Recent Activity – December 2017

December 2017

I have now finished a piece of active consulting for New Art West Midlands, a bright and shiny new Visual Arts Strategy for the West Midlands. The next stage of this will be to develop a full business plan.

Close and Remote (Simon Poulter and Sophie Mellor) have almost finished their Productive Margins  residency with the University of Bristol. We have worked with academics looking at regulation and the impact of the productive Margins programme in general. Our previous piece of work, Life Chances explores real lives in both Bristol and Cardiff and is now published as a novel. We are also devising the development of the Life Chances game with University of Bristol. The Live Model programme of performance experiences in Bristol, Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff are now developed into a film, with narration by Roney Fraser Munroe. Link here.

Close and Remote are now working with Home, Slough on Bring Your Own Future, which includes watercolours and VR of the town of Slough, west of London.

Earlier in 2017, I finished a wide ranging piece of consultancy with Furtherfield in London. Together we have re-evaluated the business model, developed a new programme for the next three years and written a successful NPO bid to Arts Council England.

Ruth Catlow, Co-Director gave the following feedback:

“In 9 months Simon has helped Furtherfield to make an urgent and necessary shift in organisational culture and processes. We were a small team, driven by an activist spirit, running dangerously over-capacity, under resourced and over-reliant on dwindling public arts funding. These pressures were starting to threaten the survival and reputation of the organisation and its community- earned over the last 20 years.

Simon worked closely with the team to identify and support a shift to an investment and managed growth model. He did this through a series of highly effective, practical and timely processes: –
• Meetings and coaching with directors and staff supported necessary changes in attitude and behaviour and rebalanced the dynamic of the staff team, empowering everyone to become more effective and confident about the value and purpose of their roles.
• Working with the team to identifying the priorities and opportunities for investment – matching them to existing programming and suggesting a new strategic programming focus
• Providing practical tools and templates for communication, business planning and development – supported the team to radically reorganise and focus the programme, streamline communications so that all the team have shared access to information, and financial planning and reporting.
• Responding to emerging and unexpected issues with generosity, tact, patience and toughness.

Through attitude action and skills, Simon has supported a deep shift in the organisation, whilst respecting and enhancing the spirit, ethos and intentions of its directors – giving Furtherfield the tools and knowledge it needs to thrive. Now it’s up to us!”


Rachel Drury and I are working on the ‘in_collusion’ programme funded by Arts Council England Ambition for Excellence and Greater Peterborough, Greater Cambridge Local Enterprise Partnership. This three year programme will establish artist commissions, artist labs, research projects, local hubs and a series of events for people working in the creative industries. Collusion, is a Cambridge based arts organisation that focusses on Art, Technology and Human Interaction.

We have now completed our commission for Sefton Borough Council ‘Lost Characters’. This was shown at the Atkinson over the Summer of 2015. Our recent commission for FACT, Zone is now online as a finished film.