Friday, June 01, 2007

Strata Minutes for May

Minutes of Strata Arts Group Meeting

Held on 2nd May 2007

Those present:
Nick Goulding, Karen Delahay, Carlotta Barrow, Chris Burke, Paul Angel, Tara Dominick, Keith Roker and Lesley Licudi. (Jon Bowmer of Bournemouth University, arrived towards the end of the meeting).
Apologies from Wendy Wharam, Jane Ramsey and Peter Cooper.

Wine and welcome

Matters arising from meeting of 4th April
Nick said that in future the minutes would be emailed to everybody on the Strata list as well as appearing on Peter’s blog.
No other matters arising.
Formation of Company
Nick stressed the need to progress with the issue of charitable status now that Strata Arts Ltd is up and running. Karen felt that it was not essential until funding applications are made.
Membership fees were discussed and the scale of fees are as previously agreed: £5 for individuals and £25 for companies/groups. Paul suggested that a form should be drawn up for those wishing to apply for membership.
Karen, Lesley and Keith agreed a time for the following week to meet at Lloyds Bank to open a company account.
Tara asked about aims and objectives for Strata and these were briefly outlined; Karen suggested that they should be posted on the website. Tara also said that the artist Rob Hughes is interested in making links with Strata.
4. Website Development
Paul met with Shannon Ribbons and Richard Jefferys concerning website funding. Paul will follow up on any progress from Shannon’s meeting with Gwynneth Brookes.
An Events function has been added to the website which any Strata member can update using a password obtainable from Paul. Information can be transferred from Peter’s blog as well and any information should be given to Paul. The website address is
More links are essential for the website, any information should be emailed to Paul or Shannon who will add them on. Paul said he was happy to help individuals wishing to develop their own websites.
All work on website development will move forward much faster after Purbeck Arts Week. Karen felt that a map on the website showing locations would be useful and Paul said that he and Shannon are already working on this. Karen also said that photos could be placed on Google Earth.
Tara referred to the opportunities for advertising on the site.

5. Reghu Nadhan
Keith had spoken to Wendy concerning the refusal to grant Reghu a visa, stating various reasons given by the authorities. Nick wrote on behalf of Strata to protest, along with a large number of other organisations and individuals registering an enormous amount of support for him. A fresh application was emailed to David Oswald (the named official dealing with the case) on 2nd May which hopefully will prove successful. It is hoped that Reghu will be here by the 18th May.
6. The Old Malthouse School
Nick referred to the closure of the Old Malthouse School in September which Karen has brought to the attention of Strata following an email received by her from Ann Faulkner on 2nd May. Its future usage is currently undecided and it was agreed that it would be an ideal site for all kinds of events and projects that Strata could promote. Karen had been in discussion with Ann and Richard Wilson from PDC prior to the meeting. It is significant that Strata via Karen (as sitting on the MCTI) was informed of and invited to be part of the possible future use of the Malthouse (from external and relevant individuals/bodies i.e. Ann Faulkner as vice chair of Swanage Town Partnership and MCTI Swanage 20 Year Plan) at such an early stage.
Nick then read out emailed correspondence between Ann Faulkner, Richard Jeffery and Karen discussing the interest of the Market and Coastal Towns Initiative Working Group in the site. Paul asked if Karen would email Ann Faulkner and write to Mr. Spooner of the Old Malthouse on behalf of Strata to register our interest. The group agreed that the site has massive potential as an Arts Centre including workshops, play readings, Open Mike events, tea rooms, artists space, University outreach, exhibition areas etc. Nick expressed the hope that minutes of the meeting would raise further ideas for the usage of the site. Paul referred to the Transitions Towns Network as a resource.
Nick said that the Langton Matravers museum has a considerable interest in part use of the building and that approaches had already been made. They have a huge collection that needs to be housed. Keith also said that the radar collection may also be interested in the space. It was agreed that a hybrid use of the building involving partnerships would be the most viable outcome.
A draft letter for Karen to send to Mr. Spooner was written listing possible partnership interests and Strata’s desired involvement in the use of the site. (Copy attached for information)
7. Project Progress
Carlotta and Chris showed the layouts for the Artists Trail project. The Council did not approve of the free standing display boards for health and safety reasons etc but were happy to have them placed on the walls of certain buildings. The Tourist Information Centre was a possible site and possibly the walls of shelters. The first display could be up within a few weeks. A response from Wessex Water is still awaited.
Articles have appeared in Muse Magazine and Dorset Life along with local papers. Carlotta asked for help from the group in lobbying the Council, writing to the media etc.
Tara introduced to the group Jon Bowmer of Bournemouth University who listed several contacts that would be extremely useful to Strata and particularly in our involvement in the opportunities for the Old Malthouse. Jon felt certain that Bournemouth University would be very interested in a number of projects and was willing to be a main contact for the group as the university are already involved in the local area including the Swanage Town Plan. Jon also said that the university had a particular interest in facilitating the opening up of local museum collections.

