How arts and culture are important to every aspect of our lives At the Arts Council we believe there is a powerful holistic case to be made for the value of arts and culture. Vital contributions are made to all of our lives from arts and culture. They are important to our social well-being and cohesion, our physical and mental health, our education system, our national status and our economy. Here are just a few of the many ways that organisations supported in the North by the Arts Council touch – and transform – people’s lives.
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Providing access to cultural experiences for older people in residential care
Residents in care homes across West Yorkshire will find it easier to attend arts events following ÂŁ250,000 of funding from Arts Council England and the Baring Foundation. We do, an organisation based in Holmfirth, which uses creativity to achieve social change and to create the conditions for people and places to flourish, is using its grant to launch @home. This club for residential and nursing homes and arts and cultural providers will offer a programme of arts events in care homes and at cultural venues across West Yorkshire. There is also a special programme for staff working in care homes which are members. We do is one of only four organisations nationwide to receive funding from this ÂŁ1 million Arts and older people programme.
We do Culture Club. Credit: Beverley Addy
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@home was inspired by the model of Culture Club, another initiative run by We do, funded and supported by Kirklees Community Partnership and the Arts Council. It is a brand new club designed to bring the best of culture to older people in the Kirklees area and, as Deborah Munt, Director of We do puts it, ‘make things easy and irresistible’. Free to join and open to anyone living in the area aged 55 and over, the club offers a programme of workshops, events and special occasions ranging from theatre outings to beginners’ archery sessions. Members can join for as many or as few events as they choose, at special ‘members-only’ prices, on a sliding scale according to ability to pay. Other benefits include help with transport arrangements. Culture Club has attracted around 600 members in under two years, and serves a dual purpose as a vehicle for audience development and for health, care and social benefit. Two recent projects enjoyed by members include Club 55, a live band club night aimed at the over 55s, and There are fairies in the gutter, an entertainment exploring the achievements of local suffrage campaigners Dora Thewlis and Florence Lockwood, run in partnership with the Tolson Museum, Huddersfield Literary Festival, and actor Ursula Holden Gill. We do are also involved in a project based at the Robin Lane Medical Centre in Pudsey, Leeds, which recently received Grants for the arts funding of over £72,000. Still in its early stages, Live at the Lux will create a live arts and music cafe bar at the heart of a wellbeing centre attached to a GP practice – a development that is possibly unique in the arts sector and probably unique in the health sector. Deborah Munt, We Do Director, describes the scheme as ‘a really interesting project in that a GP practice is really willing to go beyond the direct obvious health outcome for arts input, and work on the basis that a community that has great arts provision is one that will more readily flourish’.
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Working with people living with dementia
Museums in Cumbria are bringing arts and culture to people living with dementia and to their carers. The Cumbria Museum Consortium (consisting of Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, Lakeland Arts and the Wordsworth Trust) has developed the Carlisle Dementia Partnership with a range of organisations concerned to develop a programme of activities that are beneficial for people living with dementia, and their carers. Cumbria has an ageing population and the number of elderly people within the county is above the national average, due to the attractiveness of retiring and moving to live in such a beautiful part of the country. Around 7,000 people were diagnosed with dementia in 2010 and this figure is expected to rise to 13,000 in 2030. The Cumbria Museum Consortium is an Arts Council Major partner museum and receives £3.1 million in funding. It is thanks to this support that the consortium was able to fund a specialist engagement post to target the over 50s, focusing on health and wellbeing. The other organisations involved in the Carlisle Dementia Partnership include Prism Arts, Creative Horizons Cumbria, Cumbria County Council Archive Services and Libraries, Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society and NHS Occupational Therapy. It is early days for the partnership, which was formed in June 2013, but several of the organisations are already running relevant schemes: • Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery has been working with volunteers in care homes for a number of years and is also working to engage residents in a museum setting using its collection • Creative Horizons is providing Life Story activities • The Alzheimer’s Society runs a singing for the brain programme • The Wordsworth Trust is offering an innovative pop up cafe for dementia sufferers, in which they can enjoy poetry readings as part of the What are words worth programme • Lakeland Arts has its own programme of activity and events designed to engage people living with dementia and their carers – Enriched By Moments. As part of this they hosted their first cafe for all those living with dementia, at Abbot Hall Art Gallery on 6 May • A Carlisle Dementia Partnerships Dementia Awareness Day took place in Carlisle on 15 May. The event took place jointly in the community room at Tullie House Museum and at Prism Arts studio which is across the garden at Tullie House. All the partners were present, providing information and / or showcasing what they offer in this area
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Using dance to help patients at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital
From Where You Are is a 29 month creative dance project exploring movement in acute paediatric healthcare. Led by Small Things Dance Collective (STDC), Cath Hawkins and Lisa Dowler, the project was developed in association with Edge Hill University and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool. Cited as a ‘ground-breaking’ project by Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, the company collaborated with the hospital’s Arts for Health, Play Service, Pain and Sedation Service and Research Departments. The project has since engaged nine dance artists, reached over 1,500 participants and 1,550 live audiences and resulted in seven new commissions and 574 training sessions.
