Cultural Hub Grows at the National Centre for Writing as Award-Winning Rural Arts Company Moves in to Dragon Hall


Already partners in a regional and national scheme to bring arts and culture to rural communities, Creative Arts East (CAE) and National Centre for Writing (NCW) announce their plan to share work space at NCW’s home, Dragon Hall, in the heart of Norwich, England’s first UNESCO City of Literature. Responding to the difficulties brought about by COVID-19 and in the spirit of collaboration between charitable arts organisations providing vital work to communities across the East of England, CAE will be taking up residence alongside the NCW at Dragon Hall later this month.

Originating as a Merchant’s trading hall in the 15th century, Dragon Hall is now home to NCW as an international centre of excellence for creative writing and literary translation. It is delighted to expand its reputation as a cultural hub for the arts by welcoming CAE into the venue and offering office space to an organisation facing challenges due to the pandemic. As well as providing crucial accommodation support to CAE and enabling them to continue their fantastic work in the region, it is hoped the new arrangement will provide opportunities for even closer collaboration between the two organisations, with the aim of developing new creative experiences for communities to enjoy when restrictions lift.

Chris Gribble, chief executive of NCW, said:

‘We’re delighted to offer CAE a home and base at Dragon Hall: the work they do with and for the communities of our region is vital. We saw the chance to help them protect their ability and capacity to improve the lives of those they work with while some of our spaces are underused due to the pandemic and are delighted that they felt the same. At the same time the arrangement gives us the chance to think about how we might collaborate on more projects in the future, offering important access to cultural opportunities to people in our region during and after the current crisis.’


CAE is an arts and community development charity committed to bringing the very best arts and cultural activities to rural and/or under-engaged audiences across Norfolk, Suffolk and the wider eastern region.

NCW was established to provide a physical place for Norwich’s status as England’s first UNESCO City of Literature. It creates writing, reading and translation opportunities for community groups across the city as well as hosting writers from all over the world through its year-round programme of festivals and events. This work has moved online for much of the last 12 months and the organisation looks forward to opening as soon as possible to bring audiences back to the much-loved venue.

Emerging from a conversation between the two organisations’ CEOs during their participation in the Collaboration: Place: Change leadership development programme for Norfolk and Suffolk, the idea of pooling resources in response to COVID-19 then blossomed into a plan that benefited both partners. The CAE team officially take up residency within Dragon Hall this month, although staff continue to work full-time from home while lockdown restrictions apply.

Natalie Jode, executive director of Creative Arts East, said:

‘When the pandemic hit most public and private funding streams were closed and repurposed for emergency aid. This has been, and continues to be, an essential lifeline for the sector but also poses a real long-term threat for project-funded arts organisations like ours.

‘Project funding contributes essential income to cover salaries and overheads at CAE, and it is our staff who form the bricks and mortar or our organisation; we simply cannot achieve our charitable aims without their energy and expertise. In order to reduce operational overheads, secure jobs, and support our organisational future we took the difficult decision to leave our long-term office-based in Wymondham and move to an entirely remote approach. However, thanks to the generosity and friendship shown by the Board and staff at NCW we have a safe haven and some operational continuity during this period of transition, which we are hugely grateful for.

‘This pandemic has demonstrated just how important it is to work together and at CAE we are committed to supporting our partners across the sector to weather this storm; it feels very emotional and reassuring to know that there is an offer of support there for us too. We have a lot to be thankful for and to progress for the future; myself and all the team at CAE look forward to doing so alongside our new roommates and wish to say a public word of thanks to Chris and all the team at National Centre for Writing.’


NCW and CAE are already partners on Inn Crowd; a unique national arts project which supports the touring of live literature, performance poetry and new writing to rural pubs, reinforcing the pub as a central, vibrant part of community life. Both organisations are excited at the prospect of ‘hitting the ground running’ when normal practise can resume and for the potential for further creative collaboration on new projects which will benefit the local sector, audiences and communities across the region.

Watch Weekly – 4

It’s our final Watch Weekly of the year! For this one, we wanted to concentrate mainly on family films you can find on the main TV channels over the Christmas period. There’s a mix of classic and modern titles, and even a live streamed theatre performance! There’s always so much to watch over the festive holidays, from timeless musicals to animations, so if none of these take your fancy then we’re sure you’ll be under no shortage of films to watch with whoever you’re spending Christmas with.

