November 2007 Archives

Signing up 07.11.28 007aaa (106x73).jpg This evening (Wednesday 28 November 2007) saw another big step in establishing Liverpool Fringe! when the Fringe's six Trustees got together to sign papers formalising arrangements. With this step completed, we are well on our way to securing the support we need for 2008 events.

Meet the new Founding Trustees....

[L-R] Peter Worthington, Antony Mantova*, Dawn Stewart, Hilary Burrage*, Andrew Chambers and Bisakha Sanker:

Liverpool Fringe! Trustees Cafe Tabac signing 07.11.28 Peter Worthington, Anthony Mantova*, Dawn Stewart, Hilary Burrage*, Andrew Chambers, 007aaa (430x167).jpg Bisakha Sanker  4302  (68x168).jpg
[* Trustees until end of 2008]

For day-by-day information on events as they are confirmed, click here.

LightDisplay 91x118 007b.jpg Today is the beginning of a new era for community-led arts in Liverpool. The launch of Liverpool Fringe!, organised by the Liverpool Community Network Arts and Culture Steering Group, was a packed occasion, with artists and performers from across the city congregating in the Rex Makin Lecture Theatre to show their enthusiasm for this exciting grassroots festival initiative.

Not a seat in the Rex Makin Lecture Theatre of the Walker Art Gallery was unoccupied this afternoon, Wednesday 21 November 2007, for the first Liverpool Fringe! Open Meeting.

Keynote talk on the Edinburgh Fringe
The event, organised by Liverpool Charity and Voluntary Services (LCVS)'s Liverpool Community Network (LCN) Arts and Culture Network Steering Group, featured a keynote talk by Claire Daly of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Claire gave a fascinating account of how the Fringe in that great city has developed, and the opportunities and challenges of that growth.

Discussion groups
There was also much discussion in groups and between individuals, who were invited in a 'speed networking' session to find three people from different groups, and ask them to share ideas about how to progress. The buzz told us all we needed to know about the appetite to make Liverpool Fringe! work.

Next steps
Katie Beales, as the LCVS Arts and Culture Development Officer, had a huge hand alongside the Steering Group members in arranging this Fringe event; and now she has an equally big task ahead, working through all the ideas which participants have already submitted and this afternoon recorded on their questionnaires.

In the meantime, as Andrew Chambers of the Arts and Culture Steering Group reported, the new Trustees of Liverpool Fringe! will be meeting very soon to confirm dates and arrangements for 2008.
[Later: Confirmed as August.]

For day-by-day information on events as they are confirmed, click here.

Why not share your own enthusiasm about Liverpool Fringe! in the Comments box below? We look forward to hearing from you!

ToxtethIcon (83x102) 06.8-9 170c.jpg The Liverpool Fringe is now launched; and next we need a Logo!
The Fringe Trustees announced at the launch event today that we're looking for a logo that 'sums up everything that's best about Liverpool and about the Fringe'.
The design must be innovative and experimental but still work for different applications.

The icon above is not the logo we're looking for - your entry must be original for the Liverpool Fringe! - but perhaps it represents something of the spirit of our communities, displayed proudly by an unknown artist as it was above the boulevard in Toxteth's Princes Avenue.

Where and when?
Liverpool Fringe! Festival is inviting submissions for the logo competition by end of play on Friday 11 January 2008.

Ideas need to be sent by that date to the Fringe! Festival c/o
Katie Beales, Liverpool Community Network Arts and Culture Development Officer, at
Liverpool Community Network
14 Castle Street
Liverpool L2 0NJ.

The requirements
The logo should be innovative and experimental, but still readable. It must be original.

It will need to work on a small scale, simple enough to use on a T-shirt, coffee mug or stickers. Coloured logos are welcome, but it is essential that they also work just in black and white.

Submissions should ideally be jpeg or pdf although postal paper entries will also be considered.

The competition is open to all ages and multiple submissions may be made.

Each entry must be marked clearly with name, address and details.

What happens next?
The deadline is 11 January 2008 and the winner will be notified by the end of January.

The winner will be selected by a panel of Liverpool Fringe! Trustees and community representatives and may be approached to undertake further design work on behalf of the Fringe.

We look forward to receiving your ideas for the Liverpool Fringe! logo.....

