NO LIMITS is a visual arts strategy for the West Midlands. It has been initiated by New Art West Midlands in response to the needs of the sector, and developed as an effective working plan. It has been informed by the region’s network of artists, curators and arts professionals, educators, audiences and stakeholders from business and local government.
In the development of this strategy, we used an artist-led consulting process to explore the breadth of visual arts practice. This process was designed to engage the people in the room rapidly and connect them and their voices into the strategy. Deliberately pushing out from the urban centres, we toured the region to ensure its diversity would be reflected. We sought out the far and distant places that make the visual arts in the West Midlands distinct, and looked at our relevance beyond the limits of our art form and our sector.
Our six ‘expeditions’ covered much ground, ranging from the role of the artist in developing our changing cityscapes, to art as a means of social engagement in rural communities and healthcare settings. We reflected on our cultural gems – our galleries, our museums, tourism and heritage – and the new frontiers of the digital and public realms.
The resulting strategy has been led and drafted by artist and consultant Simon Poulter, with an overarching aim to safeguard the future of West Midlands’ artists and our sector as a whole. Operating within the wider context, including Arts Council England’s forthcoming 10 year strategy, we hope the actions that emerge across the four themes will create positive impact for the West Midlands in two principle ways:
1 – to develop and attract artists and curators from a range of disciplines to the region, retaining them and recognising their value.
2 – to respond to the needs of regional priorities and contribute to the development of the West Midlands in respect of creativity and innovation.
Diversity underpins the strategy, relating to our creative people, pioneering practices and distinctive places. Together, we want to support artists at every stage of their career, as part of a shared commitment to creating an ecology that values and celebrates the visual arts as an essential part of people’s lives in the West Midlands.