meeting-london-2Upskill’s second meeting was held near London (United Kingdom) in March 2014 and hosted by Creative & Cultural Skills.

After breaking the ice in Rome, this meeting was the second time that partners had come together to continue their exchange and investigation into training best practice for cultural managers. The focus of the meeting in London was to understand how apprenticeships in the cultural sector work, and the impact they have on increasing young people’s employability.

The main office of Creative & Cultural Skills moved outside London, following a dream of improving a deprived area. High House Production Park, including the Royal Opera House Workshops and The Backstage Centre, is a vision made reality.


The tour of the park was given by Andrea Stark who gave an interesting talk about how serendipity, networking and perseverance were key factors to make all that a reality “You need to have a handful of killer facts: evidence and a vision need to play a bigger role than the mainstream. Work in collaboration, open to the other sectors.”  The park is having a great impact on the area, giving new opportunities to the community.


Robin Auld guided the group through The Backstage Centre, which is a purpose built training facility where young people interested in a pursuing a career in the creative industries can have an opportunity to come into contact with industry professionals.


Research into the creative and cultural sector in the UK shows that there is a lack of skills and training opportunities for professionals working behind the scenes, conversely there is a huge demand from the labour market.


The Upskill partners also attended Creative & Cultural Skills’ Annual Conference, a large event that made a strong case about the importance of providing different pathways to young people in the creative and cultural sector.




The meeting in London was also an opportunity to meet the interesting guests that the partners invited, such as Cristina Da Milano, who introduced digital storytelling as a tool for professional training in the museum sector – . And Aniko Racz who introduced her organisation and management models in Hungary (, Santiago from FIBBIC introduced the CultUp project, and Niels Righolt from DCI introduced Cultural Camping: The Music Theatre project in Copenhagen


The partners also met Alexandra Rowse, mentee in the previous CREA.M project, the aim of which was to develop a mentoring scheme to enhance cultural managers’ employability ( Alex now works for a small theatre company, producing education programmes for primary schools. She discussed the difficulties she faced as a graduate, particularly with regards to knowing what skills she had and what skills she needed to develop.


Partners also had the chance to meet and gain an insight into the ICCE’s ‘SYNAPSE’ programme introduced by Adrian De La Court, from the Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship, Goldsmiths. SYNAPSE is a programme of workshops available to students in all departments in Goldsmiths which offers the opportunity to develop entrepreneurial tools to ‘map their future’. . Synapse support participants through the process of making an idea from tangible to intangible, through the following steps:

  • Reflect / Idea
  • Act /Plan
  • Impact
  • Go back to the idea (if necessary)


The partners workshopped ideas around good training methodologies linked to the following themes: audience development; change management; planning ahead in an uncertain climate; and identifying your own skills gaps.




Main observations:

  • Importance of embedding yourself in new economic and social context that surrounds you so that you can create sustainable change
  • Evidence gets you through the door
  • Become friends with business leaders in your area so you can feed into strategic and economic positioning
  • From project to policy
  • Managing the change: Skills to manage the power, distribution of power, allow people to that change, be able to communicate that change
  • Rethink: Put people back into the process in a creative way
  • Users’ perspective is important
  • Key skills for audience development: loyalty to the public, marketing strategies, brings people with other competences into the cultural sector
  • Importance of peer to peer learning, and sharing knowledge
  • Bring the informal learning into the training process: we do not learn only through formal training (mentoring)
  • Be aware of your organisation mission, values, strategic development, impact and products