The Audience Agency and Centre for Cultural Value were commissioned by Arts Council England to create a resource for organisations thinking about doing more to support ‘everyday creativity’.
The resource is based on research which aimed to answer the question: what can organisations do to help build “a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish”, as described in The Arts Council’s Let’s Create strategy.
Our research and this resource have been greatly aided by the inspiration, wisdom and generosity of the teams at Creative Lives, 64 Million Artists, Fun Palaces, Crafts Council and Libraries Connected and by colleagues at Arts Council England. We also drew on the knowledge and experiences of creatives, community-led groups and libraries who shared their stories about what creativity means to them, their paths to it, how they practice and what could support.
The resource includes insight from our Cultural Participation Monitor (CPM), and a collection of stories, case studies and tools to give you the inspiration and confidence to work with everyday creatives and help nurture and encourage creativity in your community.
“I approached this project with confidence. With over a decade of experience under my belt working with community groups, it was territory I understood. The Learning team at Oldham Coliseum, where I spent many years, were embedded in Oldham’s communities and we’d developed a strong network of supportive partners. We listened, developed long term relationships and I have no doubt that this work instigated change. However, what shifted for me through this research is how cultural organisations and practitioners often position their work alongside that of creative groups. Rather than seeing their offer as complementary within a rich local, cultural ecology, it’s often viewed as the ‘next step’. We talked a lot about ‘pipelines’ and ‘ladders’ and the tendency of cultural organisations in wanting to push creative people ‘up’ or ‘along’ somehow, or, on the other hand not valuing the wealth of experience that comes with 20 years of running an amateur choir – a view that they have ‘opportunities’ and skills that groups will automatically want to access.
A key practical takeaway for me would be to really listen and think about the invitation to connect. A six-week project and some comps may not be the thing, but actually a space with a kettle and a warm welcome might be just what a creative group needs.”
Carly Henderson, Senior Consultant: Co-creation & Participation, The Audience Agency
"Everyday creativity is fundamental to our lives and it is often taken for granted. This project completely changed my perspective on how creativity shapes our day-to-day experiences. For me, the research underpinning this project illuminated the sheer breadth and depth of everyday creativity. It included seemingly mundane tasks such as navigating a busy street to cooking meals at home. Yet, equally, it is about how we connect and maintain relationships with others through activities and social groups. These were surprising and diverse from book clubs and informal knit and natter groups to online gaming communities, to name just a few. What was so revealing throughout this project was how the real motivation for everyday creativity came from the enjoyment of doing rather than producing something. I think this is often misunderstood, and where cultural organisations and policymakers can both learn and support everyday creativity."
John Wright , Centre for Cultural Value