Voice of the People: New Art Exchange leads with first-ever permanent citizen assembly in cultural leadership

New Art Exchange (NAE), Nottingham’s pioneering creative space, has today unveiled a ground-breaking shift in cultural leadership: the introduction of the ‘VOICE Assembly,’ a permanent citizen assembly embedded within its leadership framework. This transformative move positions NAE as the first cultural institution globally to include direct citizen leadership at the heart of its strategic decisions.

Forty citizens from Hyson Green and its diverse surroundings will make up the ‘VOICE Assembly’, ensuring a fair and unbiased representation in shaping NAE’s neighbourhood’s strategy, vision and initiatives. This permanent inclusion of local voices not only aims to facilitate positive change but is an innovative approach to leadership and to a more inclusive cultural offering.

This shift comes as a continuation of NAE’s vision for a citizen-led culture. In the last 18 months, NAE has integrated citizen-led panels to shape pivotal programming decisions, totalling a £190,000 investment towards arts and local development. These key decisions include who the artists, communities, and partners NAE would commission to develop and deliver work within the neighbourhood, setting a new benchmark for citizen-led decision-making in the arts.

Saad Eddine Said, CEO and Artistic Director of New Arts Exchange says; “We believe in the power and necessity for citizens to lead and make a real difference. This is why we’re thrilled to introduce the VOICE Assembly as a permanent pillar of our leadership here at New Art Exchange. It’s about putting our neighbourhood at the heart of our decision-making, truly shaping our vision and strategy for the art and culture we all live with and love. As the first initiative of its kind, we’re eager to share this journey with others around the world and hope to spark a discourse on new structures where citizen-led decision-making is a core and permanent component of leadership in the cultural sector.”

Darren Henley, Chief Executive at Arts Council England says: “It’s exciting to see our National Portfolio Organisations thinking up innovative ways of working with their communities.  The VOICE assembly will help New Art Exchange shape the kind of creative activities and cultural experiences people living in Hyson Green want to see and take part in. I look forward to seeing how the assembly develops, helping New Art Exchange to serve their existing and future audiences even better.

Residents in Hyson Green who will receive an invitation will be asked to register their interest, with the final participants being selected by lottery. The VOICE Assembly will run its first meeting across 3 sessions on Thursday 23rd, Friday 24th and Saturday 25th May, with participants receiving £300 to thank them for their time and efforts.

For more information on New Arts Exchange and the VOICE assembly, please visit www.nae.org.uk.