Writing to reach likeminds
and doers across Swale and Medway

Hello,

To the awesome people I’m yet to meet across Swale and Medway.
I’d like to introduce myself if I may please.
I’m Carl.

I’m better at doing stuff than I am explaining why it works.
I’m a social hacker – I connect the dots between people, and wire them up.
I deliver ideas by example – I lead and do, with passion, and purpose.
And I want to meet like-minds; to make the places you and I live, better.


But talk can be cheap, and I believe we’re defined by our actions:

In 2008 I began reimagining where I live and work (Medway).
In 2009 I wrote a vision for the future and some people responded.
I lead with personal accountability and civic responsibility.
I continue to challenge and question Kent’s Creative Economy.

In 2011, we (an ever-developing community) cofounded coFWD coworking community and participatory space.

Developed upon Tuttle101, coFWD started small. Now eleven months into our larger building move, we’re 49% financially sustainable (still a long-way to go to before we can be declared an overall success), but our community impact has been and continues to be considerable.

 

Ok. So why reach out in 2012?

Well, during early 2012 I engaged in an Arts Council conversation about a new kind of funding opportunity – through supporting and developing connections to public places, grass-roots individuals and community activities, the Arts Council aimed to engage everyday-people in ‘the arts’.

A great deal of probono time and effort later, I’m proud to say that I’m part of the team responsible for securing a £1.4m investment into Swale and Medway, to be delivered over the next three years. Sadly no funds will be available until at least February 2013 whilst we dot the i’s and cross the t’s with the Arts Council team but more news will be announced shortly.

Please do sign up to the mailing-list at CreativePeoplePlace.info

I’ve acquired a track record for identifying and investing in the right people – often people already doing great things but under the radar – and I’ve put my own money where my mouth is to do so. I got involved in the conversation, and this opportunity, to scale my approach and impact.

Given everything I’ve ever done, I feel it important to note that I’ve never been paid by public-sector or third-sector money. Its misuse and miss-allocation continues to frustrate me, as does red tape. I now find myself being asked to advise Medway Council, KCC and the Arts Council – to make the places you and I live, better.

I have little faith in ill researched media agendas, and nor do I run an arts organisation. I believe the economic climate is going to get far worse for arts, cultural, voluntary and public sector organisations, locally and nationally. And that this requires a real adjustment in the way public spending and funding works, and how it’s measured (vanity metrics don’t cut the mustard).

I come from a world of 21st Century enterprise methods and I believe that ‘innovation is creativity with a job to do’, and that this can inspire adaptive communities and responsive models of getting stuff done. I believe people have a civic responsibility towards their local communities, and I believe small actions can create true meaning and positive change for everyone – provided the right dots are connected and the emphasis is placed on discovery through doing, not theory.

I believe ‘art’ and ‘the arts’ can be a catalyst for change, but for it to be so requires a reimaging of how it’s done (and I’m certainly not alone).
I frame this reimaging as ‘the act and art of doing’ (and getting things done), together.

I understand that many arts purists believe ‘the arts’ should be done for arts sake with no requirement for measurable impact, and they will undoubtedly disagree with me. But when it comes to sustainable investment and cultural impact, and local peoples futures, I firmly believe that ‘art’, and ‘the arts’, can and should be used as a tool to connect people and inspire communities, and as a platform upon which to inspire not only dialogue and event attendance, but long-term action and meaningful participation.

Before we can engage people in ‘the arts’, we must first engage them in the conversation, preferably over coffee *~) If you’re a doer with a like-minded spirit for creative experimentation, please do take the time to say hello. I look forward to any comments.

Please do sign up to the mailing-list at CreativePeoplePlace.info

I look forward to meeting you.
Carl @FellowCreative


Proud to be part of
http://CreativePeoplePlace.info

Arts Council England today (9 August 2012) announced that a community consortium from Swale and Medway has been successful in applying for a commissioned grant from its Creative people and places programme – designed to empower communities to take the lead in shaping local arts provision.

Please do register your interest by visiting: http://CreativePeoplePlace.info

Swale and Medway is one of seven successful consortium applications across England that have been awarded a total of just under £16 million over three years, with Swale and Medway receiving £1,476,000.

The Creative people and places programme focuses on parts of the country where people’s involvement in the arts is significantly below the national average*.

Creative people and places takes a new approach by supporting communities and grass roots organisations to play a leading part in inspiring others to get involved with the arts.

The projects all employ innovative ideas for reaching new audiences. The Swale and Medway consortium comprises Swale Council for Voluntary Service and Volunteer Centre; Medway Council for Voluntary Service; Artlands North Kent; LV21; Kent Architecture Centre; Creek Creative Studios; FrancisKnight – project managers for Leysdown Rose-tinted ; and FellowCreative. The consortium will showcase and test new arts activities, support local people to develop their own creative ideas, help strengthen existing arts provision and celebrate what’s great about the arts. Three local authorities (Medway, Swale and Kent) will work with the consortium to develop the project. The consortium will be working with locally based arts and cultural partners to do this, including: Royal Opera House Bridge Organisation, South East Dance, and Kent County Council Libraries and Archives.

Carl Jeffrey, Founder of FellowCreative and a member of the Swale and Medway consortium, says: ‘We are thrilled to have the support of Arts Council England. This substantial investment will make a real difference to the communities of Swale and Medway. The long-term aim of our Creative People and Places vision is to enable a spirit of creative experimentation and the art of doing, together.

‘Initiated by an ever-developing network of small-scale, grass roots individuals and organisations, we hope that Swale and Medway become widely recognised as places where all forms of creativity can thrive; where communities directly benefit from the power of the arts to make positive changes in people’s lives; where new routes for engagement are opened up through testing out pioneering and experimental approaches.’

Sally Abbott, Regional Director, South East, Arts Council England, says: ‘We have a long history of working with artists and arts organisations in North Kent and we know that there is a real desire among people locally to get more involved in the arts and culture. We’re looking forward to seeing what ideas the community come up with to encourage more people to feel the benefit that taking part in the arts and culture can bring.’

Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England said: ‘I’m excited by the possibilities of this programme and by the vision of the successful applicants.

‘All the projects have the potential to make a visible and lasting impact on the places where the work will happen and, very importantly, they all share the ambition to unite increased access with excellent art.

‘We’re looking forward to working with them to help them develop their ideas for creating and sharing great art for everyone – which is crucial to the vitality and long-term sustainability of the arts.’

The projects will be delivered by consortia and partners which include arts organisations, museums, libraries, local authorities and commercial organisations working in collaboration with the local community, grass roots organisations and the amateur sector.

The successful applicants will now receive a small percentage of their award in order to develop their plans. Receipt of the full award is dependent on the Arts Council approving each consortium’s full business plan. Round two of the programme will open to applications in September 2012.

The Creative people and places programme is one of a number of initiatives designed to help the Arts Council achieve its goal of more people experiencing and being inspired by the arts – as set out in Achieving great art for everyone, the Arts Council’s ten year strategic plan.

To contact the Consortium or to register your interest in the Swale and Medway project, please go to: http://CreativePeoplePlace.info