If you catch anything you particularly enjoy, let us know via social media in the comments! We love seeing your mini reviews. That’s all for now, and we’ll be back with more movie picks in the New Year.

1. Scrooge


Where to watch: Channel 5 on Saturday 19th December at 4.25pm. Also on BFI Player to rent for £3.50 (or subscribe to watch – first 14 days free then £4.99 per month)

Rotten Tomatoes: 85%

This 1951 adaptation of Charles Dickens’ timeless classic is perhaps the most faithful film version — and Alastair Sim’s performance as Scrooge is not to be missed.

Watch it on your telly, or check it out on BFI Player here

2. Paddington 2 


Where to watch: On BBC1 on Christmas Eve at 4.15pm and on BBC iPlayer after. Also on BFI Player rent for £3.50 or less if subscribed

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%

Heart-warming and charming, Paddington 2 is currently the most positive reviewed film to remain at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Watch it on telly, or on BFI Player here

3. Arthur Christmas


Where to watch: On ITV on Tuesday 22nd December, and also on Netflix.

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

Fun, humour and holiday spirit from Aardman Animations, featuring the voices of James McEvoy, Jim Broadbent and Bill Nighy.

On your TV, or on Netflix here.

4. A Christmas Carol – live recorded theatre


Where to watch: This is a live-recorded version, perfect for those missing the theatre.

This Christmas, come together with your household or with friends and family online to take part in the music and merriment of this uplifting story, performed and streamed live as part of the Old Vic: In Camera series. Starring Andrew Lincoln and John Dagleish.

Stream via The Old Vic here

5. The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society


Where to watch: On BBC2 on Boxing Day at 6.40pm, and on BBC iPlayer after

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%

A CAE Screen favourite – one of the most-screened films across the network. Comfort food for fans of period drama. Starring Lily James, Jessica Brown Findlay, Tom Courtenay.

If you miss it, catch it on BBC iPlayer afterwards here.



Have you watched any of our recommendations, either from last week or this week? Comment below or tell us what you think on socials with #CAEWatchWeekly

Watch Weekly – 3

Our Community Cinema Manager Alice has put together a great mix of films for this week’s Watch Weekly, including two phenomenal foreign language films, a biopic, and two critically acclaimed big-screen hits. A few of these – Shoplifters, BlacKkKlansman, The Peanut Butter Falcon – have been screened by our volunteer community cinema promoters over the past couple of years, and you might have seen them too! As always, if you do check out any of our Watch Weekly recommendations then comment below to let us know what you think, or let us know on social media!

1. System Crasher

Where to watch: BFI Player (Subscribe to watch – first 14 days free then £4.99 per month)

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%

This is Mark Kermode’s Film of the Week on BFI Player this week. Given 5 stars in The Guardian, this “searing portrait of a broken pscyhe” stars Helena Zengal, who’s next role is opposite Tom Hanks in upcoming western ‘News of the World’. Mark Kermode calls it “the birth of a star”.

Click here to watch Mark Kermode’s introduction to the film and see exactly why he recommends it!

2. Shoplifters

Where to watch: Free on All4 for 25 days, and also on BFI Player to rent for £3.50

Rotten Tomatoes: 99%

This Japanese (with subtitles) Palme d’Or-winning drama is about a family who survive through petty crime, whose lives are transformed when they take in an abandoned little girl. Described by critics as ‘life-affirming”, “complex, subtle and mysterious” and “beautifully felt”.

Click here to watch on All4

3. BlackKklansman 

Where to watch: Netflix

Starring: John David Washington, Adam Driver

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%

“BlacKkKlansman slips seamlessly from borderline-absurdist humour to all-too-real horror, conjuring an urgent blend of sociopolitical period satire and contemporary wake-up call.” – Mark Kermode for The Observer

Click here to watch on Netflix

4. Billie

Where to watch: New release – buy on Amazon Prime for £7.99, DVD/BluRay

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%

The definitive story of Billie Holiday, the world’s greatest and most controversial jazz singer, with archive, drama, animation and still images capturing the complexities of a legend.