Small Things Dance Collective project, Alder Hey Hospital. Credit: Leila Romaya
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The From Where You Are project grew out of a successful 2008-9 pilot study, which looked at the effects of STDC’s dance practice on the Oncology and Neuromedical wards at Alder Hey. The study was developed in association with Edge Hill University and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool. Supported by our Grants for the arts programme, the company also received funding from Edge Hill University, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Big Lottery Fund and Warrington Borough Council. In its most significant finding the pilot study demonstrated that somatic dance can be effective in reducing the experience of acute pain in infants, children and young people: 92 per cent of the participants experienced reduced pain, and their perception of pain changed. Commenting on the effect of the programme on a particular young patient, one of the artists involved observed ‘After the session the nurse came to discuss his pain medication. His mum said he didn’t seem in pain so they decided not to give him his scheduled medication.’ The project came to an end in December 2013, but The Alder Hey Charity is currently supporting STDC to work one day per week at the hospital on familiar and new wards, while plans and funding for future schemes are put in place. In March 2014 STDC’s work in this sphere received recognition at the NHS England Excellence in Participation Awards 2014, when they were awarded the Children’s and Young People’s Award.
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The power of art supports veterans
Ex-service personnel in Liverpool have the opportunity to develop projects with digital artists, thanks to a scheme run by FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), the media arts centre based in Liverpool. FACT is a National portfolio organisation and their partner organisation for this Veterans in Practice (VIP) programme is Liverpool Veterans Project, a one-stop shop developed by Breckfield and North Everton Neighbourhood Council to provide support to ex servicemen and women and for those leaving the services and residing in the Liverpool area. The VIP programme is currently funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Community Covenant and Liverpool FC Foundation. Under the scheme, a group of 10-15 ex-soldiers and other military personnel meet at FACT every week. The group is currently working on a website project which will offer information
Filming Atlantic Stars documentary. Credit Emily Gee
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and support to local veterans, their friends and family, and will provide a global platform for veterans to share their creative projects. The site will launch at the end of June 2014 and the group will also be premiering their latest documentary film Alternative Sceptics, a veterans’ guide to holistic therapies. Past projects include: • Atlantic Stars: a documentary film interviewing Atlantic Stars veterans. Plus linked photos and interviews • Statues Taking Liberties: a short animation about public art in Liverpool • Contact – an exhibition of photography and creative writing held at FACT In addition to these projects the group has held public events, screenings and discussions and has produced a newspaper, a blog and Facebook group to disseminate and discuss its work. ‘VIP has given me the confidence to go out again and start to mix with people. As a sufferer of post traumatic stress disorder, I found it difficult to mix with anyone other than military orientated people. Now I am finding it a lot easier after working with the staff from FACT and the artists and professionals on a number of projects… I now look forward to going to FACT each week to meet the rest of the group.’ Tom (member of VIP) The VIP programme is just one strand in FACT’s unique programme of exhibitions, film and participant-led art projects, which use the power of creative technology to inspire and enrich lives. Each year, FACT’s Community, Learning, Health and Young People’s programmes offer opportunities for more than 3,000 individuals from all backgrounds and ages to discover and be inspired by creative technology, art and film.
