News

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.

All things European Capital of Culture at our next Forum

Join us at the new Festive Road HQ on 1st June: meet the external European Capital of Culture bid advisor appointed by MK Council and hear about his experience to date; after lunch, be part of a workshop to help develop the narrative for our bid.

For more information and details of how to book please download the Flyer: AHA Flyer Forum 01 06 16 Final

Cultural Projects Intern

The Arts & Heritage Alliance Milton Keynes (AHA-MK), in partnership with Milton Keynes Council, is looking to recruit a young person (aged 16-24 and currently claiming JobSeekers Allowance), to join our organisation as a Cultural Projects Intern.  This role will provide opportunities to learn about the cultural sector in Milton Keynes, to work on project research and development, and to support key cultural initiatives for the borough.

AHA-MK is a membership organisation that aims to represent, develop and promote the arts and heritage sectors of Milton Keynes.  Our members (currently a total of 35) include Bletchley Park, The Stables, MK Theatre, MK Gallery, MK Museum, Living Archive, MK Arts for Health, MK City Discovery Centre, MK Islamic Arts Heritage & Culture, Independent Cinema MK, MK City Orchestra, Mótus Dance, MK Arts Centre, Westbury Arts Centre, Festive Road, and the National Museum of Computing, which are delivering a wide range of programmes. During 2016 we will be leading a variety of projects including work around cultural education, audience development and cultural diversity.

This is an exciting time for Milton Keynes, planning for the celebration of Milton Keynes’ 50th anniversary in 2017, and developing a bid to become the European Capital of Culture in 2023.

We are seeking a young person who is passionate about arts and culture, and who will be an asset to both MK Council’s and AHA-MK’s teams in supporting the development of these projects.

For full details of the role, and information on how toy apply please download the Job Description: AHA-MK Cultural Employment Intern JD Mar 16

MK Cultural Education Partnership – Briefs

The Arts & Heritage Alliance Milton Keynes (AHA-MK) is setting up the Milton Keynes Cultural Education Partnership (MKCEP) in response to Arts Council England’s Cultural Education Challenge.  The Cultural Education Challenge asks arts and cultural organisations, educational institutions and local authorities to come together to drive a joined-up arts and cultural offer locally, to share resources and bring about a more coherent, and visible delivery of cultural education that offers a consistent, and high quality, arts and cultural education for all children and young people.

The MKCEP is made up of a network of arts, heritage and educational partners, led by a strategic steering group, which includes representatives from senior positions at MK Council, SEMLEP, our National Portfolio Organisations and Milton Keynes Police.

The MKCEP aims to develop a Cultural Education Strategy and Action Plan that ensures every child and young person (0-19 years) in Milton Keynes has the opportunity to create, participate in and influence culture.  Through this engagement we will positively impact the well-being of young people and support their creative, personal and educational development.  In addition, we aim to nurture the passion and capacity of children and young people to become artists, practitioners, producers and directors within the cultural and creative industries.

Consultation:

We are advertising two briefs, looking for freelancers to undertake consultation that will inform our Cultural Education Strategy:

MK Cultural Education Partnership Cultural education brief final

MK Cultural Education Partnership CYP brief final