Community engagement reimagined

Working with the community isn't what it was. Today's community projects are breeding ground for boundary pushing creative. Enter Michael White and Minions...

By: Clare Howdle,   1 minute

There are a lot of projects springing up at the moment that focus on unique communities. Micro initiatives that hold relevance, opportunity and meaning for the cluster of individuals, professionals and families directly involved with them, specific to the context, landscape and emotions that have made that community what it is.

But what makes these projects so interesting to more than the people directly associated with them is the people directly associated with them.

Unlike times gone by, when community ‘engagement’ and community driven arts carried a certain connotation and – deservedly or otherwise – conjured up images of old ladies’ water colour classes in fusty town halls, many of today’s community arts projects are driven by young, creative professionals who want to celebrate, motivate and connect with the communities in which they live and work.

These people are on the leading edge, informing the thinking, techniques and technologies that are sculpting our modern creative landscape, then bringing that edge back into community arts. They are pushing the boundary of what’s possible, challenging people’s preconceptions and reinvigorating their community, one Grant for Arts application at a time.

Project’s like pioneering theatre company Lone Twin’s Boat Project and Splash and Ripple’s Ghosts in the Garden are two such inspiring projects I’ve come across recently.

Then there’s Michael White.  A creative producer living on Bodmin Moor with an exciting idea bubbling up, an idea which he  came to talk to us about.

He’s looking to draw together the local community, talented writers, GPS technology, world class composers and leading actors to create an immersive, filmic, narrative experience like nothing else.

And once he’s done it he wants to open it up for other creative communities to do too. Michael is one of those people putting the edge back into community arts and we’re very pleased to have met him.

We’ve got all our fingers crossed that the funding applications go through so that we can get involved in his project. It promises to be extraordinary. More details soon….


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