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Combating social isolation with creative activity
Homeless people in four Northern cities are rediscovering their self-confidence thanks to projects run by Streetwise Opera. Streetwise Opera is an award-winning charity that uses music to help homeless people make positive changes in their lives. Every year the organisation works with over 500 people who have experienced homelessness. Streetwise runs a weekly music workshop programme in 11 homeless centres around the country, four of which are in the North, in Manchester, Leeds, Middlesborough and Newcastle/Gateshead. These workshops are a dependable source of creative activity in lives where everything else can be changing.
Streetwise Opera. Credit: Asa Westerlund
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Streetwise Opera is introducing a new two-stage workshop programme in 2014 after a successful pilot in Manchester and Tyneside. With the new structure, the organisation aims to have two groups in every place where it works: a drop-in group based in a homeless centre and a group in an arts or community venue. These Explore Singing and Acting groups are open to graduates of the drop-in sessions and the wider community, helping to combat social isolation and prevent people returning to homelessness. Introducing new people to this programme comprises a series of four to six week residencies in homeless centres, which aim to improve confidence and self-esteem and give people a taste of what joining Streetwise would be like. Some fantastic new partnerships have been created with arts organisations hosting the Explore Singing and Acting groups – including in the North – mima in Middlesbrough, where Streetwise also maintain a continuing involvement with Sage Gateshead and Opera North. Streetwise also stage biennial productions which give their performers the chance to star in quality shows where there are high expectations, no compromise and no patronising. Past productions include With One Voice, which involved 300 performers from all over the UK with experience of homelessness. This production was hosted by the Royal Opera House as part of the London 2012 Festival – and was the first time that an event for homeless people was part of official Olympic celebrations. Arts Council England is Streetwise Opera’s principal funder.
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Making a difference to civic life in a rural area- and fostering a Turner Prize winner at the same time!
People living in the Coniston Valley in Cumbria benefit from the presence of Grizedale Arts in more ways than one: from the inspiring artworks created under its umbrella, from its input into the community, and from the kudos attached to its position as a national, internationally recognised, centre for the development of the arts working with its local context to address global cultural change. Grizedale Arts, a National portfolio organisation, is a residency and commissions agency for visual arts in the rural setting of the Coniston valley. It works to develop the contemporary arts in new directions with a programme of events, projects, residencies and community activity. Underpinning this programme is a philosophy that emphasises the use value of art, and promotes the functions of art and artists in practical and effective roles, as a central tenet of wider culture and society. It works alongside the local community to develop and realise the work. The recent Wantee and the Turner Prize Homecoming exhibition held at the Ruskin Museum in Cumbria, is a good example of how Grizedaleâ€™s approach reaches out to the local community. In December 2013 Laure Prouvost was announced as the winner of the 2013 Turner Prize on the back of the film and installation Wantee. This work, made in and around Coniston with the help of local craftspeople, John Ruskin School and Coniston Youth Club, was originally co-commissioned by Grizedale Arts and Tate as part of the Kurt Schwitters exhibition at Tate Britain earlier in the year. This return visit of the exhibition to its source involved the local community once again: members of Coniston Youth Club ran a tea room in the adjacent Coniston Institute Reading Room and Wantee merchandise, teapots, tea towels and works of art were made in the village to be sold during the exhibition. Other elements of the installation include a new work by Laure Prouvost made with Grizedale Arts and pupils of the John Ruskin School.
