Case Study: Let’s Take a Walk/ Walking Companion

This case study is part of our project evaluation for Phase 2

In October 2020, artist Genevieve Rudd responded to the MarketPlace commissioning process of Creative Conversations in Lockdown with the idea of a workshop that would connect people, using creative activities to explore their local environment on their daily Lockdown walks. We developed the project in collaboration with Brandon Creative Forum and community members to become a digital guided creative walk.

Read the full Let’s Take a Walk/ Walking Companion case study here.

Read the full Phase 2 evaluation report here.


An excerpt from the case study:

In 2020, Genevieve had pivoted to Zoom group creative sessions during the first lockdown but had never undertaken a blended distance engagement approach to facilitate creative experiences. Enabling connection for groups unable to meet due to national restrictions and responding to a national trend of residents exploring their hyper-local natural landscape, this concept met the self-identified needs of local community groups that MarketPlace had been working with. The Creative Agents wanted to find ways to unlock doorstep curiosity creatively whilst enabling community groups to remain connected during the national restrictions.

Testing and trialling with community members who show a willingness to try something creates the potential for new advocates to learn and ensure that the ideas work before rolling out to wider, more cautious community members.

The Walk ’n’ Craft Group, based in Mildenhall, and the Can’t Sing Choir, based in March, participated in timed socially distanced (in line with the government restrictions at the time) group creative walks that were led by Genevieve using WhatsApp to send prompts.

Read the full Let’s Take a Walk/ Walking Companion case study here.

Read the full Phase 2 evaluation report here.

Case Study: Community Producer

This case study is part of our project evaluation for Phase 2

We worked with two local residents, one from Fenland and one from Forest Heath, to support them as Community Producers in 2021. They brought local knowledge and contacts to commissions and events, developed their skills and made creative things happen in their places with their communities.

Read the full Community Producer case study here.

Read the full Phase 2 evaluation report here.


An excerpt from the case study:

Developing local people in cultural opportunities helps upskill and raise the ambition of art appetites by creating ownership over the activities. The community producers operate as advocates and a trusted source for local people and businesses to engage and activity partner. This has become an organic evolution from the Creative Collective, and Creative Forum structures the team has created. They identify development opportunities for each member.

Identifying talent, creating opportunities and the space to step into learning and leading happens through a subtle approach on a project-by-project basis. First, local people are engaged through an invitation and a reassurance of their skills and abilities.

Newmarket resident and Creative Collective member Louise Eatock has a passion and interest in the music scene and organising pop-up activities in local venues, but has big ideas for Newmarket’s needs for local people. Louise met Creative Agent Ali at a local authority community network meeting during the first phase of the activity, and Ali supported Louise in delivering the workshop activity. When the Creative Collective formed in Phase 2, Year 2, Ali invited her to join the group.

Louise helped commission ideas for the new Creative Conversations In Lockdown model as part of the Creative Collective. This process identified a commission that Louise could support and co-deliver with the artists as a local community representative. In addition, working on the More than Music project with Matt Cooper and Leanne Moden enabled Louise to take on a different role as a community producer on the project.

“It’s been a good experience working with MarketPlace. Ali (Creative Agent) is super supportive; she has helped me understand what my role could be in the community. Because before I met Ali, I was sort of thinking that I kind of had to not only organise everything but do everything myself as well. And she’s introduced me to other artists.

I’ve got a much clearer idea of programming arts in the community through working with Ali, so it’s been a good experience.” – Louise Eatock, Community Producer

Hilary Cox Condron, Louise Eatock and Colin Stevens at Newmarket Earth Arts Festival 2021.

Read the full Community Producer case study here.

Read the full Phase 2 evaluation report here.

Case Study: Brandon Creative Forum

This case study is part of our project evaluation for Phase 2

Brandon Creative Forum is a community group established in the first phase of MarketPlace, delivering their first event in 2016. With MarketPlace support they have organised 4 local festivals with Tales and Trails 2019 their largest to date. We have supported them to continue local activities as far as possible through the pandemic, with all its challenges, and they are still growing from strength to strength.

Read the full Brandon Creative Forum case study here.

Read the full Phase 2 evaluation report here.


An excerpt from the case study:

In 2019 the group had no ambitions or desire to become a constituted group: they aspired to develop a central hub for cultural activity, enable the community to think about Brandon positively and organise events for everyone to access. At this stage, the group of 4 core leaders universally identified a desire to develop skills in commissioning and to consolidate their learning to date.

Throughout the pandemic, MarketPlace supported the forum and their wider community interest groups to remain connected, develop digital skills, and participate in shortlisting, commissioning, and testing new projects ideas.

Two members of the forum are also members of the Creative Collective. This enabled the group to identify learning from other towns and recognise their skills and achievements whilst participating in commissioning, shortlisting, and interviewing commissions.

