Thumbs up for Council’s New Approach

Press Release: 13/07/2012

Stephen Boyce

A new style of advisory service has been welcomed by local arts organisations and practitioners.

The externally commissioned Arts Advisory Service, which is free to anyone living or working in the Winchester City Council area, has been piloted over the last eight months. A survey conducted recently showed high levels of support for the service, which is now to be extended for another 12 months until June 2013.

Winchester City Council contracted freelance arts and heritage consultant Stephen Boyce to provide the service, following a competitive tendering process. Stephen, who has lived in Winchester for the past thirty years, has brought a wealth of experience as a practitioner, funding officer and volunteer. He was a former Deputy Chief Executive of Southern Arts, and former Deputy Director at the Heritage Lottery Fund. Stephen has also been trustee of several arts organisations, and he currently chairs The Southampton Cultural Development Trust. He has worked as an actor and theatre director and is a published poet.

During the last eight months, Stephen has advised numerous arts organisations, with support ranging from assisting Blue Apple Theatre to set up their own board of Trustees to helping individual practitioners with funding applications. He has also provided strategic advice to the City Council.

Katherine Howlett, a visual artist at The Yard which is off Wharf Hill in Winchester, said:

Stephen has attended Yard management meetings and we have found his service to be instrumental in developing the studio. In particular he has helped us identify ways to raise the profile of The Yard. More recently I have met with Stephen to seek advice regarding funding for audience development and marketing, and have found the experience of working with Stephen extremely beneficial. Stephen has a high level overview, which is inspiring to tap into”.

Cllr Patricia Stallard, Winchester City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Communities, Culture and Sport, added:

Winchester City Council introduced its new approach involving the commissioning of services, projects and programmes during 2011. Stephen Boyce has a wealth of experience in the arts and will ensure that Winchester’s creative community continues to make an important contribution to the economic vitality and the quality of life of local people through architecture, design, film production, literature, performing arts and fine arts.”

The next 12 months will see many improvements to the service including bite sized training sessions for arts practitioners, on a range of subjects from funding options through to health and safety. To find out more about the training contact Alison Woods at Winchester City Council on 01962 848 347 or email

Stephen is mainly available Monday to Wednesday and can be contacted at or via Flis Pitman at Winchester City Council on 01962 848 303 or at