Farewell Speech: Godfrey Worsdale, Chair of CVAN

I write days before I step down from my position as Director of BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead and as a consequence, I also stand down from my roles as Chair of both the National and North East CVAN networks. I took up the National role around seven years ago and in that time I have been hugely encouraged by the achievements of the network and the wider sector that it represents, both in the regions and across the country. A number of very well attended national summits has enabled the sector to share knowledge and good practice, and also grapple with the issues of the day. Each region has self-defined in whatever way has felt appropriate to its context and the Regional Chairs have met with great regularity to ensure that local challenges and innovation are talked about at a National level. The visual arts has repeatedly demonstrated outstanding value for its public sector investment, both in terms of investment and engagement, but moving forward we need to continue to make this case to all our stakeholders.

I would like to thank the Chairs of each of the Regional groups for taking an active lead in their areas, but also for coming together regularly on a National level despite all of them being extremely busy with their day-to-day responsibilities. Above all else, I would like to acknowledge the fantastic work of the CVAN Coordinators, whose hard work and interconnectedness has made the network what it is.

In a recent Arts Council discussion, it became very clear that forward thinking policy at strategic level and the priorities for the network are now very well aligned and I feel optimistic that Arts Council England’s longstanding commitment to the network has proved to be invaluable in helping to set the agenda but also in delivering the outcomes.

As I move on to my new role with the Henry Moore Foundation, I will of course maintain a close relationship with members of the network, and I look forward to working with you all in the future.

Godfrey Worsdale