AHA-MK seeks a Programme & Partnership Manager

Come and work with the Arts and Heritage Alliance Milton Keynes and make an impact on the creative and cultural landscape of MK.  We are looking for a Programme and Partnership Manager to support our Alliance of 40 members and to lead on two important projects for the city: Cultural Equality, Inclusion and Diversity; and the next stage of our Milton Keynes Cultural Education Partnership under its new brand name MAKE.

We are looking for a self-starter who will also enjoy working in partnership with our members from the arts and heritage sector, with the Chair, Treasurer and trustees, and with wider stakeholders across MK and our region; someone with a passion for culture who is a good communicator, and a good deliverer. Could this be you?

For the full information and details of how to apply please see the Job Description below.  This is a flexible freelance contract based on 22.5 hours a week at a rate of £23 per hour.

Please email the Chair on chair@aha-mk.org if you have any questions.

You, Me, Together. Arts initiative gets pupils in MK Schools talking about mental health and wellbeing

“The way I know mental health, is when people have big barriers in front of them and they can’t get through it”

In a survey of 338 Schools in 2016, 55% had experience a large increase in cases of stress and anxiety amongst young people. In an evolving initiative to understand and support young people’s mental health and wellbeing, Milton Keynes Council Public Health and NHS Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) created an innovative project called You, Me, Together, supported with investment from Artswork, the South East Bridge, and delivered in partnership with the MK Cultural Education Partnership (led by Arts & Heritage Alliance Milton Keynes).

The creative learning charity, Artis, worked with 150 young people and children in four Milton Keynes schools. The aim of this project was to gain a better understanding of how children and young people in MK perceived mental health, to get them to understand and identify mental health and wellbeing in others (you), in themselves (me), and to support each other (together).

Jill Wilkinson, Director of Health and Social Care Integration at NHS Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group and Chair of the Children and Young Peoples Mental Health and Wellbeing Transformation Programme said: “Our commitment to the mental health and wellbeing of the children and young people in Milton Keynes is one of the key aims of the CCG. We commissioned the You, Me, Together film as we were keen to hear from the voices of children on whose behalf we commission mental health services. We have continued to invest in child and adolescent mental health services and to work across the whole system to improve their overall experience.”
Muriel Scott, Director of Public Health at MK Council said: “To learn more about how young people and children understand mental health and wellbeing, we needed to ask the experts –the young people themselves. This project not only helped schools engage with what mental health and wellbeing is and why it’s so important to talk about it, but it also gave us a great insight into how young people perceive it and express it. I’m incredibly proud of how well the project worked and I’m confident it’ll help us to help the young people and children in MK.”

A film about the project was created to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing in young people, what it means to them and to open up a conversation. What is mental health and wellbeing and what can we all do to improve things?

Children in ten of our primary schools benefit from an exciting cultural programme working with artists

The Arts and Heritage Alliance Milton Keynes (AHA-MK), with its 39 member organisations, has formed a Cultural Education Partnership (MKCEP) for Milton Keynes. MK Council departments, cultural organisations, artists, schools and MK College are working together to enrich the lives of our children and young people in Milton Keynes, with increased opportunities for innovative, high quality creative learning.

We are delighted to launch a new exciting programme for MK primary schools exploring Place-making – what does this mean for children?  This is funded by Artswork, the South East Bridge, a regional charity who believe in empowering young people through arts and culture, and by Milton Keynes Community Foundation, who support transformational projects.

Chair of AHA-MK Francesca Skelton:

We are delighted that our funders Artswork and MK Community Foundation are investing in the future of our Milton Keynes children and that schools have embraced this opportunity to work with arts organisations to build the children’s understanding of their home town in such a creative way as they gain important skills.

Three hundred Key Stage 1 & 2 pupils from across the ten chosen schools will take part in inspiring creative sessions, developing creative and social skills, increased confidence, wellbeing and motivation.  Sessions will explore a range of art forms, from contemporary dance to visual art. All participating children have the chance to achieve their Arts Award Discover or Explore, a scheme accredited by Trinity College London.  An embedded teacher development programme, facilitated by action research organisation 5x5x5=creativity, will inspire and support schools to develop cross curricular links and nurture children’s creativity throughout the project and beyond.

Each school’s participation in the project will support their achievement of Artsmark, Arts Council England’s creative quality standard for schools, ensuring that hundreds more pupils continue to benefit from access to high quality creative learning in school.

