Evaluation Case Study: Creative Collective and Mantelpiece

We look at the meanings we attach to objects and involving the Creative Collective in the Mantelpiece project.

April 2021

Image reads "Case Study: Creative Collective and Mantelpiece". In the background is an image of a mantelpiece with objects on the shelf.

This case study is part of our project evaluation for 2019/2020

We brought together a group of volunteers from communities in the local areas we work with. Known as the Creative Collective, they have worked with us over the last year to co-commission creative practitioners and plan arts activity in their towns and across the area. They got involved when we changed our programmes in response to Covid-19 helping us in decision-making for our micro-commission programme.

For one of the commissions, we wanted the group to have the chance to be participants too. They chose Mantelpiece by artist Michelle Brace. The project explored our connections with objects and their personal significance through recordings of each person telling the story of their object. Michelle encouraged the group to consider the meaning and memories behind their chosen objects and they worked together to learn and share digital skills needed for their recordings.

Download the full Creative Collective and Mantelpiece case study here.

Read the full 2019/20 evaluation report here.


An excerpt from the case study:

The Creative Collective directly builds on work developed in Phase 1 to give opportunities for local voice to feed into MarketPlace programming. The group had newly formed at the end of Phase 2 Year 1 and had begun joint planning a new programme of activity to roll out across the seven towns.

This year the Creative Collective has been integral in the commissioning process, user testing potential roll-out projects and matching artist ideas with relevant communities. The MarketPlace team identified a commission with the potential for cross-generational roll out across the towns. In discussion with the Creative Collective, they selected the commission as one they would participate in themselves.

Mantelpiece

Mantelpiece is a project in which groups share stories associated with objects to create a collective digital portrait of who they are to accompany their oral stories.

It has a very clear simple structure – set a group a brief to choose an object in their home and to share why it’s important, what it says about who you are, and a memory associated with it. In the sharing of the story, it gets recorded. Each object is photographed and composited into a group shot around mantelpiece, a place known for showing prized possessions.

Pictured: Left: The final image of the groups items in pride of place on the mantelpiece. Right: Screenshot of the audio files of the group telling the stories behind their chosen object.

Download the full Creative Collective and Mantelpiece case study here.

Read more about the Mantelpiece project with Michelle Brace here.