For day-by-day information on events as they are confirmed, click here.

HOPES Banners (92x147) Millennium Festival.jpg Liverpool Community Network Arts and Culture Steering Group has been working to establish Liverpool Fringe! for many months; the idea first arose early in 2006. Here Katie Beales, the LCN's new Arts and Culture Development Officer, gives a brief rundown of what has been achieved by the Arts and Culture Steering Group so far.

Katie Beales LCVS  LCN Arts&Culture (168x167) 07.11.21 008aa.jpg Katie Beales of Liverpool Community Network writes:

The Liverpool Community Network Arts and Culture Network (for which I am now Development Officer) has been active in preparation for a Liverpool Fringe Festival for almost two years.

Work to achieve this aim has been undertaken by the LCN Arts and Culture Steering Group, in collaboration also with other officers of Liverpool Charity and Voluntary Services (LCVS) and LCN.

Milestones to date
The Arts and Culture Network Steering Group has:
- Set up a Fringe Working Group separate to the Network but accountable to it, to progress working towards the Fringe happening in Summer 08.
- Secured the Liverpool Fringe! website domains (as you see here).
- Applied for funding.
- Sent out a call to partners and had initial discussions with organisations such as BDE Dance Fringe, HOPES: The Hope Street Association and Liverpool Film Festival amongst others.
- Developed relationship with Edinburgh Fringe, and undertaken a planning trip to Edinburgh to visit Fringe staff team, and met with strategic people connected to the Edinburgh Fringe.
- In discussion with partners such as the North West Regional Assembly and the NW TUC, considered joint working to deliver the Fringe.
- Developed a good working relationship with the Liverpool Culture Company, who are supportive. (However, it should be noted that the Liverpool Fringe Festival are not approaching the Culture Company for financial backing in order to maintain the integrity of the festival as a fully ‘Fringe’ event.)

What we are looking for now
We welcome all individuals or groups who are interested in being involved! And by all we mean all!

You may have a play you want to see performed in the city next year, or a venue which you would like to be filled with an arts event… you may be a business or media group looking to offer sponsorship financially or in kind… We particularly want to hear from people who are interested in doing something really creative and exciting in our City.

To get involved, please contact us:

Fringe hotline ~ 07528 295012

Email ~ Liverpool Fringe! Festival

LCN Arts & Culture Steering Group (139x308) 07.02.22 4302.jpg
LCN Arts & Culture Steering Group  (93x164) 07.02.22 4304a.jpg

Inspiration light 74x112 4860aa.jpg Liverpool Fringe! is about ‘Celebrating People Celebrating Culture’. Intentionally and fundamentally grassroots, it arose from an idea by community-based artists who themselves live in the city. Liverpool Fringe!'s mode will be festive, but its underlying vision is serious: to engage and develop local people's creative talent.

The inaugural Liverpool Fringe! will take place in the Summer of 2008. The Fringe will particularly encourage grassroots, community and voluntary, arts organisations to be fully involved in both the planning and delivery of an exciting, dynamic and innovative festival. It has arisen from ideas developed by the Liverpool Community Network Arts and Culture Network Steering Group.

Liverpool Fringe! will focus on extending the access to and participation with arts and cultural activities within communities at a local level, and aims to make a demonstrable impact on increasing the skill and confidence of smaller organisations.

Structuring Liverpool Fringe
The Arts and Culture Network have discussed at length a structural model for a Liverpool Fringe that facilitates these aims and have decided to replicate elements of the Edinburgh Fringe model; i.e. existing as an umbrella for a large number of different organisations cultural activities. The structure will be designed to benefit as many organisations as possible with effective PR, marketing and information.

Liverpool Fringe! will not be a programming or funding body but rather set up as a shared-risk venture (as Edinburgh Fringe is) in partnership with the artists, community and arts organisations participating, in order to facilitate maximum community and voluntary sector involvement.

Community involvement is core
We believe the Liverpool Fringe! festival is essential because many community, voluntary & grass-roots organisations represented by the Network desire to participate in their own unique ways in the City's celebrations in 2008 and beyond.

There is a real need for people within Liverpool to feel a part of something in 2008. Liverpool Fringe! will provide an avenue for local residents to contribute to 2008 whilst many of the ‘main events’ may not capture some of the smaller (and larger) community group actions.