AHA-MK member, MK Gallery’s Learning Manager, Tara Page is managing this project:

Access to the arts can support learning in all subject areas; pave the way for exciting and worthwhile career paths; and engage and bring joy to the most vulnerable of learners. MK Gallery is thrilled to support the development of partnerships between schools and arts organisations in Milton Keynes. During times of increasing adversity, it becomes more and more important to utilise the power of partnership working to ensure sustainable access to high quality creative learning for children and young people.

From an open-call advertising the opportunity to all Milton Keynes primary schools, we have selected the following ten schools to participate in the project: Bishop Parker Catholic Primary; Caroline Haslett Primary; Holne Chase Primary; Long Meadow Primary; Middleton Primary; Romans Field Primary; St. Monica’s Catholic Primary; St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Primary; Summerfield Primary and Willen Primary.  Each school has been partnered with one of five MK-based arts and cultural organisations: Inter-Action MK; MÓTUS; Milton Keynes Arts Centre; Pagrav Dance; and Will We Be.

 

 

 

 

Pedalling Culture Community Engagement Commissions

We are pleased to present a commissioning opportunity open to artists, practitioners and cultural organisations.  The commissions, part of the Pedalling Culture project, are for arts activities/interventions during Summer 2018, which encourage greater engagement with the Redways of Milton Keynes.  We are looking for projects that will encourage citizens and visitors to take part in active exploration of the Redway network, its environment and the cultural venues and sites that the network links to.

Pedalling Culture is a 2-year funded programme running from April 2017-April 2019.  The project is led by a consortium of cultural organisations: Arts and Heritage Alliance, Bletchley Park, Destination MK, MK Council, MK Gallery and MK City Centre Management.  The first phase of Pedalling Culture has focused on improving and building infrastructure, including increasing the number of electric vehicle charge points at cultural venues and improving wayfinding and signage to cultural venues on the Redways.

The second phase of this project is community engagement – encouraging people to make use of the Redways, better understand the combined walking and cycling network, and to use it to find their way to cultural venues across the city.  To do this we are commissioning a programme of walking and cycle based events that use interactive arts activity to engage local residents and people working in Milton Keynes, as well as attracting visitors to Milton Keynes.

Please see the Pedalling Culture Commissioning Brief Final for full information.  Deadline for applications is 7th March 2018.

The Arts and Heritage Alliance are managing this commissioning opportunity in partnership with the Pedalling Culture project, funded by Arts Council England through the Cultural Destinations Fund.

The Value of Culture to Milton Keynes

Each year we collect data from our members to show the impact of arts and heritage in Milton Keynes.  This year the combined impact of our members is:

To see the full Annual Report 2016-17 click here: AHA-MK Annual Report 2016-17

Our Annual Report collates data from our members and presents it in a one-page summary that we disseminate to our members and Trustees, as well as to Councillors, funding bodies, stakeholders and businesses – spreading the word about the great work our members deliver. By collaborating in this way, our members are able to demonstrate impact much more effectively than they can on their own.

Photo Courtesy of Milton Keynes Arts Centre

Statement from the 5 cities bidding to be European Capital of Culture 2023

The Arts and Heritage Alliance Milton Keynes received the below statement relating to the decision to withdraw the UK European Capital of Culture competition:

On Tuesday we met with representatives of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport including John Glen MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Arts, Heritage and Tourism. We met to discuss the letter sent last week to the UK Government by the European Commission stating that the participation of the UK in the European Capital of Culture in 2023 will not be possible.

Firstly we want to acknowledge the huge and passionate support we have all received locally, nationally and internationally since the receipt of this letter. In particular we appreciate the support from previous and future European Capitals of Culture, and from members of the independent judging panel which itself had expected to be interviewing our teams this week as part of the formal shortlisting process.

It is further evidence of the power of arts and culture to bring the peoples of Europe closer together. The five cities were united in their desire to find solutions which will enable them to realise their cultural ambitions and further develop their cultural integration with people across Europe.

The meeting with DCMS was positive and we were encouraged by their commitment to try and resolve this issue with the European Commission and agree a clear way forward for the cities involved.