Check it out on Amazon here

5. The Peanut Butter Falcon

Where to watch: Available on Netflix, to rent on BFI Player for £3.50, and DVD

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%

Starring: Zack Gottsagen, Shia LeBeouf, Dakota Johnson

This modern Mark Twain-style adventure story was a favourite amongst our CAE Screen Promoters. A man with Down’s Syndrome runs away from a residential nursing home, and forms an unlikely friendship with an outlaw.

Watch it on Netflix here

Have you watched any of our recommendations, either from last week or this week? Comment below or tell us what you think on socials with #CAEWatchWeekly

Watch Weekly – 2

We hope you enjoyed some of our first Watch Weekly suggestions last week! Our Community Cinema Manager Alice has put together another great list of recommendations this week to see you nicely into December – and only one Christmassy film in sight! We’ll ease you in gently, but we can’t promise we’ll hold off the jingle bells for much longer…

Each of our Watch Weekly lists will feature a real mix of films, usually including a new release, a free-to-watch film on either BBC, ITV and Channel 4 players, something from a subscription service, film critic Mark Kermode’s ‘Film of the Week’, and a film that was or would be popular in our rural community cinema venues. Check out this week’s suggestions are below!

1. Harmonium

Where to watch: BFI Player (Subscribe to watch – first 14 days free then £4.99 per month)

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%

This Japanese drama/thriller is Mark Kermode’s Film of the Week on BFI Player this week. It won the Jury Prize at in the Un Certain Regard section of 2016 Cannes Film Festival.

Click here to watch Mark Kermode’s introduction to the film and see exactly why he recommends it!

2. Diego Maradona

Where to watch: Free on All4 for 25 days, and also on BFI Player to rent for £3.50

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%

A real eyeopener and insight into one of the world’s most infamous footballers. Brush up on your knowledge following his untimely death last Wednesday.

Click here to watch on All4

3. Marriage Story

Where to watch: Netflix

Starring: Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%

Awarded 5 stars in The Guardian and The Observer, this character study of a divorcing married couple was one of our Comms Officer Zoe’s favourite films of 2019!

Click here to watch on Netflix

‘This wonderfully sweet, sad and funny film simply delivers…’ – The Guardian

4. A Christmas Gift From Bob

Where to watch: DVD, Amazon Prime, Apple TV, or in cinemas

Rotten Tomatoes: 75%

The film is dedicated to Bob the cat who died in June, and is based on the international best-selling follow up to A Street Cat Named Bob.

Check it out on Amazon here

5. The Personal History of David Copperfield

Where to watch: Watch on Amazon Prime, buy on DVD, or rent on BFI player for £4.50

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

Starring: Dev Patel, Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie and many other British stars.

This was a favourite amongst our CAE Screen Promoters, and features a stellar cast of British actors. It was also filmed locally, on location in places including King’s Lynn, Weybourne and Bury St Edmunds.

Fun fact: Charles Dickens once stayed at The Angel Hotel in Bury St Edmunds and part of his first novel The Pickwick Papers is set there!

Here it is on BFI Player

Have you watched any of our recommendations, either from last week or this week? Comment below or tell us what you think on socials with #CAEWatchWeekly


Creative Arts East are taking part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge this year – a match-funding campaign to raise £,2000 in individual giving. Every donation, no matter how small, will be DOUBLED by pledges we’ve already gathered. To give what you can, please visit The campaign is live from 12pm 1st December – 12pm 8th December.

Let’s Have a (Virtual) Tea Dance!

Our friends over at Britten Pears are running a virtual tea dance next week on Tuesday 8th December, and our Our Day Out participants are getting involved too! Usually they hold a tea dance every December at Snape Maltings, bringing together care homes, local community groups and dancing enthusiasts alike to enjoy music, dancing, tea and cake. Of course, like us and so many other organisations, they’ve had to adapt due to the pandemic and restrictions in place, so this year they’ll be holding the tea dance online!

