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.

A Spell for Understanding by Fenland Young Carers

Watch the Spell for Understanding video presented by Centre 33.


Stir with a spoon and drink in the first light of dawn.

Take the sight of an owl on a long-distance flight

The sound of Gorillas, chest-beating at night

The companionship of one hundred dogs

The patience of badgers who cross roads in the fog

Inside this spell is the shape of our days

All that we are, not all that we say,

This spell must include all that is true,

So stir in a unicorn’s miracle horn,

the noble heart of a lion, the smile of a snake

A giraffe’s dream of the stars

And make no mistake,

Most important of all, hidden away,

a spider’s web, broken, and mended again.

Drink our potion, hear our spell, look us in the eye

Put on our shoes and walk by our side.

We commissioned artist Hilary Cox Condron to collaborate with a group of young carers and Centre 33, Cambridgeshire charity supporting young people. Together they did creative activities and tried different artforms with guest artists Bel Greenwood, Dan Donovan and MarketPlace Creative Agent Colin Stevens. Their responses became a poem, expressive paintings and a short film that was shared as part of Young Carers Action Day on 16 March 2021.

Amanda at Centre 33 said about the project:

“The art project has been amazing and having the opportunity to work with some amazing talented people has been really inspiring for the Young Carers. We can’t thank Hilary, Colin, Bel and Dan enough for their great work in putting together the film clip for Young Carers Action Day. The reaction to the clip from parents and the Young Carers was “wonderful”. The clip has also been shown in school by some Young Carers Champions. Thank you to everyone involved.

The Young Carers wanted their voices heard about what it is like for them, what their life is like and what qualities they have which they carry forward into their day to day work.

The Young Carers produced some wonderful art work, drawing and painting. They got to look at animation, putting clips together with sound effects as well as working with a writer to put together a spell/poem to get their voices heard. Hilary, Colin, Bel and Dan were so good with the Young People, they engaged them, gave them confidence and really inspired them to continue with Art in its different forms. I am feeling so proud with what they have achieved, that they worked so hard and we’re really pleased with the end results – their engagement has been brilliant.

We have Young Carers that have grown in confidence thanks to everyone. Young Carers that at first wouldn’t have their cameras on as they were shy and then they completed sessions with the camera on and enjoyed showing their art pieces. We had a Young Carer that was so quiet she didn’t speak to them by the end of the sessions she was chatting most of the time in the session and putting across her views more in speech.

Excellent Project, amazing people I look forward to the next one.”

Thanks to Emily, Erin, Pheobe, Lennon, Paige, Kezia, Amber and Sophie

Supported by Centre 33 Amanda Cawthorne and Richard Cross

Creative Producer: Hilary Cox Condron

Film maker: Colin Stevens – Theatricx

Guest artists: Dan Donovan and Bel Greenwood