Objectives of the Fringe
- Celebrate real people and real experiences
- Inclusive in the widest sense
- Provide a platform for diverse art forms
- Of Liverpool for the world
- Promoting the local, regionally, nationally and internationally
- Pride in Liverpool and it’s achievements past and present
- Bringing different communities together
- Appreciating cultural diversity, and valuing creativity

Festive atmosphere; serious purpose
The Fringe will have a festival atmosphere – with multi-disciplinary events (both large and small) having the opportunity to be showcased and promoted to a wider audience. It will promote culture and diversity as a regional asset, highlighting the benefits that this sort of program can have in developing the economy and building ‘Social Capital’.

However the main focus will be engaging, promoting and supporting the wealth of creative talent in Liverpool.

LCN Arts and Culture Network involvement
There are advantages in the Arts and Culture Network working to facilitate the Liverpool Fringe:

1. The Network is an inclusive, accountable and transparent body.

2. It has a diverse membership and can bring many different thematic and geographic partners to the table, through relationships with the wider Liverpool Community Network, Liverpool First and other strategic bodies such as the Police.

3. Liverpool Arts & Culture Network is a not-for-profit group; all representatives put their time in free of charge which means money spent on the festival, goes on the festival!

cheery fiddler 100x110.jpg This is the original website of Liverpool Fringe!, which was formally launched on 21st November 2007.
The website carries News, Views and information about Liverpool Fringe Events, as well as Fringe! backstories.

For day-by-day information on events as they are confirmed, click here.

You can find more back-stories on the links below

Liverpool Fringe Events

Liverpool Fringe News

Liverpool Fringe: The Formals

Then, when you've read the Fringe! news, please do post your ideas and views in the (moderated) Comments box below each piece.

To read more please click on the links as indicated (e.g. Liverpool Fringe News).

Meandering route 328a 113x99.jpg Evidence-based policy is central to much contemporary governmental thinking. But how the different phases of policy delivery can best engage 'real people' is not always clear. This is true whether the intended policy concerns health, the knowledge economy, or even global sustainability. There is still much to be done in understanding human agency and interaction in policy development and delivery.

In many aspects of public policy, from health through life-long learning and the economy to global sustainability, it is not simply the science or knowledge base which is important. Of equal, or sometimes greater, importance is an understanding of how to apply the established evidence which informs policy.

Phases in public policy development
There are, or should be, a number of phases in developing public policy.

The first phase is to derive as much consensus as possible about the necessary evidence base (both scientific and contextual) and the second is to consider how this 'translates' - an exercise which is currently being taken forward overtly by the government in relation to scientific knowledge, industry and business.

Securing public agreement or at least encouraging constructive and informed public debate is another phase which must run alongside these first two phases.

This 'third' phase is at risk when the established modes of policy development continue.

Public debate
The government has now gone some way to seek proper public debate on issues around science, technology, health and so forth. It is not as yet clear however that the corollary of this emphasis has been absorbed by the wider knowledge-related industries or even by some whose task is to deliver policy for real.

We all know that fundamental research and the intricacies of, say, applied medical knowledge are critical for the future. What is less well understood is that there remain huge gaps in our understandings of how such knowledge becomes operational in the real world.

People are what makes things happen. How they do so, in the contexts of such enormous challenges as global warming, the diseases of contemporary societies and the rapidly changing communities we all live in, has yet to be made clear.

Making things happen depends on people
Despite all our problems, many of us in the western world live in the best conditions human beings have ever known. Ensuring this continues and is shared even more widely is very largely a task for policy makers informed by a social rather than natural scientific knowledge base.

Fundamental science certainly needs to remain at the centre of knowledge creation; but, whether in health, industry or the environment, it must be matched by an equally well researched knowledge of the social world, if there is to be any real hope of public policies to sustain all our futures.

Ian Pearson (Minister for Science) & Tom McKillop (Science Council) 07.11.07 97x108.jpg The Science Council's first Sir Gareth Roberts Science Policy Lecture on 6th November 2007 was an excellent opportunity to learn the views of Ian Pearson MP, Minister of State for Science and Innovation. Much of the Minister's speech concerned science and society, and the enormous challenges that scientists and the wider community must now confront.

