Annual Review 2010/11

16 December 2011

'These are undoubtedly challenging and worrying times. The banking crisis, the recession, the riots of last summer, the ever-widening gap between rich and poor, cuts in public spending, and the rapid growth in youth unemployment.'

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'In our sector we are also seeing the increasing marginalisation of the arts in all aspects of education policy. To me, this makes little sense if our society, our economy and our city are to face future challenges, prosper and be happy. Anyone who spends any time with children and young people in a challenging creative environment knows that the arts are not only about creative expression - they also contribute to the raft of thinking and doing skills required to thrive in a complex world.

I am delighted to be the new chair of A New Direction, because I believe that all of us in the arts community have a responsibility not just to survive as organisations and to carry on as best we can in the face of adversity. We also need more than ever to make a real difference to the lives of children and young people and to ensure that they have ways of using their creativity to make London and our country a better place.

A New Direction's new role as a 'Bridge' is a major opportunity to support arts organisations in their work in schools and other settings, and to find new ways of describing the value of this work to a wider constituency. Advocacy and cheerleading on their own are not enough! I am also excited by A New Direction's potential to open up new relationships with London government, the creative industries, social entrepreneurs and others with a stake in the creativity of children and young people. A New Direction will have a key role making sense of the new complexity in London's education sector and bringing creative teachers and creative practitioners closer together in future provision. In a time where technology has created the expectation of more than just direct communication but also of interaction we need to hear and respond to the authentic voices of children and young people themselves.

I want to pay tribute to the extraordinary contribution of my predecessor as chair Nicola Baboneau who has worked closely with Steve Moffitt and the staff of A New Direction through its original role as part of Creativity, Culture and Education, its formation as an independent agency, and has put much in place for the next transition to a Bridge organisation in April 2012. Nicola's rare combination of passion and skill will be a very hard act to follow as Chair.

Finally, the staff and the board of A New Direction are a totally inspiring group of people, and I look forward to working with them in the coming period.'

John Kieffer, Chair of A New Direction

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