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by sarah last modified 16/07/2024 02:21 PM

In Conversation: Anjali Prashar-Savoie

by sarah last modified 16/07/2024 02:21 PM

In partnership with St Pauls Carnival, Citizens In Power and West of England Combined Authority we are delivering a Citizens’ Assembly for Culture in 2025.

This ground-breaking initiative will bring together people from across the region, to meet with creative practitioners, cultural providers and decision-makers to shape the future of a cultural delivery plan for the region.

We have recently recruited Anjali Prashar-Savoie as the Citizens’ Assembly Producer to help with the successful delivery of the Assembly. We caught up with her to find out more about the project that will take place in 2025.

Q: Hello Anjali! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you’ve come to be the producer of the Citizens’ Assembly.

A: I've been working in the cultural sector and in nightlife with a focus on grassroots culture, community organising, and creating spaces that prioritise people, equity, and access. I'm really passionate about how culture can drive new forms of social and civic participation, especially given the current political, environmental, and social challenges that we collectively face.

This experience led me to the Citizens’ Assembly Producer role. I'm grateful to contribute to something that represents the kind of systemic change we need in both culture and society as a whole. Often, we know what challenges we face in culture and beyond, but practical moves towards solutions can be difficult to organise at scale. The Citizens’ Assembly stood out to me because it offered a practical model for doing culture differently.

Q: What has your experience been of the job so far?

So far, I've been connecting with cultural workers, organisations, and grassroots organisers to get people involved in the project and understand how Citizens' Assemblies can be useful. I'm also working on expanding a wider Citizens for Culture network to make sure that the Assembly is shaped by the people it serves.

Q: You’re currently working on connecting with other cultural organisations and individuals in the region over Citizens For Culture. Why would you encourage people in the cultural sector to get involved with the project?

The sector is filled with incredible talent and group efforts that make for an exciting and diverse culture. However, sometimes the work on the ground doesn't trickle upwards into decision-making and policy. On top of that, a lot of the cultural sector is made up of freelancers who work somewhat disconnected from each other, meaning we work in silos.

Engaging with Citizens for Culture will connect people interested in citizen or community-led culture. This means you can expand your network, share information, skills, and resources, participate in upcoming workshops, and contribute to collective advocacy efforts to influence policies and secure better support for culture in the region. It provides an opportunity to build meaningful relationships with citizens and other cultural workers, creating a collaborative community with shared goals of doing things differently.

Citizens for Culture also connects you with the Citizens’ Assembly set to happen early next year. We are looking for people in the cultural sector to become associates of the assembly and help guide what happens next. By engaging with this project, together, we can make sure your voice is amplified to shape the Assembly, and that the outcomes of the assembly are supported. Overall, this is a region-wide collaborative project that is worth being a part of because the process and outcomes will be determined by the people who join.

Q: Anything else you would like to add?

We are offering online information sessions over the summer to learn more. The sessions will cover what a citizens’ assembly is and how you can get involved. In these sessions, we will also be seeking your input into our upcoming workshop series that will run throughout the Autumn.

Additionally, I love to chat. If you are a creative, cultural worker, venue, organisation or community organiser in the region, I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to reach out to me directly to chat about all things culture, community and citizens' assembly.

Find out more about the Citizens' Assembly for Culture project:

  • Sign up to an online information session with the Citizens' Assembly team
  • Email to join our Citizens For Culture mailing list

  • Read Edson Burton’s opinion piece of why voting matters in this series about civic participation

  • Read our blogs to find out more about the Citizens' Assembly project

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