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Get A Plan - Video with Sarah Pickthall, Stevie Rice and Jo Verrent

Transcript of Video:

'This is a kind of “get ready” day to update you with what we’ve been doing over the last 3 years with the Get A Plan programme, how passionate we feel about it and what an important interface it is for bringing disability and arts, arts and disability, the work that you’re doing in the region together in and around equality to change things dramatically to create the appropriate cultural shift that we absolutely need in the Arts sector, and beyond.'

Sarah Pickthall part 1: 'My name is Sarah Pickthall, I am the development officer for Disability, Arts Council, South East. The importance of Get A Plan to me was to create a disability arts infrastructure for the south east. There was disparate practice, lack of opportunity for disabled and deaf artists, and organisations that weren’t aware of their developing responsibilities in line with disability law, and also particularly unaware of the business and creative potential of involving disabled and deaf people and communities in what they did, and through a really exemplary process whereby different arts organisations, primarily regularly funded organisations, could engage with the diversity agenda with the specifics of creating access and equality for disabled people in the arts, and this is what Get A Plan set about to do, I think four years ago, and it has come a long way in actually changing the shape of the south east, it’s really something that at Arts Council South East we’re particularly proud of.'
Stevie Rice clip 1: 'I am Stevie Rice, and I’m the director of DaDA South. DaDA South is the regional disability arts development agency. One of our focuses is artists, disabled and deaf artists and our remit is to really invest in their professional development and their support, providing opportunities for commissions, exhibitions, public realm working and really making sure that those disabled and deaf artists have access to the kinds of support that their non-disabled peers enjoy.'
Jo Verrent clip 1: 'My name is Jo Verrent and I am the consultant who has been working on the Get A Plan programme. Get A Plan’s very simple, it’s exactly what it says on the tin, it enables arts organisations to get a disability or diversity action plan. What’s an action plan? It’s simply a list of what that organisation is going to do to push their practice forward, but it has to be right the way across all areas of what that organisation does, artistic as well as marketing, in terms of audience, in terms of how that organisation runs and governs itself. So it has to be right the way through, it’s like a stick of rock, it’s got to run right the way through the organisation. Get A Plan worked in a very simple way, we had training days, that equipped people with knowledge and skills, and we had individual consultancies, where I went and spoke individually to arts organisations to really understand their uniqueness, or what made them tick.'
Sarah Pickthall clip 2: 'For me, a good disability/diversity action plan is owned throughout the organisation, also the buy-in and the heart that comes from the senior level of management understanding it and being able to advocate for it. For me, a plan doesn’t work if it’s part-owned in a loose way within the organisation, it’s got to be something that is sung throughout the organisation, and is creative and feels that its alive, feels like its got some achievable yet little risky milestones within it, that has textures and flavours and feels very exciting, so that the organisation feels empowered in the delivery of it, and hopefully what Get A Plan does is present a whole set of resources that allows that excitement and empowerment to happen for arts organisations.'
Stevie Rice clip 2: 'For DaDA South, Get A Plan has been really important in embedding disability aesthetic within organisations, within mainstream arts venues and more across the region. It’s really important that they understand how disability action planning works and that they’re able to engage with disabled and deaf people on a whole load of levels, so that might be from the top of the organisation, from the governance, to ensuring that disabled and deaf people are working for the organisation and with the organisation, that they’re programming disabled and deaf artist work, and disability arts work, which may or may not be both one and the same thing. So it’s really supporting those arts organisations and we come in and support Get A Plan by introducing those venues and the Get A Plan process to some of those disabled and deaf artists, so they get to see some of the really best stuff that’s happening within the region at this point in time.'
Jo Verrent clip 2: ‘What makes an action plan good?’…is a really interesting question, because it’s going to be different for each organisation. What might be good in one organisation’s action plan isn’t going to be good for another organisation. Some organisations find it easier to push the artistic element of what they’re doing and really open that up, but for another organisation, that might be less appropriate simply because that’s not where their product is at, there isn’t much out there, but even they can progress artistically simply by looking at how to take the next step, so every organisation needs to look at all areas individually. It can be useful to look at another person’s action plan to give you a few pointers, but there’s no point trying to rip one off, you’ve got to do it for yourself, you’ve got to audit what you do, work out what is your capacity for action, and for me, the things that excite me in an action plan, is when someone’s stretching themselves, someone’s really challenging themselves in terms of what they do, not huge steps, small steps forward, but each time, just pushing that bit further, that’s what I like to see.'
Sarah Pickthall clip 3: 'Action plans are very much individual things, the whole point of Get A Plan is that it develops the idiosyncrasies of organisations, their individuality, building on the strengths of that, and also the weaknesses, developing from weaknesses, and for me what makes a good action plan is one that it feels real, it feels alive, it’s got a little bit of risk in there, so it’s really pushing an organisation, but what I’m always looking for within these plans is to see the buy-in throughout the organisation because, fundamentally, it won’t work if it doesn’t have that buy-in, so the plans that have worked really well have been where different people within the same organisation attend the different sessions and have ownership of the milestones that they set for themselves, so for me, that’s when it really, really works.'
Stevie Rice clip 3: 'For DaDA South a really good disability action plan is one that really takes risks. I like it when arts organisations don’t quite know where they’re going, they’re not quite sure what is going to happen with the one particular aspect of their plan, and it’s a little bit more freefall. There are some very comprehensive disability action plans but for me I think those riskier ones add real spice to the sector, they really help to push the practise on and they’re much more, it’s much more about disabled and deaf artists engaging with that process in a much more creative way. It shows more space. I think sometimes when there is more of a framework in which to work there’s little flexibility around how you can engage but certainly I like to see a little bit more risk being taken by some of those organisations.'
Jo Verrent clip 3: 'So Get A Plan was a 4 year programme and the 4 years have come to an end now, so what are we left with? We’re left with a lot of organisations, a lot of good practise, a lot of learning and we’re left with the materials from the training days, useful pieces of information that have already inspired other organisations to take action. So that is really what this website is for. It’s a chance for people not involved in that process to find out more about it and to basically do the work themselves and to “get a plan”.'