Right Up Our Street: Engaging Communities in the Arts
Right Up Our Street uses a model of grassroots development, with an Arts Supporter on the ground, to connect people and drive forward creative ideas from a community team.
Right Up Our Street is a three year programme in Doncaster funded by the Arts Council England's Creative People and Places programme.
This case study focuses on the development of a Community Team and arts programme in Balby. Since September 2013, an Arts Supporter has been working in the area to engage the local community in a range of arts activities. Drawing on interviews with programme staff (including the Arts Supporter) and Community Team members, this case study summarises what has been achieved by the RUOS programme in Balby to date.
Grassroots development has been a success, reaching out to the local community and supporting a group to create a programme of engaging art for the area; the success of which is demonstrated by local people’s interest in and willingness to become involved. The work is helping to change people’s perceptions about where they live and what happens there. Those most closely involved have benefited in a variety of ways, particularly in increased confidence, both to develop arts in the area and pursue new opportunities in everyday life.
The Arts Supporter played a key role, driving and steering forward the arts activities by becoming a trusted friend and challenging people’s preconceptions about the arts, raising the bar in terms of what people want to engage in creatively.
Establishing and maintaining a Community Team helps to make links locally but it takes time to build relationships and trust in communities (in this case it was about a year for the group to build confidence and be able to make a meaningful contribution), which needs to be built into programme planning and delivery.
Use of a familiar but non arts space (in this case a library) has been a win-win, increasing engagement and sustainability both in the arts and for the library itself.