“We still need youngsters to come in with us on the forum. And we are working on that, but it’s such a strange town. But having talked to Wisbech as part of the Creative Collective we can see that their problems are the same as our problems and then we could work out a solution together from that.” – Jill, Blanchard Brandon Creative Forum

Through remote working and digital connectivity with MarketPlace, the forum became more embedded in the team’s processes. It started to identify the community’s needs in the face of the pandemic, beyond activities and events for enjoyment.

By August 2020, the group took steps to become constituted and, in 2021, challenged what their perceptions of a central hub could and should look like by taking on a market stall to begin to reach wider communities.

Read the full Brandon Creative Forum case study here.

Read the full Phase 2 evaluation report here.

Case Study: Surviving Lockdown

This case study is part of our project evaluation for Phase 2.

During the first summer of the pandemic in 2020, MarketPlace supported Wisbech photographers Jenna Bristow and Steve Hubbard of Click Therapy CIC to create a collection of images that tell a story of a town coping with Covid19. The project developed into an exploration into the connection between the medium of photography to support people’s wellbeing and mental health.

Read the full Surviving Lockdown case study here.

Read the full Phase 2 evaluation report here.


An excerpt from the case study:

During the first summer of the pandemic in 2020, Wisbech photographers Jenna Bristow and Steve Hubbard of Click Therapy CIC created a collection of images that tell a story of a town coping with Covid19. As photographers interested in using digital cameras to support people’s wellbeing and mental health, they invited local residents to contribute three words that summed up their life experiences during lockdown as a portrait and record of Wisbech in that time. The Creative Conversations in Lockdown commission created a book of resident feelings and stories left over a dedicated phone and text service called Lockdown Easedown. They were capturing a universal moment in time this project was revisited for further development.

As the pandemic continued, a further investment was made to continue to evolve this project idea and document the impact of the latest lockdown on residents. The power of sharing and telling stories that resonated from the first book, ‘Lockdown Easedown’, was highlighted as a development opportunity to be embedded from the beginning of this second commission. Partnering with writer Bel Greenwood, lunchtime online workshops developed the creative writing skills and contributions of Wisbech residents, the Click Therapy artists and community organisers to reflect upon their experiences.

The participants wanted to share their stories more widely, they lent themselves to being performed but the participants didn’t want to do that themselves, so a connection with the local theatre group was made. The vulnerable nature of some of the stories being shared could have left participants increasingly vulnerable by sharing them directly, alongside developing new skills to adapt and perform their work. Drawing upon the skills and interests of community producer Jodie Hicks, she reformed her theatre troupe to bring the experiences of selected stories to life and launch the second book, ‘Surviving Lockdown’.

“I’ve been in a theatre group with my friends Chris and Glenn for a couple of years. So we haven’t actually done anything for a long time, and then I started working for MarketPlace. Colin, Creative Agent, spoke about my interests, and I said my primary interest is theatre and stuff like that. Colin, just kind of, came up to me and said, ‘I have an idea I’ve been working on with Click Therapy that would lend itself quite well to kind of theatrical reading. And would you, or know anyone, [who would] be up for it?’ And I kind of thought, well, it seemed quite ideal for us and to see them as kind of monologues.” – Jodie Hicks, Alternate Orbit Theatre

Read the full Surviving Lockdown case study here.

Read the full Phase 2 evaluation report here.

Case Study: Objects and Stories

This case study is part of our project evaluation for Phase 2.

In 2020 Michelle Brace was commissioned by MarketPlace and the Creative Collective to pilot an objects-inspired oral storytelling project, ‘Mantlepiece’ to connect and celebrate communities. This project has since tested and developed it’s distance engagement methods as an intergenerational project between a school and a care home. In this latest testing phase the model trials democratised delivery and archiving potential within community organisations and by community advocates.

Read the full Objects and Stories case study here.

Read the full Phase 2 evaluation report here.


An excerpt from the case study:

The first iteration of the project tested the model of remote recording and artwork production with groups during lockdown over Zoom. The first iteration saw the collective share objects and stories over Zoom and send their content to Michelle to create a SoundCloud library of their stories and a group portrait of objects to represent the group.

The sharing and intergenerational potential of the project, due to the nostalgia of items shared by people, resulted in a second commission testing a distance delivery model between a care home and a school group. This enabled sharing of heritage and learning about past generations whilst increasing the wellbeing and feelings of value felt by care home residents. This delivery model provided resources and instructions to staff to deliver the activity to safeguard against COVID-19 transmission. This resulted in an exhibition of the stories and objects including the responses of the children to the experience.

When MarketPlace was approached by Suffolk Libraries to partner on their Let’s Get Creative programme and platform development, Michelle’s project was a natural fit for working across multiple locations to create a sense of ownership and belonging of libraries with its existing users and new audiences. Objects and Stories is the latest iteration of this concept, testing a new devolved delivery approach.