We urged the Department to continue its negotiations with the European Commission on the legitimacy of its latest decision. In particular we wish to highlight that the announcement by the European Commission counters a very recent decision of the European Parliament in June 2017 and of the Council in September 2017 which includes a calendar confirming the UK as the host country in 2023.  In addition we are seeking clarity given that the United Kingdom has not yet left the EU and the terms of that departure are not yet agreed.

We have collectively therefore requested that DCMS takes further advice on the legal status of the announcement as a matter of urgency.

The meeting also allowed us to consider jointly how we ensure the local energy, enthusiasm and work done by our cities and partners to date can be positively harnessed and recognised even if the Commission maintains its position.   This sudden change of heart has the potential to disrupt well over 100 cultural collaborations across the continent which bidding cities have been developing in good faith.

We all recognise the urgent need to reach a conclusion in a timescale that allows us to harness the momentum in our cities.  Therefore intensive and constructive discussions will continue over the coming weeks.

Councillor Deirdre Hargey, chairperson, Belfast City Council Strategic Policy & Resources Commt.

Councillor, John Alexander Leader of the Administration, Dundee City Council

Stewart Murdoch, Chair of the Dundee bid team

Councillor Judith Blake CBE, Leader of Leeds City Council

Sharon Watson, Chair, Leeds2023 Independent Steering Group

Councillor Peter Marland, Leader of Milton Keynes Council

Councillor Jon Collins, Leader of Nottingham City Council

Paul Russ, Chair Nottingham 2023

 

AHA-MK Trustee Board Member Role

A vibrant cultural offer lies at the heart of successful cities today. With Milton Keynes as one of the fastest growing cities in the UK and now bidding for European Capital of Culture 2023, the need for cultural guardianship within the city has never been greater. To fulfil this need, The Arts & Heritage Alliance Milton Keynes (AHA-MK) is seeking new Trustee Board members who share the organisation’s cultural ambitions for Milton Keynes.

AHA-MK seeks individuals, who are passionate about arts and heritage, to support our growing membership organisation in its remit to champion the rich heritage and the creative future of Milton Keynes.

Formed in 2003, AHA-MK has developed significantly in size and scope since its early days into a strategic forum with 38 member organisations. In 2014, we registered as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Our members are all contributing to the vibrant cultural landscape of Milton Keynes and actively engage with AHA-MK activity through meetings, continuing professional development and collaborative projects.

For the full role description and details of how to express your interest, please download the AHA-MK Trustee Job Description.

Deadline for expressions of interest: 30th October 2017.

 

Summer fun with a new free smartphone app created especially for MK – Discovering MK

Discovering MK is a new smartphone app launching on 31st July 2017. Celebrating MK’s 50th birthday year, the app encourages residents and visitors to get out and explore Milton Keynes, discovering the places and spaces that make this city unique.

Inspired by the Pokémon Go craze, the Discovering MK app reveals an interactive trail of 50 hidden gems around the city.  At each location along the trail, you can unlock information about the landmark, challenge yourself, your family and friends to a fun mini quiz and upload a ‘selfie’ to show you are there.  With a range of competitions and prize draws through the year, we hope you join in and share your selfies on social media.

Developed by Arts & Heritage Alliance MK (AHA-MK) and MK21, the free app, available via Google Play and Apple Store, commemorates Milton Keynes 50th Anniversary and celebrates this unique and diverse city.

We have been able to produce this app for free due to the support of various funders.  This includes a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Sharing Heritage grant, awarded to AHA-MK.  This exciting project, Discovering MK, created especially for Milton Keynes has been given £9,000 to develop this app with a cohort of volunteers, to showcase the heritage and landmarks of the city.  AHA-MK thanks National Lottery players, who make HLF grants possible.  Milton Keynes Community Foundation, MK Council and Santander Cycles have also supported the project generously.

Francesca Skelton, Chair of AHA-MK said:

We are delighted to launch this exciting new app inviting residents, families and visitors to share our Discovering MK adventure this summer.  The app features both known, and more hidden, modern and historical landmarks that tell the story of contemporary Milton Keynes and its heritage. We hope you all have fun!

Perfect for family days out and summer fun, the app can be completed on a leisurely stroll or a fast pace cycle ride using MK’s extensive network of redways and the Santander Cycles MK scheme.

You may not realise it, but there are so many unexpected surprises in Milton Keynes. To uncover them all, the trail is split into five areas, exploring Milton Keynes’ modern and heritage buildings, rich history, iconic public art and blooming woodlands and parks.

