By Andrew Redden – Representatives from Hastings County, City of Belleville and City of Quinte West met yesterday with stakeholders from our cultural community. The meeting was intended to review a draft terms of reference for a new Cultural Roundtable (a recommendation in the Cultural Plan) including proposed membership and tasks to complete.
As outlined on p. 18 of our Cultural Plan, the Roundtable is not going to be another “advisory body, but an action-oriented mechanism…” We are careful not to create “another layer” and duplicate efforts and committees already in place. Therefore, the Roundtable is envisioned to consist of a group of representatives from existing cultural related organizations and leaders across the community who will provide a “community voice” for culture. They will also relay back to their organizations communicating the importance of culture (both for economic development and quality of place) and help embed recommendations from the Cultural Plan (for action) within their own existing organizations and committees.
“…not that of an advisory body, but an action-oriented mechanism to support implementation of the Cultural Plan and ongoing cultural development.”
Take for example one of the initial recommendations to host the successful Creative Hastings networking events in Belleville and Quinte West. Instead of the Roundtable taking on this directly, this might be something a Chamber of Commerce might take the lead on, with the support of the Chamber representative on the Roundtable and other organizations. Another is to “Bring Arts Council Representatives Together”. The Roundtable Arts Council members might initiate this by providing an event where an Arts Council networking opportunity could happen. But it’s up to all the Arts Councils and Groups to continue networking and collaboration where practical.
As well, it will be important to keep in mind the vast geography of our community as it stretches from the shores of the Bay of Quinte to Lake St. Peter. The Roundtable will not necessarily have to have regular monthly meetings on a set date and time since modern communications provide the flexibility to allow Roundtable members to coordinate actions virtually whether it be in the form of an online discussion group or Video conferencing using tools such as Skype.
An interim Roundtable is the next step and they will be tasked with helping finalize the Terms of Reference and confirming structured membership on the eventual Cultural Roundtable.