Tara and Karen said that the Creative course run at California Barn (by Tara) was very successful, many good connections were made including Rob Hughes.
8. Future Meetings / Socials
The next Open Mike will be on Tuesday 15th May at Earthlights at 7.30pm. Bring a bottle of wine, it’s not known whether corkage applies.
Purbeck Arts Week starts on May 26th to 3rd June.
9. Publicity and Funding
Karen attended a very useful funding workshop and made some interesting contacts including a trainer who would be willing to help Strata.
10. Any Other Business
No other business was discussed.

Date of next meeting: Wednesday 6th June 2007 at 7.30 pm at the Quarr Gallery.

Copy of letter sent by Karen drafted during the meeting and completed afterwards:
California Cottage
Priests way
BH19 2RS


Dear Mr Spooner,
I am contacting you on behalf of Strata Arts, a newly formed arts support organisation based in Swanage. The aim of the organisation is to support all those who have an interest in the arts in Purbeck, including the education and access to the arts for the local community and to assist those who which to make an income from the creative industries.
As you may well know the government has designated Dorset as a county that relies heavily on creative industries and recognises that as such the county should be assisted in developing such industries and support those with creative skills.
The Cultural Olympiad of the 2012 Olympics should also be considered as being relevant to the development of cultural events and facilities in the area.

I am one of the directors of Strata which recently became a non-profit making company limited by guarantee. We shall be applying for charitable status soon.
I also sit on the MCTI with Ann Faulkner who contacted you the other day regarding the Old Malthouse. My particular area, of the 20 year plan we have put together, is culture.

Following a Strata meeting on Wednesday evening and feedback from other possibly interested parties regarding the future usage of the Old Malthouse School site, I have been asked to contact you as chairman of the board of Governors of the school voicing our considerable interest in the site.
Members of Strata feel the site has considerable and viable potential for community arts and local educational organisations as an outreach base for their own existing activities.

Being aware of existing plans or desire by certain educational organistaions, to expand into the Purbeck area and the current shortfall of facilities and funding for educational and arts activities in Purbeck, we believe that the following groups and organisations would be interested in using the facilities/site or supportive of such a use:-

Bournemouth University,
Weymouth College
Poole College
Study Gallery, Poole
Bournemouth Arts Institute
Bournemouth Rep Theatre,
The Keystone project group
Living Creatively
Purbeck Arts Group
Purbeck Film Festival organisers
Jurassic Coast Arts Initiative
Cultural Olympiad org
School of Conservation Sciences
Dorset Youth Jazz Festival org.
Swanage jazz Festival
Swanage Blues Festival
Swanage Folk Festival

It would also be ideal as:-
A workspace for local artists and craftpeople and relevant local businesses. A colleague is interested in setting up a system to encourage young local people to find an income from their creativity and maybe develop creative apprenticeships. The apprenticeships offered by the local stone industry could be futher supported at the site ( I am well aware of the Keystone projects and recently had a meeting with Duncan Forbes from the project scheme to discuss this issue)
An exhibition and selling space for artists/crafts work, supported by an attractive visitor centre and social hub for networking opportunities. Having been involved for several years in the Dorset and Purbeck Art weeks I know that the school is a suitable location for such activities.
A performance space and location for rehearsals and play readings, dance and dram workshops.
An ideal location for activity holidays - outdoor activities Climbing/cycling/walking etc, art holidays, wildlife and special interest holidays. I am already involved in this area ( I own a holiday let that includes studio /workspace) and recognise the increasing demand for such holidays. Leeson House and the Allnat centre already deals with young visitors to the area and Brenscombe with adult, primarily outdoor, visitors. However the MCTI have recognised the uniqueness of the area and wish to encourage specific visitors and see activity holidays as a good way to extend the season and increase local trade and income in the quieter periods.

The nature of the site, the existing facilities, accommodation and outdoor space makes it an ideal opportunity to put into place the aims and ideas of so many local user groups. We feel the site could potentially fulfil the criteria and aspirations of the 20 year for Swanage (and the area as defined by the plan) and would consequently receive the necessary support from local and national authorities and relevant organisations.

We as a group (Strata) are willing to take this project forward on the understanding that I (as designated director) will be informed as soon as the Board of Trustee confirms how the site can be used ( a note from Richard Wilson implies that the site is unlikely to be used for residential, but could affordable housing be considered? I will be contacting him directly. Local accommodation on site for those with businesses would be a major consideration) and that the Trustees are informed as soon as possible of our (Strata) interest in the site.

We believe our intended aims and proposed use for the school site would fulfil the criteria/remit of major fundraisers and the needs of potential users. This would therefore put the project in a good position when considering viability and partnership funding.

I and my colleagues are currently contacting relevant organisation and individuals to assess interest and possible users of the site. Initial discussions are very positive.
I look forward to hearing from you and would be interested in meeting you or a colleague to discuss various issues.

Yours Karen Delahay,

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