Touring Arts to Southeast Libraries

Are you from a library in the south east? Are you an artist who has toured work to libraries, or is it something you are considering? You may even be from a library elsewhere in the country but have had a fantastic experience with touring arts you’d like to share.

In partnership with Arts Council England, over the next seven months we are looking into south east libraries touring. We want to find out how library services have been getting involved with touring arts and finding ways to provide their users with opportunities to experience arts and culture. We want to know what sort of work artists and touring companies have been touring to libraries, their motivations, highlights, and what insights they’ve had into good libraries touring models.

We aim to support libraries and artists offer more touring arts to communities linked with libraries, some of whom may not usually visit an arts venue. Libraries offer a neutral, familiar and welcoming space for everyone; the ideal setting for offering an arts event which provides enjoyment, learning, new experiences and a sense of community.

We would like to introduce Claudia West from Arts Council England, who is supporting our enquiry into libraries touring in the south east. Hear Claudia talk about our project and what’s up and coming for you to get involved with.

Survey

If you are an artist, touring company, or from a library service in the south east, please complete this artists survey  (for artists!) or libraries survey (for libraries!) to help us find out ways to support more libraries touring in the southeast. The deadline for this survey is Wednesday 30th October. Please share the relevant survey with your network – we want to hear from artists and touring companies, library assistants, volunteers, senior management; people getting involved with touring to libraries in diverse ways so we can see the bigger picture.

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Video series

Next month we begin collaborating with people with libraries touring experience, across the south east and beyond, to offer videos covering several topics surrounding arts in libraries. On the Mondays below we will release a video on this blog, and we will invite you to pose any questions to the presenter who can address those in their video.

Monday 14 October

Lyndsey Wilson, Company Manager at Culturapedia talks Spot On Libraries in Lancashire, focusing on her unique approach to working with libraries

Monday 11 November

Krystal Vittles from Suffolk Libraries discusses perceptions of the library in libraries touring

Monday 25 November

Joanna Gray, Partnerships, Projects and Funding Manager at Cambridge County Council talks arts partner and effective communication between libraries and artists

Monday 9 December

Dayna White, Programme and Development Officer from The Curve in Slough – with topic ‘knowing your communities, and knowing quality’

Monday 17 February

Sarah Bedingfield, Service Manager Innovation, Digital and Libraries, Kent County Council, discusses feedback and evaluation strategies which support more consistent arts activity

The deadline for submitting your questions for each presenter will be two Mondays before the video release – email questions to juliastafford@creativeartseast.co.uk

Learning Resources to support libraries touring

Based on our research, and what we learn from you through the survey, we will be creating a toolkit to support you in libraries touring. The resource will be available both online and as a handy booklet, which will be available at the Pitch Up event taking place on March 20th – see more about this below.

Pitch Up Libraries

An important date for your diary: Friday 20th March

Invitations for this event are to follow; for now keep the date in your diary to join us and library services from across the south east at a Pitch Up Libraries event. Taking place at Chesham Library, it will be an exciting day for libraries, artists and arts venues to initiate conversations for possible collaborations on touring work to libraries, and meet arts venues with the potential for partnerships in providing more enriching arts and cultural experiences for library communities.

If you want to find out more email juliastafford@creativeartseast.co.uk

SURVEY

Once again here are the survey links for artists and for libraries.

Please share this as widely as possible with your network: the more people we hear from, the more we can help people access arts in libraries.

Do get in touch with Julia at juliastafford@creativeartseast.co.uk if you would like to find out more about any of the above, or simply to share your libraries touring experience.

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What A Year! Our Highlights of 2018

2018 was a huge year for us here at CAE. We’ve been shouting much louder about the significant and transformative impact the arts can have on rural communities, particularly in terms of health, wellbeing and aspirations, and have been committed as always to demonstrating this throughout all of our work. This culminated in us being crowned ‘Rural Social Enterprise, Charity or Community Project of the Year’ at the East of England Regional Finals of the Rural Business Awards, and we’ll be heading to the National Finals in February 2019 to compete against the winners of the other regions. The team have so many other highlights of 2018, and we’ve picked out a few of them to share below!

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Our Day Out Celebration Events: One of our favourite parts of running the Spirit of 2012-funded Our Day Out project (participatory music and dance workshops for isolated older people in Norfolk), is when we bring all the groups together to meet up, sing and dance as one. In 2018 we had two fantastic events with our 6 groups: The Big Sing in March with musicians Mary and Kim, and the Sharing Day at Cley Wildlife Centre in October with Glass House Dance and Les Chappell. It’s such a joy to see our participants share in creativity and see just how much they get out of attending the sessions.

Films With Friends: We teamed up with South Norfolk Council and East of England Co-op to deliver the Films With Friends Project – an initiative aimed at making village cinema more accessible for people living with dementia and to raise awareness about the condition. Seven of our South Norfolk cinema groups took part – they received Dementia Friends sessions at their screenings; a ‘how to’ guide and training from academic specialists; and bespoke marketing to increase awareness amongst the wider community that these groups are taking steps to become more dementia friendly.

Take On Me:2Y9A4830KK25 This was definitely one of the most exciting projects we got involved with last year! We teamed up with award-winning theatre company Dante or Die as they toured their 80s themed show ‘Take On Me’ to leisure centres across the country. We helped them bring it to Alive Oasis in Hunstanton, West Norfolk, and worked with an amazing Local Coordinator Debbie and an outstanding community cast to make the show happen. Our favourite outcome was the life-changing impact the experience had on the community cast, with many telling us how taking part had improved their confidence enormously.

