What Next? is a movement bringing together arts and cultural organisations from across the UK, to articulate and strengthen the role of culture in our society.
The inaugural ‘What’s Next?’ Derby Chapter meeting was held on the morning of 14th May 2015. What next Derby is chaired by Sarah Brigham (Derby Theatre) and Adam Buss (QUAD) and this first meeting was arranged through discussion with Stephen Munn (Deda) and Tony Butler (Derby Museums).
It’s role within Derby is still being shaped. The first meeting was held as a round-table discussion, The aim, to see who, and what, could be brought to the chapter in terms of experience and diversity to represent arts and culture within Derby.
The meeting was attended by organisers of other ‘What’s Next?’ chapters from Southwark and Brighton, a standard that allows “the experiences and and the aims and ideas of the movement to be expressed to colleagues new to the idea.”
The basic premise of any ‘What’s Next?’ chapter is to talk about people’s experiences of culture and the creative industries, whatever sector they may be. ‘What’s Next?’ aims to be a collective voice for culture. To build trust, build voice and debate vision.
The vision is political, but not in support of any one party. Rather to put the agenda of culture and arts centrally across all parties’ political manifestos. This has been reflected in the conversations between the London Chapter and MPs representing all parties, across culture, education and communities, at both local and national levels. ‘What’s Next?’ lobby, instead of campaigning. It is aligned with the Arts Council, but still distinctive and separate. Culture requires a number of different voices speaking in harmony, but still apart, ensuring strength and diversity.
At a national level, chapter explore the vision of arts and culture within the own locality. Chapter organisers convene at a quarterly National Conference to discuss and align issues.
What Next? is a movement, not an organisation or campaign. There is no central leadership structure and it is run primarily on a voluntary basis. You can get involved with What Next? by joining a local chapter.
The ‘What’s Next?’ Derby Chapter was created to specifically explore what direction and importance culture and the arts will be given by the different parties at local government level. The vision is to achieve this by “working together to strengthen the role of culture in our society,” and “engaging people outside out comfort zone.” (Tony Butler and Sarah Brigham).
Initially meetings hope to be fortnightly, with the time varying to allow different people to attend. The meetings are open, with no commitment required. Attendance is for anyone working or simply interested in arts and culture within Derby.
The vision is to connect and create a cultural infrastructure; engaging with local communities and building accessibility. Derby’s ‘What’s Next?’ hope to reflect the reality of our city’s model of diversity, rather than a white middle-class cross-section. To bring together different stratas of the cultural ecology and different politicised groups, who may be opposed in the ballot box, but still share the same common interest in the arts and culture.