We usually hold celebration gatherings ourselves as part of the Our Day Out programme, which bring participants from all of our different groups across Norfolk together to share in music and dance activities as a collective. Past celebrations events we’ve held include a Strictly Come Dancing-style extravaganza, a Big Sing, trips to Cley Nature Reserve, and a backstage tour of Rambert headquarters in London. Obviously this year, we haven’t been able to host these as we usually would, so we’re delighted to be taking part in Britten Pears’ Virtual Tea Dance this year.

The event will last 45 minutes, and includes a seven-piece big band, a presenter and professional dancers. There will be an opportunity for you to learn some dance moves and sing along. To make the event even more special, they suggest having a teacup and teaspoon at the ready to join in with some musical activity, and having some tea and cake to hand. You could even dress up! If you check out the trailer below, you may even spot some familiar faces, such as Laura and Sarah from Glass House Dance and opera singer Rob Gildon, who have both previously worked on the Our Day Out project!

Our Project Support Worker Sydney will be hosting a pre-tea dance Zoom session for our ODO and Operation: No Cold Shoulder participants at 1.30pm on Tuesday 8th, so if you want to join this then do get in touch with her here. You can find all the information about the tea dance here on the Snape Maltings website, including song-lyrics, bunting making instructions, and more!

We hope to see you there, tea cup in hand and ready to dance!



Creative Arts East are taking part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge this year – a match-funding campaign to raise £,2000 in individual giving. Every donation, no matter how small, will be DOUBLED by pledges we’ve already gathered. To give what you can, please visit The campaign is live from 12pm 1st December – 12pm 8th December.

Arts, Health & Wellbeing: How Our Day Out Makes a Difference

If you’ve been following our blog and other communication channels over the last few months, you’ll know that the way we deliver our flagship arts, health and wellbeing programme Our Day Out (dementia-inclusive creative workshops for all older people led by professional artists) has had to change dramatically since March, as organisations everywhere responded to the pandemic and subsequent government safety rules.

The remote Creative Wellbeing Packs we now offer, not just to our regular participants but to all older people in Norfolk and beyond, are going from strength to strength. With this in mind, and with 2020 coming to an end soon, we wanted to reflect on some of the key achievements of the Our Day Out programme over the last 3 years since the project began, and share some of the substantial successes it has achieved in terms of the links between arts, health and wellbeing.

Impact Report

In collaboration with our principle funder Spirit of 2012, we published an Impact Report containing the significant findings and analysis to come out of the project from 2016-2019. Take a look at some of the key statistics above, including our academically validated wellbeing data (more on this in the report, read it in full here).


Journal of Dementia Care

Since the beginning of Our Day Out we have worked with Dr Hannah Zeilig, who has provided us with invaluable academic insight and independent evaluation of the project, offered further analysis of our approach, and conducted interviews with participants. Dr Zeilig has also written about the project in her own research as well as in external publications. Her latest article appeared in the July/August 2020 edition of the Journal of Dementia Care, and focuses on Our Day Out’s particular mission in reaching people living with dementia living in rural communities.


Press and Publicity

Our Day Out has garnered increasing local press attention since the pandemic, and fed into national conversations about dementia, isolation, and the benefits of arts activity on health and wellbeing.

In April 2020, our Executive Director Natalie Jode appeared on BBC Radio Norfolk as part of their coverage on how local organisations have adapted their work in response to the pandemic. Natalie focused on how Our Day Out was responding, and also introduced the premiere of beautiful original song ‘A Day In With Our Day Out’ written by Mary Lovett and Kimberley Moore, two local musicians who had previously led workshops through the project and were the first artists to adapt their planned sessions into Creative Wellbeing Packs.

We also appeared on BBC Look East as part of their World Alzheimer’s Day coverage in September 2020. Their focus was on the profound impact that music can have on people living with dementia, and they interviewed one of our participants about her experience seeing her late husband respond to music during the later stages of his dementia.


Awards and Accolades

In 2019, we entered Our Day Out into the Royal Society for Public Health Awards under the Arts and Health category. We were nominated alongside some other incredibly worthy programmes, and so when we named as the winners, we were absolutely overjoyed. To have our programme recognised on such a national scale, and celebrate alongside project partners was without a doubt one of the stand-out moments for the organisation in 2019. The prestigious kitemark reignited our determination to break into the social prescribing framework, and has started to help us do so. Read more about our win here.