Writers’ Residencies and Commissions with Inn Crowd: Last year, we’ve worked with the National Centre for Writing to commission two writers’ residencies in rural Norfolk pubs, as part of the Inn Crowd project. Inn Crowd supports rural pubs to host live spoken-word inspired performances and to engage different audiences that perhaps wouldn’t normally attend arts events, and reinforces the pub as an important community hub. Acclaimed spoken-word artists Byron Vincent and Luke Wright both spent time in different rural communities in Norfolk in 2018, observing rural life and how the pub functions as part of this. Their observations have formed part of new work, which will be touring pubs in 2019.

SantaOur First Fundraiser: In December, we held our first ever fundraising quiz! We’re aiming to raise £25,000 during our anniversary year to ensure we can continue to make a difference to rural communities for another 25 years, and our Christmas Quiz was the first big event we’ve done to help us reach this target. It was a fantastic night, with friends, family, staff and board members joining in on the fun. Keep an eye on our social media and newsletter for the total amount raised!

 

So that’s some of our highlights of 2018… what are yours? Were you involved with or did you attend any Creative Arts East-supported projects last year? What were your favourites?

We’re looking forward to an exciting 2019 ahead, so do keep up to date with all of our news, content and upcoming events via our blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and monthly e-newsletter.

Photo Credits: Anita Staff and Trish Thompson

The Big Sing: A Recap of a Great Day Out

As well as our core rural touring schemes (Creative Arts East Screen and Live!), we also deliver a variety of projects in the Eastern region, which involve different community groups. Over the last few years, one of our biggest projects has become ‘Our Day Out’. This project began in 2016, with the help of our major funding partner, Spirit of 2012 Trust. As part of the project, we work with professional artists to deliver creative, participatory music and dance workshops specifically designed to involve the older generation in arts and cultural activity. We run sessions twice a month in 6 different locations across Norfolk, with the artists leading the sessions  changing every 3 months. The project offers participants the chance to meet new people, have fun, and get creative, all in a dementia-inclusive environment.

Since January, the sessions have been delivered by local musical artists Mary and Kim, and participants have been taking part in singing workshops, singing favourites from yesteryear, learning new styles, and even trying their hand at song-writing! To mark the end of Mary and Kim’s time with our participants, we brought all of the groups together for a ‘Big Sing’ on Thursday 29th March at Dereham Memorial Hall.

The Big Sing was a fantastic celebration of the songs the participants have been learning over the last few months, and it gave everyone the opportunity to meet people from the other groups. Each of the 6 groups had been working on their own verse of the sea shanty ‘In This Windy Old Weather’ over the course of the sessions, and so ‘The Big Sing’ allowed all the groups to join their verses together and create their own personalised version of this classic song. As well as the singing, there was laughter, chatter, and of course, no ‘Our Day Out’ event would be complete without refreshments, so we made sure there was plenty of tea and cake on hand!

Our funders, Spirit of 2012 Trust, attended the Big Sing, and said this about the success of the event:

“It was a great event and the joy amongst participants was palpable when they were singing and in the breaks. It was genuinely moving to see what a great time they were having and the release that singing and being in a group can bring. Spirit of 2012 is very proud to fund such an inclusive and inspirational project, bringing people together to have fun, make friends and explore their creativity. ”

We’ve loved partnering with Mary and Kim, and are looking forward to our next lot of ‘Our Day Out’ sessions kicking off this week! The artists we’ll be working with from April till June will be Tessa Wingate, and Zahara Belly Dance. Half of the groups will make more music with Tessa, while the other half will join Zahara with gentle belly dancing-style movements! Check out the upcoming sessions here!

Wells-next-the-Sea (The Sackhouse at Wells Maltings, Jicklings Yard, Wells-Next-The-Sea, NR23 1AU)

Tuesday 10th April 1pm-3pm
Tuesday 24th April 1pm-3pm
Tuesday 8th May 1pm-3pm
Tuesday 22th May 1pm-3pm

Thetford (Thetford Methodist Church, Tanner St, Thetford IP24 2BQ)

Friday 6th April 2pm-4pm
Friday 20th April 2pm-4pm
Friday 4th May 2pm-4pm
Friday 18th May 2pm-4pm

Dereham (The Meeting Point, St Withburga Lane, Dereham, NR19 1DF)

Friday 13th April 2pm-4pm
Friday 27th April 10am-12pm
Friday 11th May 2pm-4pm
Friday 25th May 10am-12pm

Watton (Christian Community Centre, 57 High Street, Watton, IP25 6AB)

Thursday 5th April 2pm-4pm
Thursday 19th April 2pm-4pm
Thursday 3rd May 2pm-4pm
Thursday 17th May 2pm-4pm

Attleborough (St Mary’s Community Hall, Church Street, Attleborough NR17 2AH)

Friday 13th April 10am-12pm
Friday 27th April 1:15pm-3:15pm
Friday 11th May 10am-12pm
Friday 25th May 1:15pm-3:15pm

North Walsham (Cameo Café, Furze Hill Resource Centre, 73 Happisburgh Road, North Walsham, NR28 9HD)

Thursday 12th April 1:30pm-3:30pm

Thursday 26th April 1:30pm-3:30pm

Thursday 10th May 1:30pm-3:30pm

Thursday 24th May 1:30pm-3:30pm

 

If you’d like more information about the project, whether it’s joining in yourself or recommending a friend or family member, please do get in touch on 01953 713390. We’re always looking for volunteers as well, so get in touch here if you want to give back to your local community by helping out at the sessions.