Alison does everything she can to ensure that the arts and creativity are hardwired into council plans, strategies and policies.
Alison is without a doubt one of the most effective advocates for the arts sector and broader creative industries in Colchester. Her role within the local authority means that she is involved in the wider agenda around Colchester’s economic development, and it’s in this context that she’s making a real difference.
Her advocacy for the arts and creativity means that they have a place in the council’s regeneration and economic development plans that they otherwise wouldn’t have. Her leadership and championing of the Creative Colchester network has been transformational, meaning that those working in the local creative sector have a voice around the table when funding applications for initiatives.
Within a regional context, she champions not only the local Colchester arts sector but those working across the whole of Essex, ensuring their voice is heard and represented by policymakers in the LEP. At present, her focus is on ensuring that the needs and ambitions of Colchester and Essex’s arts sector form part of the SELEP’s new Local Industrial Strategy, which is being presented to national government in February 2020. Alison isn’t an arts officer, she advocates, lobbies and champions because she believes in the arts, not because it’s her job to do so.
What the judges said:
‘Crucially, Alison is not specifically an officer in charge of championing the arts and yet she has done just that to huge success. I think in the current political climate we find ourselves in, which has just become much more severe, Alison’s skills in practical logistics, and economic development are exactly what local arts need to survive. She is in a prime position to communicate the economic, social, and health benefits of the arts, and it would be great for this award to encourage her to excel and keep going.’
Image Credit: Colchester Borough Council