We are also nominated for a Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance Award – the Collective Power Award, which was presented in conjunction with Ideas Alliance, and celebrates the power of collaboration between different sectors that helps make projects like ours a success. We achieved ‘Highly Commended’ status, and were one of the runners up for the award, which we were incredibly pleased with, considering the stiff competition from other fantastic projects.


What Does Our Day Out Look Like Now?

Since the start of the pandemic, we have been continuing delivery of Our Day Out remotely, through a carefully curated series of free Creative Wellbeing Packs, sent twice-monthly. Each pack is based on a theme in collaboration with a different professional artist and contains activities to encourage gentle physical movement, keep the mind busy, and other ways for recipients to feel creative and connected from home. We also offer opportunities for them to share their creations, keep in touch with us and access extra content through our private Facebook group, website blog and regular phone-calls. We’ve worked particularly hard lately to make the packs image-rich so that they are as accessible as possible, and we also provide accompanying materials such as audio CDs where needed. So far, the pack themes have included Jazz, Typography and Bollywood to name a few!

We are also thrilled to announce that thanks to new funding from Independent Age, we are now able to offer the Creative Wellbeing Packs free of charge to all older people, whether they have previously engaged in the in-person Our Day Out workshops or not. This offer is available for those living in Norfolk and beyond, and we’re so pleased that now we will be able to reach more older people who may benefit from creative engagement at home during this difficult time.

If you are or know an older person who might enjoy and benefit from receiving twice-monthly Creative Wellbeing Packs, or are a health and/or social care professional who wants to collaborate with us to refer people on to the programme, then please do get in touch. You can phone us on 01953 713390 or email for more information.


We’d like to take this opportunity to extend a message of thanks to all our funders, not just of the Our Day Out programme but of Creative Arts East as a whole and our other projects. Your patience, support and flexibility in working with us to trial new approaches to delivery where possible during this time has been invaluable.



Creative Arts East are taking part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge this year – a match-funding campaign to raise £,2000 in individual giving. Every donation, no matter how small, will be DOUBLED by pledges we’ve already gathered. To give what you can, please visit The campaign is live from 12pm 1st December – 12pm 8th December.

Virtual Community Cinema: Suffragette

Many member groups of CAE Screen host community cinema screenings every month in their local village halls, screening everything form the latest blockbusters to more specialised foreign language and independent titles, and even recorded films of live theatre, dance and exhibitions. Whilst group events and gatherings are on hold for the time being, we wanted to find a way of continuing to connect our promoters, their audiences, and other community members through the magic of film.

We decided to use a popular, well-known platform for our first screening, to make it as easy as possible for others to join in, particularly those who may have less experience accessing online content. We chose the film Suffragette (starring Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Anne-Marie Duff) for our first screening, and encouraged people to set up a free account on Channel 4’s All4 Player, and all sign on to watch the film at around 7.30pm on Saturday 4th April.

As well as trying to recreate a sense of community by knowing that other people are watching the film at the same time, it was important to us to try and simulate the post-show discussion and chat that forms a vital part of community cinema screenings. To do this, we’ve launched our Community Critics Network, asking viewers to send in their comments, feedback and reviews on the film! We’ve gathered some of the comments received here – if you want to add anything then use the comment feature below!

“Thanks so much for the film. Really enjoyed it! SO important to know what we do today can change the future, no matter how difficult it seems. Very appropriate in our current circumstances! Also, a good distraction!”


“Thanks for organising the watch-in party. Should be shown in schools, we owe a great debt to this movement.”


“I know the story well but am still shocked about how these women were treated. That’s why I nag every woman I know to use their vote. We need to honour their memory.”


“Might not have chosen to see it but we are glad that we did. A good insight to the suffrage movement and the sacrifices that many must have made.”


“A good dramatic portrayal of a key time in our social history. Sobering but ultimately uplifting”.


Did you watch the film, or perhaps you’d seen it before? What did you think? Maybe you’ve got some family links with the suffragette movement? We want to hear from you!

New Touring Arts to Libraries Resources for Artists and Libraries! 

