Bringing libraries to life

Photo of a young man playing a keyboard
28 Mar 2019

Libraries will always be about books and information, but in Manchester they’re also a place for local communities to enjoy live gigs and other arts events. Zoe Williams explains how the transformation has taken place.

Making community arts work

Portrait – people and places of the First Art area by David Severn and Kajal Nisha Patel
21 Mar 2019

What makes socially engaged and participatory arts projects successful? Elizabeth Lynch and Miriam Nelken talked to artists, commissioners and participants to find out.

Public art by popular demand

Photo of public art project outside London Bridge Station - painted bollards
21 Mar 2019

A recent survey found that four in five Londoners would contribute at least £2 towards public art in their local area. Marine Tanguy and Vishal Kumar explore the potential role of citizens in new commissions.

Listening to children on climate change

Photo of Cap-a-Pie cast member working with a group of young school children
07 Mar 2019

What does climate change mean to the generation it will impact most? Brad McCormick explains how primary schoolchildren have been working with climate scientists to develop their own play.

Working with real people

Photo of a group of skateboarders
28 Feb 2019

Opening up decision-making about what art gets made and by whom doesn't lead to people 'playing it safe', but to programmes that engage more people, more deeply. Tamsin Curror examines the evidence.

Book review: A Restless Art

21 Feb 2019

Lucy Neal welcomes François Matarasso's nuanced and passionate exploration of the growing field of participatory art.

Liverpool stands by ‘insulting’ logo design competition

A crowd of people and tall ships at a dock
20 Dec 2018

The city region authority is offering a prize of £800 for a “simple but visually impactful” design to be used across print and online promotional materials for the £200k a year initiative.

Capturing the essence

An anotomical drawing representing the failure of a project
22 Nov 2018

When invited to carry out a creative evaluation of the first three years of Creative People and Places, Sarah Butler decided that the best approach was to have fun.

Review highlights evidence of class bias in arts funding

The outside of London's National Theatre at night
16 Nov 2018

The tendency for people from higher social grades to be more likely to attend arts events is down to a mismatch between current funding priorities and the public’s taste, rather than any lack of demand, an evidence review suggests.

A proud partner of health

Photo of woman in dance hold with older man
18 Oct 2018

A popular dance-based falls prevention programme offers effective treatment on the NHS, with a growing network of local groups helping older people maintain the benefits afterwards. Tim Joss tells the story.

Origins and ripples

Photo of women in performance with arms raised
18 Oct 2018

London Bubble’s Creative Elders programme has encouraged residents in sheltered housing units to socialise, be creative – and perform in public, says Helena Rice.

Parlour games

Photo of older person in carriage in parade
11 Oct 2018

When a shabby Victorian hall in Greenwich opened its doors to the public several years ago, no one could have predicted how important it would become to supporting social connections among the over-60s, says Daniel Bernstein.

A musical partnership for dementia care

Photo of musician with large brass instrument and older person
11 Oct 2018

Players in Stratford's Orchestra of the Swan are trained by charity Mindsong to provide music sessions in care homes. Sue Pope explains how the programme supports wellbeing.

Dancing to South Asian rhythms

Photo of dancers with sticks
11 Oct 2018

Older adults living with chronic health conditions are improving their physical and mental wellbeing through the joy of South Asian dance, writes Claire Farmer.

A community commemoration

Poster of soldier with flags
03 Oct 2018

Dover’s contribution to the Armistice Centenary in November will be a collaborative community production about the arrival of the body of the ‘Unknown Warrior’. Andrew Dawson tells the story.

Arts Council sparks controversy with ‘practical guide’ to cultural democracy

Photo of art
21 Sep 2018

Calls for unity have been made following comments accusing Arts Council England of appropriating a radical movement and likening the national funder to Nigel Farage playing the sitar at WOMAD festival.

Are we misunderstanding cultural democracy?

Street art in Bristol
20 Sep 2018

Has Arts Council England got cultural democracy wrong? Steven Hadley and Eleonora Belfiore argue for a more thorough questioning of existing hierarchies.

‘Donut’ venues boost community engagement, report finds

The outside of Chapel FM arts centre in Leeds
09 Aug 2018

Three outer city venues around Leeds were found to have generated committed core audiences in areas perceived as barren.

The potential of grassroots culture

People dancing at a Jive Party event in London
19 Jul 2018

Grassroots culture undeniably delivers huge benefits to communities and local economies, but Martin Cox believes it could also resuscitate the funded cultural sector.

Data map reveals levels of arts engagement across England

Photo of map
15 Jun 2018

The data will be used by Arts Council England to inform a £24m investment in new areas through its Creative People and Places programme.

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