Engaging communities in the arts

Engaging communities in the arts

By Ecorys UK


Explore Creative Barking and Dagenham's approach to community engagement in this case study, which focuses on the impact and outcomes of the programme and examines good practice and sustainability.

Project summary

Creative Barking and Dagenham (CBD) is an inspiring programme of arts and creative activities for people living, working and socialising in Barking and Dagenham. CBD aims to create new ways for local people to experience outstanding arts and creative activities, and to promote the borough as a place where exciting art, of all forms, is made and shown.

CBD is one of 21 Creative People and Places (CPP) programmes funded by Arts Council England. It is managed by a steering group of arts and non-arts partners.

Drawing on interviews with CBD staff, Cultural Connectors - CBD's network of local residents who are involved in all aspects of the programme, and CBD's blog, this case study explores community engagement in practice, and focuses on the impact and outcomes of the programme. It further examines the approaches that are considered to be good practice and unpicks the building blocks for success and programme sustainability.

Key findings

CBD has community engagement at the heart of its programme. CBD has built a growing network of Cultural Connectors which are involved in all aspects of the programme, from design to decision making.

CBD’s approach to the whole programme is flexible and adaptive which has allowed the programme to develop organically from the grassroots and be responsive to the needs of the community, which means that local people are starting to engage in the arts more.

Local artists and creative people are now starting to see Barking and Dagenham as a more attractive place to live and work, as a result of CBD improving the borough’s identity as a creative place and increasing the visibility of its arts and cultural offer.

Download the case study to read more

Resource type: Case studies | Published: 2016