The inaugural Sir Gareth Roberts Lecture, delivered on the same day as the Queen's Speech to Parliament, was our first opportunity to hear in any detail how science policy will be developed under Ian Pearson, the new Minister for Science. The Minister, whose portfolio lies in the Department for Innovation, Universities and Science (DIUS), took three broad themes for his address:

* STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills - what expertise will be required from whom in taking science forward;
* Science and society - public understanding, engagement, enthusing young people about science; and
* How multi-disciplinary science can serve the UK and the world.

Unsurprisingly, these themes have many interconnections.

STEM skills
It's now widely accepted that there must be involvement in science from as wide a range of people as possible. This was spelt out in Sir Gareth Robert's 2003 review, SET for Success.

Sir Gareth's recommendations, all accepted and now again endorsed by the Government, included providing additional resources for schools, universities and research bodies, and the promotion of school-business links. The review led to an increase in the stipend paid to PhD students, and initiatives to encourage women and young people to consider a career in science.

To this the Minister now added a renewed emphasis on the global context and on the national initiative, STEMNET, which is currently on course to achieve its 18,000th Science and Engineering Ambassador, drawing one million children into the STEM agenda.

Science and society
The last twenty years having seen a revolution in e-technologies, Ian Pearson suggested, the next twenty will see vast changes in the bio-sciences. And in these transitions ethical and other social issues will come even more to the fore. This is why the work of Sir David King, Government Chief Scientist, on the Universal Ethical Code for Scientists is so important.

'Scientists may have discovered [the science],' said the Minister, 'but they cannot operate in a vacuum. They are part of the society in which they and the outcomes of their research operate. We need to engage at an early stage with our publics and we need to recognise that there will be valid concerns and genuine ethical dilemmas in certain areas of research.'

To date, he suggested, the record on public engagement is 'checkered'. Whilst nuclear energy and genetic modification, for instance, have 'not been handled well', engagement with the public in the UK on stem cell research and nanotechnology has been more positive.

In today's 'citizen-centric' world the value of public-science two way communication is, we were told, vital. This is why the Beacons for Public Engagement programme of university-based centres to help 'support, recognise, reward and build capacity for public engagement work' will be launched in January.

'Refreshing the Vision and Strategy' was Ian Pearson's theme. He referred to the ten year Science and Innovation Investment Framework to 2014 in the context of strong and effective external communication of science. Taking this forward, a mapping exercise has just been completed to identify the work being undertaken under the 'science and society' banner.

The Minister's aim, he told us, was to achieve 'A Society that is excited about science, values its importance to our economic and social well-being, feels confident in its use, and supports a representative, well-qualified scientific workforce.'

Facing challenges in the UK and globally
Ian Pearson's final theme concerned the growing importance of cross-disciplinary research. Researchers no longer work within 'silos' in their narrow fields, needing rather to collaborate across disciplinary boundaries. This kind of work is encouraged by initiatives such as the Medical Research Council's Discipline Hopping Grants.

Such an approach combines theory, computer modelling and experimental science and can be used to tackle issues as diverse as energy, living with environmental change, global security, ageing, nanoscience and the digital economy. It is about bringing together the insights of scientists natural and social across the spectrum of human experience.

In launching the debate, the Minister told us, he sought to open up the Government's policy making process to the wider scientific community. This is surely a call to engagement which many will warmly welcome.

London cranes 3924   109x115.jpg The renewal of King's Cross - St Pancras and all that surrounds it is long overdue, but it looks to be a spectaclar project worth the wait. The final moves to achieve success in terms of the local community will however require those who should, to put their heads above the parapet so that everything comes together to make the best possible result. This project will 'work' for everyone as long as people really try to collaborate to get it right.

Having travelled on the bus past King's Cross - St. Pancras on very many occasions, I can only say my heart lifted when, at last, evidence of its renaissance began to materialise.

Community links and challenges
It's surely a unique and exciting challenge to put together a project as enormous and impactful as this. The project hits many buttons - strategic place, infrastructure, heritage, economic benefit; we could go on... King's Cross is in anyone's books a very spectacular and special piece of real estate.

Of course there's still a possibility that King's Cross will somehow miss on that vital community connection; but only if people on all sides of the equation let it. This is where civic and corporate leadership have such a critical part to play, right from day one.

