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Out and About with Greater Creative

Greater Creative working party team member Katherine Childs gives us an insight into a workshop day in which the team discussed, shared and generated ideas for the Greater Creative project.

A wet and rainy Saturday in October saw some of the Greater Creative team head down the M1 to meet up with ‘Don’t Get any Ideas’, another group taking part in the Creative Civic Change. They kindly hosted us in their fantastic community venue in Corby for a day of workshops that helped us think about what change we wanted to see in our communities, and how we would go about measuring that change.

To start with, we had to give a “lift pitch”, a two-minute talk about our project. I talked about how Greater Creative has a vision to create a connected, playful parish where co-production is at the heart of community action. I also outlined the three different strands to our project. It was also interesting to hear about what the 'Don’t Get Any Ideas' group are hoping to do, and to realise that there are lots of similarities between our communities.

One of the next activities was to create two newspaper front pages. Our first page was all about our community now, and the second page was what we want our community to look like in three years’ time. I really enjoyed this activity, because I had been reflecting at a recent working party meeting about how the media seem to love running down ex-coalfield communities with stories of doom and gloom. The opportunity to change the narrative and think about the positive ways our community could shine was really powerful and framed the rest of the day with hope, vision and purpose.

Next came the challenging part: some thinking about exactly what will be different as a result of our project, and what questions we need to ask to find out whether those differences were actually happening. This needed lots of coffee, post-it notes and discussions, both before and after lunch. But we started to get the outline of a plan together, and it is liberating to know that these plans can adapt and grow with us over the next three years.

In the last session, we got to play! An organisation called ‘Doink’ challenged us to think about how we could include creativity to answer the questions we’d come up with. They showed us some of the ideas they had tried, including the use of colour to create art as well as capture moods and strength of feelings. From this, we explored one of our questions about how closely people feel they are connected to their local community and came up with the idea of a weaving gallery, with different points in the community being the warp (vertical) threads, and each person being represented as a weft (horizontal) thread that could be woven through and knotted at the points of connection.

Thanks to ‘Don’t Get Any Ideas’ for providing us with lunch, a supply of biscuits, great coffee and lots of interesting chat and to the facilitators for helping us to get the most out of the day.

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