The Creative Solutions book was created to compliment an earlier conference of the same name that happened in Bolton on 12-13 June 2001. The publication featured a series of essayists representing a diverse cultural and professional background, and was intended to highlight best practice within the arts and neighbourhood renewal sector. The conference coincided with a new National Strategy Action Plan called A New Commitment to Neighbourhood Renewal (Cabinet Office 2001). The conference also linked to regional exemplars such as Bolton at Home’s very well-regarded Housing % for Art programme. Invited to consider the ‘Artists’ point-of-view, Ian Banks wrote of his personal perspective of ‘An Architect and the Arts’ (p.59) – a viewpoint then linked to his new 4-year sabbatical, only just taken up in 2000, as the ‘Public Art & Architecture Officer’ for North West Arts Board (soon to become Arts Council England NW).
The national two-day conference explored the use of the arts in regeneration. Policy and practice were directly linked during the first day, when the 130 delegates devised their own creative solutions with 11 community artists across a range of art forms. The second day focused on current practice and the Bolton experience. Later in the year, the complementary book was published by editors Brian Lewis and George Caswell.
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