We have come to the end of our Arts Council England enquiry into south east libraries touring, and with the support of artists and libraries from across the south east and beyond, we have gathered a great deal of information about the current shape of libraries touring in the region. We have discovered different approaches to programming arts in library spaces from community polls to creative arts partnerships and adventurous arts selection, each approach providing new experiences for library audiences.

We are very grateful to all library service staff across the south east who engaged with our enquiry, whether that’s through completing our survey, talking us about their experience promoting touring arts events, or taking part in our reference group. This group guided the enquiry and ensured that all learning and sharing considered the unique library perspective. We heard from 21 out of the 26 south east library services and from over 100 different members of library staff, from senior managers to front line assistants and volunteers. We also spoke to many artists practising different art forms.

Using all of the information gathered, the knowledge and experience from our generous collaborators and our own 25 years’ worth of experience as a rural touring organisation, we’ve put together two handy guides to libraries touring: one for libraries looking to host touring work, and one for artists looking to tour to libraries.

Resource Links

If you work in a library then please do download our libraries resource Hosting Touring Arts Events – The Really Useful Guide For People Working In Libraries. Whether you’re a library assistant, manager, community librarian, volunteer, or anyone working with programming touring arts in libraries or hosting shows in your library space, we hope you find it helpful.

If you would like a printed version for yourself or your library service, please drop us a line.  Just let us know how many you’d like and we will get them to you as soon as possible. We want to share these resources as far and wide as we can – and hopefully provide you with some work-related reading material while lots of things are put on hold!

If you are an artist or touring company representative who is considering touring your work to libraries – whether that’s after the current situation has passed or perhaps you have an exciting digital offer to share now – download the artist’s resource The Really Useful Guide For Artists Touring to Libraries. We hope it gives you an insight into what to expect from taking your work to libraries, or if you are already well-versed in it, that it helps you approach it in a new and enriched way.

We have also created two info templates – one for libraries and one for artists and touring companies – to be used when liaising with each other. Each template contains suggested questions to ask each other and information to share, to ensure that both the artist’s touring experience, and the library’s programming and delivery experience run as smoothly as possible. These resources are based on the useful feedback we received from all the collaborators throughout the enquiry and so we hope they cover all the important areas which arise from booking through to evaluation, where libraries’ and artists’ worlds collide!

We would like to thank you all again if you have engaged with our enquiry and helped us to put these resources together. We are reporting back to Arts Council England with our enquiry findings and we hope our recommendations will support the future development of the south east libraries touring offer.

Coronavirus Outbreak – Helpful Resources

As we all await developments about the Coronavirus situation and subsequent lockdown in the UK, we are trying to find new ways of engaging creatively with all of our stakeholders across the Eastern region, including workshop participants, promoters and audience members, whilst we cannot deliver our usual activities and events in person.

Take a look below to find out about what we’re up to at the moment and how you can get involved. We’ve also compiled a list of funding streams for artists and organisations that we’ve come across from the arts and cultural sector, charity sector, and from our home county of Norfolk. There will certainly be lots more than what we’ve gathered, so do keep a look out.


The Creative Arts East Offer

Virtual community cinema: We have developed an idea to help continue to connect our promoters and their audiences with film, whilst their regular screenings are on hold for the time being. We will be hosting a virtual cinema screening and inviting audiences to watch from their own homes., and also launching a ‘Community Critics’ network for comments and reviews. More details on this to come soon!

Keeping connected with Our Day Out participants: We are continuing to speak to our participants on the phone regularly to check in on their wellbeing during this time, and are working on innovative ways to continue to engage them in creative activity and strengthen social connections between them.

Sharing live performance digitally: Our Rural Touring team and Communications team are investigating how we might support our promoters and audiences to continue to engage in fantastic professional performance from their homes. We also want to support artists to produce and deliver content for this, and will release more details soon.


Funding Support for the Arts & Charity Sectors

Arts Council England’s Emergency Measures and Funding: Details of emergency funding available for freelancers, NPOs and other arts and cultural organisations.

Norfolk Community Foundation’s Covid-19 Community Response Fund: To help Norfolk-based charities and community projects take steps to adapt or expand their services during this time.

Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund: The British Film Institute and The Film and TV Charity have established a new relief fund supported by a £1m donation from Netflix.

