23rd April 2012, 10:11am
Arts in Lincolnshire set to flourish with help from unique new post
Performers at LPAC, part of LOV The arts in Lincolnshire are set to receive a major boost thanks to what is believed to be the first partnership of its kind in the UK between a university and a local authority.

The University of Lincoln’s College of Arts and Lincolnshire County Council’s Economy and Culture branch have together established a new post to oversee the development of arts in the county, bringing in much-needed funding and expertise.

Chris Heighton, who was previously based at the County Council, has become the new Arts Development Officer based at the University.

Chris has a wealth of experience in bringing millions of pounds of much-needed funding from Europe and national charitable trusts and foundations into Lincolnshire.

Under the Arts Council England-funded Lincolnshire One Organisational Development Thrive Programme, Chris was responsible for a number of projects including support for artists and festivals. He was also responsible for setting up Lincolnshire One Venues (LOV), a unique consortium of 10 theatres, galleries and other arts venues across the county working together on things such as commissioning new works, growing audiences and making successful funding bids.

In addition, Chris has been instrumental in creating networks for festival organisers in Lincolnshire, local theatre production companies and early career artists.

Dr Lisa Mooney-Smith of the College of Arts said: “We are delighted to have been able to create this exciting new post with our partners at Lincolnshire County Council and to bring such an experienced individual to the University.

“This innovative step presents a unique opportunity to develop a new model for diversifying income for the arts that addresses the challenges posed by cuts to government funding as a result of the UK’s economic recovery plans.

“The Arts Development Officer will continue to have direct access, for example, to the local authority’s Enterprise team for support with a range of international bids and continue in his pivotal role within Lincolnshire One Venues, acting as a bridge between the University, the local authority and regional artists.
“In addition, he will be able to work with University academics on projects including research, and with art students and recent graduates to support them to stay in the area for the benefit of all our communities.”

Chris will be part of the team behind 2013’s Lincoln Frequency Festival of Digital Culture, building on last year’s highly successful inaugural event.

Jonathan Platt, Head of Libraries and Heritage at Lincolnshire County Council said: “This move will ensure that in spite of the difficult financial climate, the good work that has taken place under Lincolnshire One over the past five years will continue. It will allow us to build on the success of projects like Lincolnshire One Venues and the This is Art campaign, help secure more investment and get even more people get involved in the arts.”
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