards, Education Director, The Tricycle, Kilburn
Len Garrison, former Director, Afro-Caribbean Resource Centre, London
Phillip Hedley, Artistic Director, Theatre Royal, Stratford East, London
Claire Holder, Chief Executive, Notting Hill Carnival
Gerard Lemos. Chairman, Cultural Diversity Monitoring Group, British Counci and a Management Consultant
Nomsa Manaka, Arts Manager, The British Council, Johannesburg, South Africa
Maureen Salmon, Head of Cultural Development, TS2K, Commonwealth Institute