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Credit is Dean Leivers.

The Increasing Importance of Practical Partnership Working 

The dust is settling on a 6-month intensive partnership with The Spark Arts for Children which culminated in the Vital Spark Symposium last week at Attenborough Arts Centre. Ben Anderson, Lincoln Arts Centre's Creative and Executive Director, details here the importance and relevance of this partnership, and partnership working in general.

Vital Spark has seen us support local storyteller and performance artist Tanya Akrofi through a programme called Vital Spark, in partnership with Vital Spark producer The Spark Arts For Children and Baboro International Arts Festival for Children, Inspire and Attenborough Arts Centre. 

Vital Spark is, in the words of Artistic Director Christopher Gorry: “a nationally significant programme that addresses the lack of diversity in the performance for young audiences sector.” 

I’m proud that Lincoln Arts Centre has supported local artists through a significant investment in commissioning and talent development initiatives however we quickly identified that financial investment (whilst brilliant and difficult to come by) is not the only ingredient needed for effective artist support. Speaking with Tanya recently we actually identified four things:  

Inspiration. Go-see visits both locally, nationally, and internationally. 

Artistic challenge. A peer network and organisational capacity to have critical discourse. 

Personal and professional development. Holistic development where the artists not just the product is supported through a programme of coaching. 

Money. Of course, money. We need to invest in the development of the sector. Money enables new ideas. Perhaps most importantly, as Tanya puts it, ‘pen chewing time’ time to get off the hamster wheel and invest in the making of work. This is vital if we are to ensure anyone can be a professional and practicing artist. 

All the above is resource intensive. We were never going to be able to do this with the scale and ambition that we wanted to alone. That’s where experts like The Spark come in. I’d recommend anyone to join us on the Vital Spark journey next time round and a huge thank you to The Spark Arts for Children for paving the way for us. 

If you’d like to connect with Tanya and see her new work, contact Ben Anderson at

Vital Spark is led by The Spark Arts for Children, in association with Baboró International Arts Festival for Children and in partnership with Inspire, Attenborough Arts Centre and Lincoln Arts Centre. 


  • Published:
    Thu 21st Mar 2024
  • Posted by:
    Kayleigh Hunt