Champions of art and culture help connect communities

Artist Anna FitzGerald starts off her artwork

Artist Anna FitzGerald is the ACED Engagement Champion - Credit: Anna FitzGerald

Arts and Culture have a huge role to play in responding to and confronting the societal changes we face today, particularly after the Covid pandemic. They are vital in helping us find a positive way forward and realise a better future for our communities - supporting health and wellbeing, the environment and economic recovery.

The pandemic has highlighted the role of culture in the modern world and the need for it to help us with the demands of daily life. Art can also act as a unifying force at a time when society is experiencing fragmentation.

ACED – Arts & Culture East Devon was formed in response to the pandemic to connect the creative and cultural communities of East Devon, providing a central platform to engage, network, promote and talk about arts and culture across the region.

This public forum is designed to support local cultural services in East Devon such as theatres, museums, galleries and festivals as well as all creative practitioners, eg artists and performers.

ACED aims are to:
• Provide support for professional and artistic development, enabling partnership
• Develop and promote local authority arts and culture-led economic growth initiatives
• Support advocacy work for local arts and culture services and identify areas for collaboration
• Share news, best practice, plans and ambitions - aiding communication between arts practitioners, arts organisations, non-arts organisations, local government and regional and national bodies
• Embed the role of the arts in the cultural, social, educational, environmental and economic life of the district 
• Increase participation in cultural activity in the district, developing a healthy social and cultural ecology which engages and enriches communities 

ACED hosts three Network Member online forums a year, two Executive Membership meetings (including East Devon District Councillors) a year, and distributes a bi-monthly newsletter. The next online forum is scheduled for Wednesday, November 24, 10.00 – 11.30. To book a free place, visit 

The forum has appointed four ACED Champions to support their sector of expertise. For more information about how to become an ACED champion, email: 

ACED Education Champion - John Astley 
John has worked as sociologist of culture and has held teaching and curriculum roles with Exeter and Plymouth universities, and the Open University. He is now developing adult education. 

ACED Engagement Champion - Anna Fitzgerald
Anna is a painter and community artist living in Exmouth. She is the artist in residence at Powderham Castle and co-runs two galleries. 

ACED Decolonisation Champion - Ella S Mills
Dr Ella Mills is an art historian and curator of contemporary art in the field of Black British histories of art and exhibitions. She is currently a lecturer in modernist art histories at the University of Plymouth. 

ACED Craft Champion - Gemma Girvan 
Gemma is an experienced buyer, specialising in designer makers. She was product developer for the TATE galleries and is now Gallery and Retail Officer at Thelma Hulbert Gallery (THG) and curator of their annual craft exhibition: Present Makers. 

Innovation and Resilience FUND (IRF) 
The IRF is now open for applications. EDDC has launched this new £2m funding scheme to allow businesses and organisations to apply for funding to deliver a project, both individual (up to £50,000) and collaborative projects (up to £150.000).

Cultural and Creative Industries are a priority for this fund, and to find out more go to 

For more information or to sign up to an online forum, please visit:

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For further information about ACED and IRF, please contact Fiona Page-Turner – 01404 45006 /