The challenge has been set – can you unlock all 50 landmarks around the city?

You can share your journey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #DiscoveringMK.

On the Verge – Underpasses Project unveils new artwork

Unveiling of the ‘New Griffin’ design in the Conniburrow/Downs Barn underpass with “Act of Gold”; a community performance celebrating Milton Keynes’ urban heritage as part of Milton Keynes 50th Anniversary.

As part of the “Underpasses: connecting people connecting places” project, On The Verge unveiled the first of two new underpass artworks and hosted a community performance by 100+ residents and children on Friday 10th February at the Conniburrow/Downs Barn underpass off Conniburrow Boulevard, under Marlborough Street. The performance lasted approximately 15 minutes, followed by refreshments and celebratory activities in the Southwood School Assembly Hall.

The New Griffin artwork design, is inspired by conversations with the community and the accompanying performance featured the children of Southwood and Germander Park schools and the Conniburrow Community Choir.

This celebration featured a brief outdoor performance and the unveiling of two interpretation panels within the underpass itself. Afterward there was an opportunity to view OTV’s two children publications: ‘Travelling in Time’ and ‘MY MK’ .

On The Verge are working in close partnership with local residents, artists and project partners: MK Council, The Parks Trust and the MK City Discovery Centre, to enhance two underpasses that link the original CMK estates, with an aim to collectively create a more positive identity and instil greater pride and ownership.  The Heritage Lottery Funded project has commissioned the artists’ collective RARA to work with local residents on the transformation of the Conniburrow/Downs Barn underpass, and later this month, the Fishermead/Oldbrook underpass.

On the Verge is delivering the year long ‘Underpasses: connecting people, connecting places’ project since 2016. The ‘Underpasses’ project aims to connect residents with the unique heritage of the ‘New Town’ of Milton Keynes, tying into MK50 anniversary celebrations in 2017.

Project outputs include:

  • Community engagement programme lead by RARA an artist cooperative.
  • Heritage inspired artwork and interpretation panels for two underpasses in four estates around Central Milton Keynes
  • Interpretation panels for Secklow Mound and for Boyd & Evans painting ‘Underpass’ at the CMK/Campbell park underpass
  • Two children’s publications on MK’s ‘New Town’ history: ‘Travelling in Time’ and ‘MY MK’ 
  • ‘Underpasses’ an exhibition tracing the development of Milton Keynes at the Discover Milton Keynes at CMK Library
  • A heritage trail leaflet: ‘The Story of Housing in Milton Keynes’  (in four estates around CMK) and a version of it for children.
  • An App connected to the MY MK publication.

Discovering MK

MK50 LOGO

Milton Keynes 50th

2017 will mark the 50th year since Milton Keynes was officially designated and to celebrate, MK plans to host city wide events and activities that will be open to the local residents and visitors alike.

This is a special milestone for Milton Keynes, not just because it has been 50 years, but also because some of the major contributions that the city has made over the past half-century.

Milton Keynes is centre to some of the World’s most important discoveries. It is the home of some very influential pioneers, visionaries, artists and it holds significant Heritage that has helped shape our world in ways that you may not know.

From the WWII Code Breakers of Bletchley Park right through to the set location of iconic films such as Superman IV, Milton Keynes is a treasure trove of innovation, historic relevance and celebrity stopping place; the city is bursting with heritage & culture that deserves to be recognised.

Discovering MK, The Digital Landmark Trail

MK Views
Image Source: Milton Keynes Council Website/Homepage slides

 Amongst the many exciting activities set to take place next year, AHA-MK and Partners are in the process of developing an innovative project that will be unlike anything the city has seen yet – A Digital Landmark Trail focusing on 50 of MK’s most iconic landmarks to date.

What is special about Milton Keynes? Some would be inclined to ask such a question; others dismiss it as a city with one to many roundabouts and a shopper’s paradise, but hidden behind the misconceptions lies a City with a remarkable heritage and cultural scene.

Discovering MK aims to showcase this and will take participants on a fascinating tour around the City, stopping at some of MK’s most characteristic landmarks and informing them about its impressive history along the way.

Discovering MK will be a fun filled trail with lots of occasions that the whole family will enjoy, but rest assured individuals of all ages and backgrounds can join in on the fun too.