Active Ashfield: engaging non-arts audiences through creative partnerships

Active Ashfield: engaging non-arts audiences through creative partnerships

By Kevin Tennant, First Art


Creative People and Places project First Art shares its experience of weaving arts activities into an established non-arts event.

About First Art

First Art is a partnership that links cultural and community organisations working within the former coalfields of North East Derbyshire and North East Nottinghamshire. It is one of 21 Creative People and Places projects across the country, funded by Arts Council England.

About Active Ashfield

Active Ashfield is a programme run by Ashfield District Council (ADC) in Nottinghamshire to encourage more people to get physically active.

Ashfield is an area of former heavy industry, including mining and textiles. It has a heritage of sporting achievement, producing local heroes like cricketers Harold Larwood and Bill Voce as well as modern Olympians and Paralympians.

The Active Ashfield programme contains a number of well attended events with a focus on sport and physical activity.

Arts for non-arts platforms

We saw Active Ashfield as an opportunity to introduce high quality artists and acts to existing non-arts platforms. In doing so, we hoped to attract a traditional non-arts audience to arts activity.

We introduced an increasingly ambitious range and depth of outdoor arts into Active Ashfield events. We wanted to explore the meeting point between arts and sport and broaden the understanding of being 'active' to include dance, circus, visual arts and carnival.

The major platform

We identified Active Ashfield Games as a major event in the overall programme. It is a small olympics-inspired festival held in Kirkby-in-Ashfield town park. It was a perfect platform to build on the success of the Cultural Olympiad and connect arts and sport.

The target audience

Working with the Audience Agency's Area Profile report for our area, we identified that Kirkby had larger than average audience sectors of Facebook Families and Up Our Street. This meant that our main available audiences were younger, semi urban and with a taste for family friendly entertainment.

Download the case study to read more:
Active Ashfield (PDF)

Image courtesy of First Art © S.M. Scully

Resource type: Case studies | Published: 2017