Saturday 8th December 6pm YSJ Spark Community Theatre

Let’s talk about live arts in York...
It’s not you, it’s not me, it’s us, and it’s about time we took some time out to discuss the state of the creative industries in this city. What are we getting absolutely right, what’s happening under the radar, what could we be doing better and how can we do more to promote this city and its kaleidoscopic cohort of brilliant native creative people?

SLAPchat is an event working to facilitate a dialogue between artists, venues, companies and creatives working and based in the Yorkshire region. Whether you’re a performer, a promoter, a journalist, a gallerist, curator, arts lover, production worker or just about anything else, we’d like to invite you along to SLAPchat, a live arts and creative industries forum event that’s taking place at the YSJ SPARK community theatre on the evening of December the 8th.

We hope that the event will provide creative people from York and the surrounding areas with an opportunity to meet and discuss pressing issues within the current artistic scene, and to offer advice to those freshly embarking upon or considering a career in the arts.

We’re not here to create a manifesto, a clique or even a network. This is about freely exchanging ideas in the hope that we can learn something valuable to the future of our own endeavours and to the culture of York as a whole.

All of the topics that we spoke about on the evening were suggested by the attendees. Throughout the evening we split into groups so that everyone had a chance to talk about what is important to them.

Notes from conversations:

Is there a spreadsheet? Is it more practical to have a list of what’s available across the city?
Influences can get venues 
How do you find new spaces? 
Can we share space as a creative community?
Venues/shops/spaces closing down all the time- can we find a way to access them? Empty spaces means reduced bills
East Street Arts Organisation (rents unused spaces to artists/small businesses)
Some ‘work’ can happen ANYWHERE. 
Pop up temporary structures
York Open studios- (Gallery spaces sometimes using peoples houses) 
York has a lot of churches (sometimes means no alcohol allowed) 
Look at what spaces festivals in the city use
LISTS TO MAKE- Venue spaces/ co-working spaces/ café spaces/ accessibility information/ indi York network and event listings.

What does ‘Fully accessible’ actually mean?- perhaps it can’t be done? 
Is it expected that unless stated- it will not be accessible?
Accessibility shouldn’t be an ‘add on’ but implemented from the ground up 
Contacting other regional groups
York student network has a database- are the documents up to date? A shared resource for all
BSL or Captioning- depending on specific need 
More relaxed performances?
Being clear/ clear descriptions
Steps/stairs- is it one step? Multiple steps?- depends on specific needs 
Bing aware of sensory overload potential/ content warnings 
Staff training or having people on board who have training 
Let people contact you for more information, in multiple ways.

Building a community- encourage York to be a safe space to take risks
Season Ticket- discount cross events 
Artist development- Funding/mentoring
Pairing groups with similar interests 
Facilitating conversations- Vlogs/blogs/podcasts/meetups/events
‘Indie York’ Style- cross promotion 
York City website- Volunteers/resources/events/venues/workspace

What is a night out? What nights work best to stage events? Does payday/specific times of the month factor in? 
Quality vs London ( huge amounts of things happening on any given night)
York isn’t big enough to have similar events/festivals etc happening 
Arts fatigue for audiences and artists
Finding slots for the content
Complex ecology 
Massive amount of festivals happening across the city- where are the planning meetings etc to be part of the conversations? 
Audiences- do we know our audiences? Certain language distances and alienates the public
Visibility and profile

Doing work that you believe in!
Getting a seat at the table
“Proving yourself”
Online resources for- Invoicing/GDPR/policy/administration support 
Be nice to people!
Find moments to be creative 
Work overload and saying NO!
Knowing your worth
The line between competitiveness and healthy competition 
Feeling like a lone ranger- opportunities to co-work/’souping’/productivity

Age demographics 
What audiences want to pay for might not be what ground level artists want to produce 
Cultural fragmentation 
More models than fixed ticket prices
Are we lumping all market segments together when we talk about cultural production?
Does pay what you feel work? Anonymity 
Further conversations with the York

The story of York- fighting the history/heritage bias
Student/Resident divide 
External marketing 
Cost/venue/audience size
Pairing groups- Mentors?
Creating a hub/source of information- (events/list of available spaces and venues/equipment/billboards) Curator responsible to update.

Awards For All
Ticket prices
‘Pay what you feel’/ ‘Pay what you can’ (models for ticket pricing )
Using venues outside of the city walls- Unusual venues/accessible venues/familiar venues- brings with it own ‘audience’ 
Taking your work/art to the people and making it happen. 
Community interests 
Stop recreating what’s already happening, what’s your niche? Unique selling point? 
Who is your audience? 
Sponsorship from venues
Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Lydia Cottrell