We want to talk to people who are interested in helping us transform the future of Contact.

Manifesto: a public statement of beliefs, aims and policies

If you want to make change, it helps to have a plan.

Where do we want to be and how do we get there?

Political parties and social movements create manifestos to explain their vision of what the world should look like – and how to make it happen.

How can we make the world more caring? How can we look after each other and the planet, in the face of public service cuts and climate crisis? It’s a huge task that can often feel daunting. At Contact, we’ve decided to take our own organisation as a starting point. What can we do to become a more caring arts institution? How do we relate to the people and communities we serve?

Burnout is a huge issue in the arts workforce

On a daily basis, we collaborate with freelance artists and creatives who are fighting to make ends meet in an underfunded and precarious industry. Our own staff are always trying to do more with less, and burnout is a huge issue in the arts workforce. Many young people don’t feel welcome in arts and cultural spaces in Greater Manchester, and shows and exhibitions can often seem a world away from the challenges audiences are dealing with day-to-day. By thinking about how we care for each other and for ourselves, we can start to find new ways to change things for the better.

What does a caring arts institution look like?

We want to talk to people who are interested in helping us transform the future of Contact. Over the next few months, we’ll be meeting with our staff, artists, young people, audiences and freelancers to ask questions about care. What makes you feel safe, supported and respected? What does a caring arts institution look like? How do you cope with your work life? How can we make sure that people who come to Contact have the best experience possible?

We’ll use these conversations to create our own Manifesto of Care – a public statement of the beliefs and rules that should shape a caring arts institution. The Manifesto will inform Contact’s vision and working practice. We’ll develop a set of principles and rules for our caring institution.

Be a part of the discussion

If you would be interested in being part of the discussion, please email manifesto@contactmcr.com to sign up for one of the following workshops.

We’re interested in hearing from each of these groups, but if you fit into more than one group you’re very welcome to attend as many of the sessions as you like:

Workshop 1 – Young people

This workshop is facilitated by Nasima Begum. Nasima is a poet, producer and creative practitioner. She has been involved in many Contact projects as a young person. This workshop will be held on Thu 12 March between 6-8pm.

Workshop 2 – Audience and Community

This workshop is facilitated by Sheni Ravji-Smith. Sheni is currently working as Leadership & OD Lead at Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership. She was previously a trustee at Contact, has worked in events and production and ran her own festival in Manchester. This workshop will be held at the end of April, the exact date to be confirmed.

Workshop 3 – Artists

This workshop is facilitated by Demi Nandhra. Demi is a neurodiverse artist based in Birmingham. She was the 2017 Flying Solo Commission Winner presented by Contact. Her challenging questions and comments about care inspired us to create our Manifesto. This workshop will be held in the beginning of May, exact date to be confirmed.

Please note: A workshop with core staff and freelance creatives will be taking place, facilitated by Pelin Basaran and Chloe Courtney. The dates for these workshops will be announced very soon.