MarketPlace has a specified geographical area for delivery and so Michelle delivered the project in Brandon, and Community Producer Louise led delivery in Newmarket, with mentoring from Michelle. A training day was held in order to reach the wider West Suffolk Libraries to support the staff through the experience and to explore the potential for delivering activity directly with their service users.

When we did the CPD session with library staff I came away feeling overjoyed and convinced that this is a great idea and works with everyone. They all came with a story, some thought out, others grabbed on the go, but they each told a compelling story of who they are. The objects provide a lovely way to connect people and enable them to be vulnerable and share, as it’s an insight into who they are. They become not just a person in a library but a guy who had a fine art degree.’ – Michelle Brace, artist

Read the full Objects and Stories case study here.

Read the full Phase 2 evaluation report here.

MarketPlace in a Minute

In Summer 2021, Creative People and Places launched a project called 60 Second Stories. A series of mini films from each of the 30 CPP projects. Giving insight into how we co-create with individuals and communities and explore creative activity.

We contributed two videos for the series sharing the Local Voice of community members, artists and performers and what creativity means to them.

You can watch our two videos below.

Scary is Art

https://youtu.be/Oox9lJxM2IE

Sometimes it’s the small moments that matter, finding a new way to express your thoughts, the act of doing something creative, coming together to share and feeling safe enough to do so. A group of Mildenhall residents met up regularly for Meet Up Mondays cuppa and chat at the Barleycorn Café, brought together by owner Shelby Foord. Together we tried out creative activities including Art Journaling led by artist Marian Savill. We saw the positive effects of art in small moments and we think Susan Feary’s words sum it up nicely.

Watch our first video ‘Scary is Art’ here.

Film: Colin Stevens, Creative Agent.
With thanks to: Susan Feary (speaking), Barleycorn Cafe, Shelby Foord, Marian Savill, Meet Up Mondays, Arts Council, CPP

Space to Create

https://youtu.be/Ld6GyLP50gY

Why does art matter? We asked some of our creative collaborators what they thought. Filmed at St George’s Fayre and Christmas Market in March, Fenland.

Watch our second video ‘Space to Create’ here.

Filming of March Market (1st half): David Johnson (Dmj Imagery Ltd)
Filming of St Georges Day (2nd half): Rydian Cook and Mariana Vaz

Edited by Creative Agent, Colin Stevens

With thanks to: Marian Savill, Hilary Cox Condron, Dan Donovan, Caitlin Howells, Dan Walsingham & Richard Alan, March Town Council, Fenland District Council, CPP and Arts Council England.


See the other CPP projects’ videos in the 60 Second Stories series visit CPP’s YouTube page here.

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Creative Chat ‘n’ Blog – Kaitlin Ferguson

Listen to Kaitlin’s podcast episode here.

I am an environmental artist based in Norwich, my artistic practice crosses between many disciplines, but my particular focus is on sculpture, drawing and printmaking. 

As an extension of this I also create participatory projects which involve working with people, connecting them with nature through artistic activities. Before lockdown, this involved traveling across the country, working with audiences of all ages.

At the start of lockdown, all of the projects I had been working on got cancelled or postponed, within the matter of a few days, this was a scary state to be in as a freelancer! 

Then, with more time on my hands, I had a chance to pause and reflect. I decided to use this time as a chance to teach myself some new skills; video recording and editing. I also taught myself how to use a series of digital design packages.

One of the first projects I was able to use these digital skills on was a commission from MarketPlace as part of their ‘Creative Conversations in Isolation’ programme. I created a four-part video series entitled ‘Art and the Fens’ exploring different environment aspects of the Fens and shared ideas for how to make different creative responses. 

Activities included making a recording card for documenting a walk, how to make a pocket sketchbook to draw in, a video on anthotype printing using food and spices, and finally a video about using textiles to explore Fenland geology.  

It was important to me that the videos felt relaxed and like a conversation between me and the viewer. I also decided I wanted to create a handy guide to each video for people or download or print, hopefully making the project even more accessible.

Working in lockdown has really made me miss connecting with the people, and even though I know the videos can’t replace the joy of being in the same room, they are an important way for people to connect with others in isolation and use creativity for its therapeutic and relaxing benefits.

Since the project, I have been incorporating my newfound video and digital design skills into all of the other projects I am working on. I’ve found that, even though it can take a little while to get the hang of, using videos can be a really helpful way to share your ideas and artwork with others.

Written by artist Kaitlin Ferguson.

Listen to Kaitlin’s podcast episode here.

Read about Kaitlin’s Art and the Fens project here.

Creative Chat ‘n’ Blog – Ric Savage

Listen to Ric’s podcast episode here.