Norwich and Norfolk Artists’ Hardship Fund: A crowdfunder set up by Norwich-based theatre company Curious Directive, where people can donate to support local artists.

Disability Arts Online Announces Commissions for Disabled Artists: New commission pot for disabled artists working across any art form.

There are also funding channels and support lines available through local county and district councils, so remember to visit their websites as well.


Resources from the Arts & Cultural Sector

Below are just a few resources our team have seen online that we’re using whilst working from home. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and there are many organisations out there compiling thorough lists of creative resources, networks and ideas you can get involved in whilst isolating, social distancing and/or working from home.

Voluntary Arts have launched the Creative Network – a daily online meeting on Zoom from 9.30-10.30 in which anyone working in arts, culture and creativity can use to speak to one another, share tips about working from home, and generally feel connected. Find out more here.

64 Million Artists have also created the Create to Connect initiative – two weeks of daily creative, accessible challenges to get people connecting and creating. Some of our friends at other organisations are taking part in this with their colleagues and comparing creations! Find out more here.

Arts Professional have a new section on their website called CovidCulture, where they are compiling current news on how the arts and cultural sector are responding to the crisis under topics such as Health and Wellbeing, Campaigns and Advocacy, and Money Matters. Take a look here.

Arts Council England and BBC Arts have launched the Culture In Quarantine initiative as a way to continue to get people with arts and culture from home. Content will include new plays by award-winning playwrights, virtual festivals, and exhibition access. More details are still to be announced, but you can read an early article here.

Chatterpack have created a fantastic resource page filled with free online resources that people can get involved in whilst isolating and social distancing. These include virtual tours of museums and art galleries around the world, free online courses and much more. View them here.


Health & Wellbeing Resources

With the majority of the population now working from home wherever possible, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England has produced a guide with advice and tips as to how we can all safeguard our mental health whilst working from home. Read the guidance here.

Arts Professional have also published a brilliant article on why self-care is so important during a crisis like this one, and it includes some really useful strategies for taking care of your wellbeing. Take a look here.


From all of us here at Creative Arts East, we hope everyone is keeping as safe and well as possible. We’ll still be here when normality returns, and we look forward to getting back up and running with ‘business as usual’. In the meantime, connect with our digital offers if you’re able to, and find little ways to keep connecting with arts, culture and creativity however and whenever you can.

Touring Arts to South East Libraries – The Importance of Evaluation

We’re all about the importance of evaluation here at Creative Arts East, and we want to share with you some of our thoughts on this topic, as well as sharing those of Sarah Bedingfield as our last guest vlogger. Sarah is the services manager for Innovation, Digital & Libraries for Kent County Council.

The latest one is now available to watch as an eight-minute talk from Sarah with her perspective on the Importance of Evaluation for Touring Arts in Libraries.

She walks us through the ways in which Kent Libraries approach evaluation. With 99 libraries across Kent, the service has a unique task in the south east in implementing an effective evaluation framework that works for such a wide range of libraries, events and audiences.

From understanding the reasons for evaluating which are specific to your service aims, to using the data gathered effectively, there is a lot to consider. Each library service is different and there are many different frameworks for evaluating. The key is tailoring your approach to suit the aims and objectives of your service and local authority, as well as collecting information which will form a complete and rich understanding of the impact of touring arts on your libraries and audiences – and ways to move forward based on what is found.

Considering evaluation collection from an audience perspective can also influence your chosen approach: whether that’s designing creative ways of collection, or working with touring companies to streamline evaluation so audience members aren’t swamped with feedback forms. There are ways to get useful information (feedback, numbers, social media analytics, conversations, observations, and audience profiling) which if done well, can support a more valuable experience, on the day of the event itself, and for future programming.

Click below to view Sarah’s vlog and the others in the series.

This vlog will explore the following themes surrounding evaluation:

– How to suit your evaluation strategy to your service

– How to define your outcomes

– Ways to incorporate equality and diversity in evaluation

– How to measure and collate evidence

– How to collect qualitative evaluation

– How to use your evaluation effectively

Let us know how your service approaches evaluation, we’d love to hear about any creative ways you go about collecting yours.