Articles

Word/Play: Creating Change in Somerset

Posted: November 27, 2013 at 11:00 am

Word/Play is a two-year initiative that brings together theatre, spoken word and digital media to create change. Produced by Take Art, a pioneering arts charity, it’s for people in Somerset: individuals, groups and communities. Anyone, in fact, who wants their voice to be heard, to feel better about themselves or to make a difference in their lives.

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Creative Progression: Reflections on quality in participatory arts

Posted: November 22, 2013 at 11:00 am

François Matarasso is a freelance writer, researcher and consultant with a 30+ year career in socially engaged arts practice.

His writing, research and work in the community arts rest on his passionate belief that everyone has the right to create art and share the result, as well as to enjoy and participate in the creation of others.

Matarasso’s work – which has been published and shared around the globe – has evolved through his own personal, creative experiences as he explores the richness and diversity of people’s everyday art practice and discovers new ways of understanding people’s culture.

Over the years Matarasso has worked with a wide range of organisations including public bodies, foundations and universities – but above all with arts organisations whose values he shares.

Now his most recent essay, ‘Creative Progression: Reflections on quality in participatory arts’ – featured in the UNESCO E-Journal by the University of Melbourne – reflects on the meaning and assessment of quality in participatory arts with the recent focus on ‘excellence’ in British cultural policy discourse.

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One great fEat! – Black Country Touring

Posted: November 8, 2013 at 11:00 am

Earlier this year Black Country Touring and Birmingham Repertory Theatre presented a captivating production of food stories that spanning the globe but told in the humble space of a caravan.

Eat! was the professional production which inspired by an anthology of food-based tales to be collected from, and shared with, people across the West Midlands and beyond.

Through the assistance of volunteer researchers, stewards and even a community choir Eat! breathed life into personal accounts of war and poverty, feast and famine, leaving a tasty legacy that has audiences hungry for more.

Dawinder Bansal, Producer at Black Country Touring, shares with mailout the secret recipe behind the successful production Eat! 

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Welcoming the next generation of arts fundraisers – The Creative Internship Programme

Posted: November 1, 2013 at 11:00 am

Last year Arts & Business Cymru advertised a job post. The position was for a new and exciting role as Business Development Manager – an opportunity backed by potential, progression and a decent salary.

To the organisation’s disappointment however the callout received a mere seven applications.

In the current climate the lack of interest rang alarm bells for Rachel Jones, chief executive of Arts & Business Cymru, who quickly realised what it was that the UK’s creative sector really lacked – skilled, cultural fundraisers.

Igniting this idea with Mary Trainor – Nagele, Arts & Business Northern Ireland chief executive, a new Creative Internships Programme was devised with the ambition of developing the next generation of arts fundraisers.

Eight ambitious interns have now been selected for its pilot where a 10 month, paid and full – time placement at eight not-for-profit arts organisations is being rolled out in Belfast, Northern Ireland and Cardiff, Wales.

Here Rachel Jones talks to mailout about the new internship scheme which will be turning eight recent graduates into the arts fundraisers of the future.

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“I have sought to protect the arts in Scotland from the worst of the budget cuts” – Scotland’s Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop

Posted: October 29, 2013 at 1:00 pm

On June 5, 2013, Scotland’s Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop delivered a speech at Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh University, titled Past, Present & Future: Culture & Heritage in an Independent Scotland.

The speech set out to distinct Scotland’s approach to the arts after UK Culture Secretary Maria Miller controversially said the arts realm must make the case for public funding by focusing on its economic, not artistic, value.

Declaring Scotland’s government as the ‘most culturally ambitious government that Scotland has ever had’ Hyslop argued that the value of the arts far surpasses the economical and that the wealth of culture and heritage should be weighed by intrinsic value.

Her speech politically stood in opposition to Miller’s who – in her delivery of Testing times: Fighting culture’s corner in an age of austerity - called out to the creative sector to place more emphasis on economic impact and growth.

Repelling Miller’s notion that British culture is a ‘compelling product’ – which should justify public spending by returned investment – Hyslop stated that the arts in Scotland would not be perceived as a commodity or be reduced to a single function.

Here Hyslop tells mailout why she so passionately stands by her views and how she visions Scotland as a nation to be not only artistically recognised in its own right – but as a nation that nourishes and nurtures engagement in the arts.

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The Great Tapestry of Scotland – mailout exclusive

Posted: October 16, 2013 at 11:30 am

“Community Arts is all about personal discoveries of talent – of quiet moments of growth and change within communities. That is its essence. But Community Arts on a much grander scale can produce a buzz, an excitement…”

Andrew Crummy, Artist and Designer of The Great Tapestry of Scotland 

The Great Tapestry of Scotland was the Community Arts project which made national news – it was a project which attracted 30,000 visitors, involved 1,000 stitchers, historians and artists, saw an exhibition at Scottish Parliament and even broke a world record.

One creative behind this great feat is artist and designer Andrew Crummy, who has  experience developing multiple large scale, collaborative artworks in public and community settings across the world. Here he tells us about the shaping of the world’s largest tapestry and the ‘overwhelming’ response and impact it has created.

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“Monitor, evaluate, adapt, change and develop”: The trials and tribulations of Community Arts in the current economic climate

Posted: October 8, 2013 at 1:16 pm

“The media for the last few years has been full of stories of economic slumps, lowered disposable incomes and government spending cuts… This comes against a need for social unity among communities.

“The arts have always provided a means for communities to band together in times of need.”

Clare Oates is a MA Community Music postgraduate from the York St John University. For her final dissertation Clare embarked on a study to explore the history of community arts and the experiences faced by present community arts groups with regards to setting up, funding, publicising and maintaining projects.

The study has taken into account the political, social and economic impact on the projects as well as new research into the issues and experiences of organisations in the UK. Here Clare introduces herself and shares her findings with mailout.co.

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A Woolly Wooden Wonderland – shaping the creative landscape with Eden Arts

Posted: October 2, 2013 at 2:30 pm

In January 2013 the Cumbrian based arts organisation ‘Eden Arts’ launched an exciting new visual art project called Canopy. The project resulted in a spring/summer exhibition of artworks displayed in tree canopies and woodland throughout the Eden Valley in Cumbria.  

Artworks included ‘The Woollen Woods’, an enchanting craft based installation at National Trust property Acorn Bank, which features hundreds of woollen creations made by the public. Specially commissioned artworks by Liverpool Art Prize winner Robyn Woolston were also exhibited across a number of locations, including on the shores of glorious Lake Ullswater. Further artworks were created by young Cumbrian artists and students and displayed in the grounds of two local stately homes.

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Me & Mine, Arts Connection – Cyswllt Celf

Posted: September 19, 2013 at 2:30 pm

The aims behind the Me & Mine project were simple – to offer young carers of Wales an opportunity, an opportunity to focus on their creativity, self–development , and most importantly, a time to be young.

Arts Connection – Cyswllt Celf tells mailout about the creation of a community arts project which placed 40 young carers – and 20 experienced artists – on a meaningful journey of ‘bonding, sharing and achievement.’

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“Improvisation is misunderstood as a spontaneous, unserious approach to performance” – Community dance artist Vicci Riley

Posted: September 5, 2013 at 12:30 pm

I am a performer, improviser and community dance artist based in the North West. I graduated from the Laban Centre, London, in 1995 with BA (Hons) Dance Theatre.

For the last fifteen years I have worked with a wide variety of people and in diverse performance contexts; ensemble improvisational performance, contact improvisation, dance-theatre, BA students, older people, pre-school, young women and disability groups.

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