Increasing community access to the arts

CP logoName: Nicole Monney

Organisation: Hangleton & Knoll Project

Project Title:
Increasing community access to the arts

Our aims:
The Hangleton & Knoll Project (HKP) and the University of Brighton (UoB) will form a partnership to train a group of local residents to deliver a participatory arts-based research project drawing on a novel methodology pioneered by Helen Johnson. Our aim is to identify arts and culture interests and needs, and to develop an arts and culture offer for Hangleton and Knoll. We intend to share learning and best practice from the project with the local authority, commissioning arts organisations, and community groups across the City. This will serve as the basis for a new community of practice, addressing inclusive arts in Brighton and Hove. The research will form part of a potential UoB impact case study for REF 2021 and contribute to future significant funding bids.

What we did:
As part of this project we have had 3 steering group workshops where we trialled the collaborative poetic resource pack, produced a steering group manifesto and designed a questionnaire. We then gathered survey data from over a hundred local residents, and gathered further data from other sources to explore whether people in our community felt we had sufficient access to arts activities, what arts and creative activities were ongoing in the area, whether there was a desire for an arts focused space in the local area and how we could help local people access arts activities.Having collected all of this data, one resident took the lead in pulling out the data and meeting with Dr Johnson to create a narrative, as well as adata poem. We turned our findings into visual infographics, and held the sharing of learning event where Helen and Sara fed back the findings in a Q&A format. The event was attended by local residents who had completed the questionnaires, our local councillors, as well as representatives from the Brighton Dome and Festival. Alongside the sharing of the findings, and showcasing local artworks, we facilotated a world cafe for participants to input their ideas that will now form the basis of our Neighbourhood Arts Action Plan.

What happened:
This project felt like a real success. The local resident steering group members felt confident to put together the questionnaire and carry out the consultation. The results have been hugely beneficial in directing our next steps. There is a big local appetite for increased arts and craft activities such as pottery, sewing, embroidery as well as finding a space that can be dedicated to arts use. Interestingly, this is wanted as much for providing a networking and social space as it is to carry out actual arts activities. We have fed this back to the Arts and Creative Industries Commission who are supporting our planned Fun Palace to be held in October, and our local councillors are supporting our efforts to locate an arts space. Potentially as part of a new development underway in Hangleton.

What we created:
As a part of this project we have created a manifesto to underpin our ethos and values. One of our members turned our manifesto into an embroidered wall hanging.We have created a more empowered and informed steering group of local residents.We have created a vision for where next. This includes pulling together the data for our Arts Action Plan, and towards the end of this year we shall formalise a community of practice parnership to further plan how to turn the ideas into action.

Further comments:
We feel there is scope to carry out further research delving deeper into local attitudes and cultures around the arts at a community level. This could be a consideration for future funding.

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