How it All Began
The Creative Civic Change fund was an opportunity launched in 2018 that was funded by Big Lottery Fund, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, and Local Trust. The grants programme was set up to support communities to help create positive change in their communities using the arts and creativity.
We (Platform Thirty1) a not-for-profit creative organisation have been working with the community in Blackwell Parish for the last three years and much of our remit about closing the gap on cultural inequality in coalfield areas and enabling people to ‘do’. We have worked with the community in Blackwell parish on several projects and had big ambitions to do more with them…So…with several keen movers and shakers in the Parish ranging from the ages of 14 – 70 years old we applied to the fund with an Expression of Interest back in September 2018 with a collective vision to: To be a community-led, connected, playful and proud parish that pro-actively and creatively commemorates and celebrates its people and places.
We knew this fund would help us to work towards this vision by bringing people together through ‘doing’; thinking, developing, risk taking, reinvigorating and creating together to unlock the potential of our existing and under-developed and not-yet-known strengths, not to mention our physical sites in the community! Our expression of interest focused on working on these four strands:
ARTS & CREATIVITY: We want to be a place that regularly and organically works together on creative projects, and recognises and values playful creation. By building on existing talents and interests through specialist artistic interventions we want local people to feel an ownership over the area’s creativity and artistic assets and a true sense of belonging within them.
HERITAGE: Our industrial heritage and its demise is still relatively youthful. The disruption of our communities loss caused is still raw for some members of the community who have witnessed first-hand the social, environmental and economic effects of limited employment opportunities. Positive stories told to younger generations are tinged with bitter loss. Our parish is not what it once was. Celebrating our community’s heritage and heydays through physically creating works and re-living/appropriating them as a collective; pooling our knowledge, histories, skills and curiosities to create something new for us to enjoy!
YOUTH: We want to be a place that recognises the strength of our young creative residents by providing a series of opportunities for young leaders and young people to participate in local cultural opportunities. We have hopes to create sustainable youth-led change across the whole parish.
INTERGENERATIONAL: Through creative facilitation we want to provide intergenerational opportunities for knowledge and skills sharing amongst residents, in turn impacting on community wellbeing and the sustainability of the changes we make. We want to find new ways to instil the desire and openness for intergenerational connectedness that our once strong but now diminishing ‘over the garden fence’ mentality once facilitated.