Different from, say, Canary Wharf?
Given the common emphasis on transport hubs, there have been comparisons, but Canary Wharf is different. Just for a start, Canary Wharf is not at the heart of what's to become the most important international 'green' hub connecting the UK and mainland Europe, and for another thing the Wharf is a glass and concrete creation with not too much reference to a long and glorious heritage.

King's Cross is a genuine opportunity to build on a very high profile USP with enormous promise for all stakeholders.

Doubters and objectors
There are always people who oppose what's happening. The financial and other costs of the debate with them may well be high, but in the end everyone has to be heard for progress to be made in a well-founded way. The line must be drawn somewhere, but the views of those with reservations are valuable because they help to pinpoint potential hazards further down that line.

But it's up to everyone to make sure that in the end King's Cross really works. This is a programme with serious commonality of interest between developers, the wider economic infrastructure and real people on whom the project impacts day by day.

Delivering success
Having seen examples elsewhere of exiting programmes based with various degrees of success in challenging locations, I'd say everyone, but everyone, involved has to ask, what more might I need to be doing to make King's Cross fulfil its whole potential?

Of all the 'Rules of Regeneration', the first rule here must be: listen, seek to understand and where possible accommodate all stakeholders. And the second rule is, always remember someone has to be brave and take the lead, accountably and visibly.

Realistically forward-facing
This is not a time for pursuing plans regardless or for heads-in-the-sand-style denial of problems; but nor, most certainly, is it a time for standing back. King's Cross is an
I watch from my bus as things come together week by week and I wish all involved the very best.

A version of this article was published on the New Start blog of 8 November 2007.

Music & bills 065a 99x138.jpg Professional orchestra musicians' employment and pay is a mystery to most people. Do players have 'real' jobs, too? is a common question. And is it all very glamorous? The latest survey of orchestral pay in the UK gives some answers - not much glamour, not too much pay, and little time for anything else. But for many players the commitment remains.

The Musicians' Union has recently published their second annual report on Orchestral Pay in the U.K. Leaving aside the self-governing London orchestras, the BBC Symphony and other BBC orchestras, English National Opera (ENO) orchestra and the Royal Opera House (ROH) orchestra (all of which, with London weightings, do somewhat - though only comparatively - better), the M.U. report, as we shall see from the details below, makes pretty dismal reading.

Who are the musicians?
Almost every established player in the major regional orchestras is a permanent staff member (London is different). These 'chairs' are coveted positions amongst performers, who are usually graduates from the most prestigious music colleges and / or the top music conservatoires.

Musicians supply their own instruments and equipment for work, the initial costs of which can amount to more than an annual salary.

The 'regional' orchestras
Orchestras outside London surveyed by the M.U. in August 2007 were: the regional BBC orchestras, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO), the City of Birmingham Orchestra (CBSO), Manchester's Halle Orchestra, the Opera North Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (RLPO), the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO), Scottish Opera, the Ulster Orchestra and Welsh National Opera (WNO).

The fortunes of these orchestras fluctuate quite widely over the years, especially since the standardised regional orchestras contract for the BSO, CBSO, Halle, RLPO and RSNO was abandoned. All are dependent on civic support as well as national. [See The Association of British Orchestras for general information about these orchestras.]

Orchestral salary scales
Orchestras generally divide their players up into 'Section Principals' and 'Principals' (who sit at the front of their instrumental section) and 'Tutti' (formerly called 'Rank & File'!). The M.U. estimates there are approximately 600 fully professional string players employed by British orchestras - which means about one in every 100,000 of the UK population has this occupation.

With a few exceptions, string players (violins, violas, cellos, basses) are the only Tutti musicians, and they make up the larger part of most orchestras.

Who gets paid what?
Concentrating on the regional orchestras, we see a variation of minimum salary in August 2007 as follows:

Section Principals: BBC Regional ~ hourly playing rate of £24.22 (£32,118 p.a.) through to CBSO ~ £33.09 (£45,205 p.a.).

Principals: RLPO ~ £21.44 (£28,298 p.a.) through to CBSO ~ £28.49 (£33,159 p.a.).

Tutti: RLPO ~ £18.20 (£24,024 p.a.) through to CBSO ~ £22.43 (£27,348 p.a.).

