Steering groups are another way to access expertise, both through arts expertise and internally for clients with project teams. They can also be a way of gaining local knowledge through including a local community representative.
They are an effective mechanism to develop ownership and support. Their role can include contributing informed opinions on opportunities and helping to select artists. Having arts representation on a steering group helps ensure that well-informed decisions are taken and appropriate artists are appointed. The role of steering groups needs to be clearly defined – whether they have an advisory or a decision-making capacity.
It can be valuable to include a natural champion for a project in the steering group. This could be a local councillor or senior local authority officer working in cultural services, public realm or regeneration. They may be useful spokespeople to spread understanding about the project. Linking them with other advocates such as Arts Council officers and with local gallery and museum curators can also help inform them and their approach.