Rose Fair street art workshops

Get stuck into spray painting and sculpture making with umbrellas, guided by street artist Nick Shove in the lead up to Wisbech Rose Fair.

These drop-in workshops are free and suitable for all ages (under 16s should be accompanied by an adult). The sculpture that is created in these workshops will then be on display during Wisbech Rose Fair on Saturday 29th June.

Dates/times: Saturday 15th June 10am – 3pm or Friday 21st June 10am – 5pm

Location: REMO Eco-Superstore in Wisbech.

No booking required, just turn up.

Art Road Trip

MarketPlace has partnered with The National Gallery for Art Road Trip as part of their 200th year celebrations. Together we have curated a two week creative programme designed to bring art and creativity to communities in Wisbech and Mildenhall. This July, we are welcoming an art studio across multiple locations in both towns, along with a range of free, open to all, hands on creative workshops.

The travelling studio will be stationed at various locations across Wisbech from 1-7 July and Mildenhall from 8-14 July, (exact dates and times to be confirmed), with free workshops and interactive activities for all. We’ll be encouraging everyone to get creative, inspired by the theme of ‘Look up and take to the skies’ in Mildenhall, and ‘More than meets the eye in Wisbech. Two incredible artists from The National Gallery will be leading these sessions, exploring a variety of techniques and practices.

Community Workshops Throughout June

Wisbech:
We will be working with artist Ann Bellamy and using found pictures from local charity shops to explore the theme ‘More than meets the eye’. Ann will be working at Peckover House and across Wisbech before the Art Road Trip starts in July.

Mildenhall:
We will be running community creative writing workshops in June exploring the theme of ‘Look up and take to the skies’. The writing that comes from these sessions will then be available to inspire anyone who joins us in July for Art Road Trip.

Later this year we will be exhibiting a series of the artworks across both towns, developed with the communities and with an accompanying guide. More details on the exhibition will be shared later this year.

GO SEE: Millfield Carnival

With the hope of some sunny weather, we programmed a Go See to Millfield Community Carnival which has been running since 2017. Each year the organisers work with over 100 community groups and organisations in the local area. We were delighted that Godfrey Smith from Fenland Arts, Town Clerk Joanna Merton and Councillor Sharon Selman (who are also on the Chatteris Midsummer Festival committee) from Chatteris Town Council accepted the invitation to join us for an invaluable opportunity to see a festival come to life, and gain some valuable inspiration for our forthcoming festivals in Fenland.

Unfortunately, the hopes for sun were dashed and the weekend turned out to be the first of the big summer storms of wind and rain. This for us, was actually a positive, and a really good opportunity to see how well-established Peterborough Presents, another Creative People & Place project, reacted to conditions out of their control; something we and our partners will no doubt experience at some point in the future!

The Carnival was moved inside to a local community centre, just the other side of the original location of Rock Park, Peterborough. The move from outside to inside seemed seamless from a participant’s point of view; however a huge adaptation of acts and activities had to happen in a very short space of time. Although a different feel to being outside, it became a more intimate experience for the viewer, and equally impactful as if an outdoors event.

There was a main stage, a story teller, craft stalls and a crafting/makers area. Professional artists had worked with the women’s prison to produce carnival parrots for the parade which adorned the walls and entrance. A food doodle workshop was run with a local food development organisation whilst a local textile artist and cultural activists offered interesting workshops for the participants to have a go at and discover more about the city of Peterborough.

There was a varied programme of dancers, poetry, singing, music and carnival characters on the main stage. The dancers/musicians were predominantly local groups of different nationalities, Raskila (Lithuanian Dance), Ritu Ranga (Bengali Sanskriti Club) and some from further afield to push the boundaries of the community’s creative culture, such as, Mughal Miniatures (Sonia Sabri Company).

We and our Fenland partners took home some valuable inspiration, ideas and thoughts with which we can build upon in our forthcoming development meetings. 


Peggy Mends, Creative Producer, Fenland

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: 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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A Rainbow Isolation…

In the Autumn of 2020 photographer, Mercedes Rollason, had an idea.

To present a positive, colourful and flamboyant portrait of the LGBTQ community living in Fenland and Cambridgeshire.

However, at the end of 2020, it became obvious that this concept was not going to happen quite as planned. Why? Mercedes discovered an LGBTQ+ community feeling disheartened, isolated and not enthusiastic about living in Fenland.

Mercedes discussed the project with Creative Agent Colin and together they explored how it might continue. People were not feeling positive enough to show themselves publicly in photographic portraits. What if Mercedes could interview them and combine their words with a visual portrait of the landscape around them?

Mercedes pushed forward and the result is a stunning and moving collection of quotes and photographs that the reveal the lives of individuals living in Fenland.

For February 2022 the photographs were displayed in March Library (Ely also requested a display and presented it at their main doors). Mercedes did see a big shift in the attitude and spirit of those she interviewed in December and January 2021. She said at the time:

“Coming out of lockdown really does seem to have put some positivity back in people’s lives. Isolation can be an overwhelming situation. The LGBTQ community was already feeling isolated so the pandemic just reinforced that feeling. Something changed around April. Colour seemed to return”.

If confidence can grow we would love people to contact us about photography and other artforms that might explore and reflect the realities of living in the Fenland LGBTQ+ community.

If you would like to take part in the next stage of the project please contact colin@cppmarketplace.co.uk

Click the logo to visit Mercedes’ website

Creative Chat ‘n’ Blog – Belona Greenwood

Listen to Bel’s podcast episode here.

The Challenge

It was a shock. I lost all my arts in education work and income overnight.  At first, I pretty much panicked in that I applied for any work, anywhere with a sense of dread that I would end up having to leave behind a creative life I had spent so many years trying to put together. At the same time, suddenly there was a space which I couldn’t negotiate productively.  I would have loved to have used the time that opened up before me creatively, but I was too anxious about money.  And then I benefitted from an emergency grant from the Arts Council. I was so grateful and promised to use my time well, even as I disinfected everything in sight, even as I limited going out to an early morning gallop with the dog, even as I stressed about my keyworker daughter exposed to the public.

Developing Ideas

Gradually, my heartbeat slowed, and I began to think and write again – in that gloriously beautiful weather in the first year. I sealed off the world and zoomed.  It has made me think of hybrid theatre forms and I have discovered the potential for intimacy, as well as theatre’s wider online reach, but still, a year on the yearning for the energy of live performance is very strong.

I count myself lucky. I was commissioned to write a play with funding put in place before the pandemic. It was a stop start experience for the theatre company – even as auditions, and script read throughs were held and rehearsals began, they were postponed, the project settling into a waiting time as theatres closed and new variants emerged and made being together impossible. I think we learnt patience this year. 

There are limitations to not being in the same room.  Part of my working life is spent in a writers’ room with two other scriptwriters where we develop television and radio drama.  It is a crucible where we hammer out a series, it is so much harder to interrupt each other passionately, the creative energy is missing in action. We adapt but it is not evolution. 

Belona Greenwood’s book The Flying Shop of Imagination, is full of inspiring ideas to get children writing and inventing.

Final Thoughts

It is a year since I have spent time in a school with real, 3D children.  Delivering an arts project to six-year-olds for a day in maverick weather this week was brilliant. A real return. But I cannot forget. We all carry a sorrow for the suffering of then and now.  I cannot but believe that as artists we are in a fragile peace, we live in uncertainty and with that there is a challenge. Out of chaos comes creation.

Written by Belona Greenwood.

Listen to Bel’s podcast episode here.

Read about Bel’s Writing the Landscape project here.