Art and video in lockdown 

I have been an artist illustrator for about 30 years or so.  My work has covered a fair bit of ground from figurative to wildlife pictures and childrens’ illustrations.  In a way Covid and the various lockdowns over 2020 haven’t affected my actual art making process, but it dramatically altered how I teach art and the way I make my living from art. In my pre-lockdown world, I was teaching in schools, libraries and in my own studio. 

In March of last year, my conventional teaching work and face to face projects, stopped overnight. It was a heck of a shock and it profoundly changes your perception of your self-worth. How exactly do you make a living when you are not seeing people?

I had never tried teaching via video link before, and the only videos I had made before were very short promotional art videos. I am an old dog, and this was going to be a new trick. It was a very steep learning curve for me, the only equipment I had was an iPad, no editing software, and no real budget to do anything about it.  I cobbled something together.  I remember feeling like a door-to-door salesman, trying to push myself into any job that would have me. 

I was lucky that there were a couple companies with projects that suited how I work as an artist.  20Twenty Productions CIC asked me to take part in two of their digital projects which got me started, and then later on a video link art mentoring class which I am still currently working on.  In addition to that, MarketPlace offered a commission for three videos on the subject of book cover design.  I loved working on that as a project and interacting with people on Facebook and Instagram.

I am profoundly grateful for all the support I received from friends, artists and arts organisations during this time.  

So, what does the future look like? At this point, I feel very optimistic.  We adapt, we grow and we look at new things and new ways of doing them.  Teaching via Zoom is ok, but there are limitations, I know this is an area that a lot of us have struggled with, reading the body language of the people we are teaching.  Video is a very interesting medium and I am going to be developing that a lot more in the coming months.  All of these new tricks will form a new part of my practice, but I can’t wait to get back to face to face teaching, being back in the studio with fellow artists will be great! 

Written by publisher and illustrator, Ric Savage.

Listen to Ric’s podcast episode here.

Read about Ric’s The Book Cover Club project here.

Creative Chat ‘n Blog – Michelle Brace

Listen to Michelle’s podcast episode here.

Imagination – Connection – Voice

This past year has challenged me to refresh my practice and align with new priorities. The world got into a slower gear but I felt a renewed sense of urgency for my work to be relevant and in some way useful and meaningful. For it to connect.

In ‘the age of isolation’ a priority human need surely has to be connection. Weve all needed to reach out to others for mutual support. As a solo artist I’ve found working and connecting with communities of like minds online to be a lifeline. Virtual meet-ups, courses and skills sessions have been so valuable in helping me to meet new people, keep up to speed, deepen existing skills and, believe it or not…. get excited about the future!! 

A lockdown commission opportunity with Marketplace prompted me to realise an idea which I’d had on my mental shelf for years gathering metaphorical dust. Mantelpiece was about creating a community of voices, displaying treasured objects together – on a digital Mantelpiece – and sharing the stories they told. Mantelpiece – now in a new phase of research & development – was adapted for Marketplace to be a neat little creative conversation starter for online group work. The hope is also that the process of sharing such unique and personal stories helped to promote greater empathy, insight & understanding between the people involved.

I think that living through a pandemic has sharpened everyone’s awareness of the fragility of life. The change in pace we experienced gave us a rare chance to much more fully appreciate its beauty and constantly changing states. In the piece of work I made for The Library Presents at the end of 2020, Let the Leaves Change, I was trying to visually communicate something about the magic of late autumn / winter. With my camera and my homemade light box I got deeply into looking at the incredible and intricate detail, colours and textures appearing in the leaves and in the natural world around me. I thought about the inevitability – Covid or no Covid – of change.. of nature moving with ease and without resistance, from one season to the next. 

This continuously evolving visual mix, produced by Collusion, was created to be back-projected at night into a town centre shop window in Wisbech and the library window in March. It included a layer of leaf drawings and designs made in collaboration with local communities. I really loved the raw quality achieved by mixing hand drawn and coloured leaves with layered filmed clips and I could see the potential for working more in this way….

My most recent piece of work Where Are We Now? was the product of an experimental 8-week programme, ‘Mindful Making’, designed to support adults experiencing mental health difficulties. We used a range of creative activities to explore the idea that if you immerse yourself in the creative moment you can temporarily suspend your worries & fears. Our aim was to create a relaxed, pressure-free environment and offer an open, fun and playful approach to making art. This project got very close to the heart of Unlocked Creative – encouraging people to be courageous and make instinctive decisions about what comes next. If we can let go of pre-conditioned ideas and get into the process of making something we can feel totally liberated & renewed. This is a healing, empowering and adventurous place to be that opens up all kinds of possibilities….! 

Written by artist, Michelle Brace.

@mich_unlockedvj

Director, Unlocked Creative CIC | VJ & Digital Artist

Listen to Michelle’s podcast episode here.

Read about Michelle’s Mantelpiece project here.