In Gateshead this week for the first alumni conference for the National Graduate Development Programmme for Local Government (Veredus is a sponsor). Some excellent speakers – great for renewal of purpose, and a reminder why what we do matters. Energised myself by the energy of the alums – they know that tough times are ahead for public spending but they’re clearly up for it. At the end of the conference children from a local primary school came and sang “I believe” to us. Don’t remember that happening at NatWest.
Chief Executive and Leader of Gateshead Council talked to us – their courage (esp around the arts: Angel of the North, Baltic, Sage) and local leadership shone through. Civic pride is so much more appealing when it’s actually justified. Wonderful. Boat trip on the Tyne: much impressive regeneration visible.
And the Baltic, Sage and so on were very special. I know that when the Baltic opened there was much chatter about how would they afford things to go in there, there’s only so much good art to go round, and so on. They’ve sidestepped that with some of the most innovative and inteersting contemporary art I’ve seen for ages. The Sarah Sze installation moved me and got me thinking more than anything I’ve seen in Tate Modern. (On until 31 Aug – I will be back).