creative people and places

We need your input to support a consortium bid for the Arts Council Creative People & Places funding scheme in BARROW-IN-FURNESS.

“Right through February we’ll be trying to hear from as many people as
possible about their ideas about anything creative and cultural they’d like to
see happen.”

Developed by Arts Council England, there are 21 Creative People and Places projects UK-wide in areas where people have traditionally had fewer opportunities to get involved with the arts. In Blackpool it supported a huge aerial show with dancers performing on a vertical stage in front of towering video projections. Over in Hull there were musical flashmobs on the buses and in Tyneside there was RUSH, an Olympic-scale performance in the St Hilda’s colliery where 120 volunteers put on a high-energy show designed to be an outlet for everyday frustrations.  

Barrow has been invited by the Arts Council to put in its own bid by March 21 setting out its dream-programme of events and initiatives.

Maddi said: “We really want our bid to be from the grass roots, so it’s not a big one-off event here and there, but something ongoing that gives lots of skills to the community, trains up new artists’ and has a lasting effect. Before we settle on what goes in the plan we want to hear from as many people as possible, so that it’s truly reflective of what residents would be excited to see happen.”

Groups including Full of Noises, Signal Film & Media, Cumbria County Council, Brathay Trust, Natural England and Ashton Group Theatre have already been meeting to share their ideas and are now busy gathering more views.

Now a consultation survey seeking ideas, a name for the project and identifying existing interests has been launched online. Groups are also holding drop-in consultation events and Barrow Library has its iPads out so people can submit their ideas online there

Barrow is a unique and distinctive place and it can feel like the outside world is always trying to define us – the most working class, unhappiest town, top for drug deaths and poverty, “famous for being forgotten and depressed” according to travel writer Bill Bryson…

But this project is being developed that aims to change perceptions by looking at all its positives – its great people, gorgeous places, and the passions and pursuits of its residents, old and young. Filling empty shops with art, film and performance, sculptures and events at Barrow’s most beautiful sites, and a huge celebration parade in the town centre are some of the ideas being considered for a pitch to bring £2million pounds worth of grass roots arts investment into Barrow.

Local community & arts groups have been meeting to put together a bid to Arts Council England to create 4-years-worth of events as part of its Creative People & Places Programme. Led by Women’s Community Matters, they’re asking people to share their own ideas about the sorts of things they’d love to see happening in the town.  

Its Senior Officer Rebecca Rawlings said: “Ask anyone in the street in Barrow-in-Furness for help and the first thing they’ll reply isn’t ‘what do you want?’ but ‘what can I do?’ We have a unique culture here and this project could give us the resources to celebrate and grow the best things about Barrow, through all kinds of arts and culture activities that everyone can get involved in.

“Culture has led fantastic regeneration in cities across the UK,” said Maddi Nicholson, of project partner Art Gene.  “Edinburgh has a thriving tourist industry because of its festivals, Liverpool and Hull were transformed by their experiences as Capitals of Culture. This is a great opportunity for Barrow to capture some real investment to put on exciting things here, delivering the feel-good factor and giving people more reasons to love Barrow, live in Barrow and spend in Barrow.”

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