Tips, tools and case studies from Creative People and Places projects.
Collaborating with local people to shape relevant and inspiring arts programmes
By Louise White for MB Associates
There are many different forms and levels of engagement across Creative People and Places (CPP): a programme that has at its heart the desire for local people to be active collaborators in the choosing and creating of arts experiences. What CPP Places are learning about sharing decisions – and power – with their participants is increasingly relevant in participatory arts practices more broadly.
Shared decision-making involves shifting the balance of power from arts practitioners and organisations to include a spectrum of local voices: for example community members, local businesses and community organisations. It creates a space where different perspectives are valued. CPP Places have found that this results in a more meaningful, locally relevant programme that increases people’s engagement in the arts. Those who share in the decisions become invested in the art and spread the word, and local people see a stronger fit with their locality. They share pride and ownership of something that is ‘of’ and ‘with’ the community rather than just ‘for’ the community.
Commissioned by the CPP National Evaluation, this resource offers a collection of project examples, tips and tools that show some of the ways that CPP Places are creating opportunities for people to steer and participate in project-level decisions. The tools have been created by CPP teams or informed by interviews with team members.
Woven throughout are questions and quotes drawn from Chrissie Tiller’s thought-provoking think piece Power Up. Commissioned at the same time as this practical resource, Power Up unearths and explores some of the complexities and challenges of sharing power, drawing on experiences across the CPP programmes.
This resource is for you if...You are:
- an arts practitioner
- a creative producer
- an organisation of any size...with a mission to engage local people in arts, culture and creativity.
- to develop locally-resonant, creative programming by involving your local community in sharing decisions to shape it.
Cover image: Creative Barking and Dagenham. Audience at DAGfest 2015, curated by a steering group of local residents. Photo credit: Dabuju Media