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The Big Debate

What is it about?

At the AMA conference 2019, we want you to have the opportunity to debate.  

This is your chance to get involved and have a say on some of the most important issues impacting the cultural sector today. Join the conversation, air your views, hear thoughts from our panel members and ask the big questions. 

How it works 

On the Wednesday, The Big Debate will run in two 45 minute sessions. You can come to both or either, the choice is yours – each session will have a different topic and there will be a short break in between. You will have the opportunity to put your questions to the panel in advance, and during the debate too. 

The Big Debate — What’s our role in these polarised times? 
1.45pm – 2.30pm 

In a year when our society seems to be fracturing further than ever before, what is our role? Do we have a duty to take a stance or should we act as impartial mirrors to society? 

In the first of The Big Debate sessions we welcome questions such as those on divisive politics and its impact on our organisations, the ethics of funding and sponsorship, organisation’s responsibility and communicating brand values. 


Alan Lane | Artistic Director | Slung Low

Cath Hume | CEO | AMA

Alia Ullah | Media & Marketing Officer | Manchester Museum

Simon Dancey | CEO | Creative and Cultural Skills

The Big Debate — Are we really still talking about this? 
2.45pm – 3.30pm

When we talk about ‘diversity’ it’s difficult not to feel the eye rolls. But look around you — unless you see a microcosm of society reflected in your organisation and on your stage, then don’t we have a responsibility to keep on talking about it?  

With some quarters maintaining that the arts and culture sector is a meritocracy, how do we make sure our organisations are genuinely inclusive? And how do we break through defensive or apologetic reactions and move to action? 

This will be a frank conversation amongst peers, taking a look at where we are and where we want to be. 


Rinkoo Barpaga | Theatre-maker, Film Maker & Comedian

Bea Udeh | Programme Producer | AMA

Simon Dancey | CEO | Creative and Cultural Skills

View more information on AMA conference 2019 and book your place.