This week a group of cultural policy makers and researchers from South Korea travelled to London to meet with Voluntary Arts and discuss ways to support and promote creativity in our communities. Representatives of the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sport & Tourism and the National Community Cultural Foundation came to learn more about the work of Voluntary Arts and other organisations promoting, funding and researching everyday creativity.

The Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism established 'Regional Culture Promotion Law' in 2014, which states that central and regional government should support every day cultural activity and create community cultural space. This set three main policies:

  1. Creating space for voluntary cultural clubs and community cultural activity
  2. Promoting neutral co-working between voluntary cultural clubs in communities and regions
  3. Expanding opportunities for every day creative activity and voluntary participation

With these policies established, the Ministry created the National Community Cultural Foundation (CCF) in 2016 to support and promote cultural community development. There are now 110 community cultural centres around South Korea and 35 cultural coordinators acting as regional support. CCF holds the annual 'National Every Day Life Culture Festival' and estimates that there are about 32,000 voluntary cultural clubs being run by their members across the country.

During their visit to the UK, the group spent 3 days discussing cultural policy and everyday creativity with Voluntary Arts and a number of our partners and funders. Meetings hosted at Cecil Sharp House involved the English Folk Dance & Song Society, Making Music, 64 Million Artists, Arts Council England, DCMS and King's College London. As well as this, our visitors went to Broadcasting House to meet representatives of BBC Arts and discuss Get Creative, joined in a rehearsal of the London City Voices choir in Soho, visited the Crafts Council's offices and toured The Questors Theatre in Ealing.

The discussions were fascinating, detailed and wide-ranging, covering everything from the Get Creative campaign to membership structures of voluntary groups and from government level policy development to major research reports like 'Towards Cultural Democracy'.

Pictured above at Cecil Sharp House are: Katy Spicer (English Folk Dance & Song Society), Robin Simpson (Chief Executive, Voluntary Arts), Nick Wilson and Jonathan Gross (King's College London), A-rim Ryu (Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports & Tourism), Da-hee Jeong, Hyo-jin Shin, Song-yi Han & Seong-hee Heo (Community Cultural Foundation), Hey-ja Choi (researcher) and Jueun Kim (translator, University College London).