In some cases there are increments and / or long service awards which take experienced players above these levels, but these additional sums, usually only a very few thousand per annum, rarely raise salaries significantly above the starting point. Likewise, some, but not all, orchestras pay musicians an additional fee for recordings, media relays etc. [Some details of comparable orchestral salaries in the USA are available here.]

Comparison with other UK salaries
To set these figures in context:
* The average wage in 2007 for all full-time workers across the UK is £29,999 p.a.; or £27,630 specifically for Liverpool.

* The average salary of professionals in IT, an occupation which perhaps begins to approach comparable levels of skill to orchestral musicians (though there are many fewer performers) is £37,000 p.a.

* For graduates overall, an average additional £10,000 p.a. has accrued to their income after ten years' service; this annual income will then continue to increase for another ten or twenty years.

Back of an envelope calculations using these comparative data perhaps suggest that over a lifetime orchestral musicians will receive approximately half the income of other professionals at comparative levels of skill.

Annual orchestral performing and other work arrangements
The regional orchestras vary in the number of annual playing 'on stage' hours they demand from their musicians. Of the orchestras above (not including the BBC orchestras, at 1,326 hours each, and ENO (874 hours) or ROH (860 hours)) the fewest performing hours are required of musicians in the opera orchestras (1,128 each) and the most by the RLPO (1,320).

How these hours are distributed is laid down in detailed contracts. For health reasons, such as risk of hearing loss and repetitive strain injury, players rarely play on the platform for over 6 hours per day. (They may well practise for more than that.) Scheduled 'unsocial 'hours - Sundays, Bank Holidays, and very early or late - and other erratic scheduling, with the attendant risks to wellbeing and mental health - are normally paid at the same rate as other hours.

Stress at work is seen as part of the job. There are also travelling hours etc which may add some 30-40% in time commitment - even though much time away from home is still 'free' in every sense of the word; neither paid nor, obviously, available for, say, teaching or other alternative opportunities for income.

Not a professional wage?
Most people who attend classical concerts see well-dressed and self-evidently skilled musicians and assume from this that orchestral incomes will be to some extent commensurate with appearances.

The truth is different. Many musicians, even at this level and with years of experience, barely scrape a living, often working almost every day for weeks to make ends meet. Relatively few within the profession achieve comfortable incomes and the view that orchestral playing is not a 'real' profession, with eventual progression and hope of greater reward, is widespread amongst foot soldiers at least - large numbers of whom, a previous M.U. survey has revealed, also incur occupationally induced ill-health or injury.

Artistic development
Sadly, players' negative perceptions are reinforced by an absence of continuing professional development in their core skill, i.e. instrumental performance.

Players can often work for decades without receiving support as artists, or to maintain and develop their instrumental technique, let alone the money to pay very costly professional coaching fees. Artistic human resource investment is not high on (or simply missing altogether from) the priority list for most orchestra budgets.

Skills and experience lost
U.K. orchestras are becoming younger in age profile. The salary figures above offer an insight into why experience is frequently lost, as players leave mid-career for other ways to support their families or preferred lifestyle.

Youth and vigour are wonderful to behold; but knowledge, insight and long-term commitment would in a more ideal world also be valued.

Music not money
Fortunately, for many musicians and their audiences the imperative towards the extraordinary inner world of classical music continues to bring them together even against the rationale of external economics.

But it would be risky to permit the future for UK orchestras to depend on this inner imperative.

Read more articles in Music, Musicians & Orchestras

Life In A Professional Orchestra: A Sustainable Career?

The Healthy Orchestra Challenge

Musicians in Many Guises

Where's The Classical Music In The Summer? An Idea...

British Orchestras On The Brink.....Again

Sefton Park Beeches Autumn 06.11.03 1915a (91x122).jpg Liverpool's Sefton Park, part of a once sprawling Royal Park, is the 187 acre lung of the city's historic Toxteth, Aigburth and adjacent areas. The designers Edouard Andre and Louis Hornblower, commissioned by some of the city's Victorian philanthropists, worked between 1867 and 1872 to bring enduring tranquility and beauty to the people of Liverpool.

Sefton Park Beeches in Autumn 06.11.03 1916a (486x365).jpg

See also Sefton Park, Liverpool or click here for more historical background to Sefton Park.