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Bringing the future here, now, via digital and creative media
Digital technologies enable artists to connect with audiences in new ways, bringing them into a closer relationship with the arts and creating new ways for them to take part. They also support the development of new business models, new networks and new forms of creativity. Included within our National portfolio are organisations that are active in the digital sphere, either through creating digital art or using digital technologies to support audience engagement work, which will help to deliver our goals and priorities. Two key such organisations in Manchester are FutureEverything and Cornerhouse. FutureEverything brings the future to Manchester with inspiring live experiences and industry events, engaging a wide audience and affiliating its partners with the very best in digital innovation. FutureEverything was founded in 1995 and is Manchesterâ€™s award-winning, internationally respected festival of ideas and digital invention. For almost 20 years FutureEverything has been at the heart of the digital debate, inspiring thinkers, city makers, developers, coders, artists and musicians to experiment and collaborate. Over 600 people attended the nineteenth FutureEverything conference in 2014, and among the key people they came to hear were James Bridle of the New Aesthetic, Simon Giles, Accentureâ€™s global lead for Intelligent Cities, Volker Buscher at Arup, economist Irene Ng, and Mike Bracken, Digital Director at UK Cabinet Office. FutureEverything 2014 included an art programme entitled City Fictions, which looked at the role of technology in the cities of the future, and explored how mass data gathering and surveillance is affecting our lives. This attracted well over 2,000 people, while the live programme was attended by over 3,000. During the 2014 festival, a significant project ,advanced by bringing together creative coders, was the Greater Manchester Data Synchronisation Programme (GMDSP). A collaboration between FutureEverything, the Connected Digital Economy Catapult and the Future Cities Catapult, GMDSP is developing a programme of work seeking to overcome a number of
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City Fiction, FutureEverything 2014. Credit Matt Eachus
challenges around the areas of capacity, support and dissemination in the coordinated release of Open Data. Cornerhouse is not only a flagship international centre for contemporary visual arts and independent film, as well as one of the British Film Instituteâ€™s hubs, but it is also one of the UKâ€™s leading centres for digital media. Recently merged with the Library Theatre and due to move in the spring of 2015 to a new purpose-built centre for international contemporary art, theatre, film and books called HOME, Cornerhouse offers a programme that aims to support, inform and help creative industry practitioners and those who aspire to enter the creative world. Cornerhouse provides a range of workshops, talks, opportunities and events to help individuals develop their skills and to encourage further innovative thinking in Manchester and beyond. Cornerhouse runs a unique digital reporter scheme which provides support and training for individuals who want to broaden their skills and portfolios in digital media to improve their
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chances of gaining employment within the creative industries. Every year, a cohort of 15 reporters undertakes a 10 month training programme. This involves regular workshops led by professionals covering areas such as photography, audio, video, effective use of social media and more. The participants also get hands-on experience in producing content based on the events that take place at Cornerhouse and HOME. These range from interviewing a director, to blogging about a preview of a new exhibition or documenting the journey of a theatre production. Regular digital workshops and talks for those wanting to fully engage and interact with their audiences online and/or gain practical digital skills are also run. From the art of blogging to making the most of twitter or learning to use Photoshop, these sessions provide participants with the techniques and skills required to make the most of digital media platforms and gain valuable advice from industry professionals. Talks and networking events offer inspiration and challenges from leading or innovating practitioners. These are often programmed in partnership with other organisations. Examples include TEDxManchester, a live broadcast of Thinking Digital and a regular Show & Tell event where artists and members of digital creative agencies talk about their practice, personal projects or source of inspiration.
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Helping the local economy
Manchester International Festival is the world’s first and only international commissioning festival. During the 2013 festival, over 300 performances of more than 30 new commissions and special events took place over 18 days. Audiences increased by nearly 10 per cent on the 2011 event to 250,000. Around 75 per cent of audiences came from Greater Manchester, with the rest from other parts of the UK and beyond, including visitors from more than 45 countries. The festival was an excellent showcase for the city and provided a major economic boost. The festival is a positive example of a mixed funding ecology – in addition to grants from Arts Council England and Manchester City Council, the 2013 festival raised just under £3 million from private sponsorship, individual giving, trusts and foundations -with many of the top tier sponsors having supported the festival over all four editions. The new MIF Members scheme was a sell-out, with 700 individuals joining to support the 2013 Festival with a £50 donation each. The next festival runs from 2-19 July 2015. In the North East, another festival – Lumiere 2013 – also brought with it substantial economic benefits. Lumiere 2013, Durham’s light festival, entertained 175,000 people over four evenings and attracted £4.3 million into County Durham’s economy.
Published on May 29, 2014
At the Arts Council we believe there is a powerful holistic case to be made for the value of arts and culture. Vital contributions are made...