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 creativeartseast.co.uk/christmaschallenge. 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 lea@creativeartseast.co.uk 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 creativeartseast.co.uk/christmaschallenge. The campaign is live from 12pm 1st December – 12pm 8th December.

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.

Touring Arts To South East Libraries – Programming a Touring Arts Offer

New Video!

We’re pleased to be sharing with you the new video in our series about Libraries Touring.

Dayna White, Programme Development Officer at Slough Curve talks us through how she goes about programming work for Slough Libraries, with audience development at the core of their programme.

As a Library Service, programming your arts offer can be a challenge to balance – whether you’re trying to reach new audiences to engage with your existing offer, give exciting fresh events to your existing audiences, or both, it is important to bear in mind if the arts events are pitched correctly – and that the library space is providing stimulating events of excellence and high quality, just as a traditional arts venue would.

There are some key things to think about:

Why are you putting on an arts event? Is it to reach new audiences? Or is it to challenge your existing audiences? Will this work reach that goal, and how do you know?

How do you know what these audiences are interested in seeing? Have you carried out a survey or spoken to people?

It is helpful to consider not just what audiences want to see, but why they would come along to see it at your library – is it convenient for them? Think about timing, transport and of course ticket prices.

Ticketing can be tricky to navigate – you want to make sure you are reflecting the quality and professionalism of the work you’re programming, but you also want to ensure it is financially accessible for audiences. One option is to set the general ticket price to show the high standard of work but maintain inclusivity by offering discounted tickets for certain groups.

A really important area to consider is quality measures: even if an audience member doesn’t relate to a piece, it’s key they can always recognise the high standard of the work they’re viewing.

Some examples of how to ensure quality when selecting work for libraries are:

  • Paying careful attention to how the touring company’s marketing looks, both in text and visual form
  • Looking at recommendations and reviews from people you trust
  • Going to see work or asking the artists for video footage
  • Checking who the artists are funded by
  • Researching what kind of work have they done before and whether they have experience with the audience you’re targeting

Take a look at the video here or by clicking the image below and let us know what you think. How does your library service go about programming a touring arts offer?

Survey

There is still time to complete and share the surveys below. They will close this Friday 13th at midday so get your final responses in now if you’d like to contribute to our enquiry!

Final Libraries Button  Final Artists Button Actual

 

CAE 4 Col CMYK New.eps  Print

Touring Arts To South East Libraries – Communicating about the Arts

Members of the team at The Library Presents have kindly shared with us their experiences of delivering their Cambridgeshire-based libraries touring project, with advice on communicating about the arts in our latest video.

Joanne Gray, manager of The Library Presents, alongside project coordinators Katherine Roberts and Nathan Jones, share some valuable tips for writing funding applications that highlight your service’s existing work in providing arts and culture in your libraries.

They also discuss their approach to artist liaison, and ways to communicate with your team and library users about upcoming arts events.

Let us know your thoughts on ‘communicating about the arts’ as a library service. There are many approaches to this and we are keen to hear how your library service works with artists and shouts about the incredible things they’re doing with arts touring!

The next video will be available on December 9th and will explore quality and audience accessibility.

If you haven’t already, please complete and share the surveys below.

Final Libraries Button  Final Artists Button Actual

An Important Date for your Diary

A reminder for our South East Libraries Touring Enquiry: Please keep Friday 20th March available in your diary for the upcoming Pitch Up Libraries event – open to all South East libraries as CPD, to attend a carefully curated day enabling direct conversations with artists, arts partners and other library services about future possibilities for enhancing your library service’s cultural offer.

Pitch Up Libraries will include a Library Service networking session, a key note from Sue Williamson, Arts Council England Director of Libraries, presentations from artists who want to take their work to libraries, and opportunities to meet local arts partners.

The event will be available to book from 29th November so watch out for the link we will be sharing.

CAE 4 Col CMYK New.eps  Print

Touring Arts To South East Libraries – Perceptions of the Library

We are excited to share with you the next video learning resource of our Libraries Touring series.

In our newest video on our YouTube channel Krystal Vittles, Head of Service Delivery at Suffolk Libraries,  discusses ways to develop audiences’ perceptions of libraries. She tells us how Suffolk Libraries have employed certain methods relating to marketing and branding to help them overcome perceptions, and be seen as a legitimate venue for great arts.

We welcome your comments and questions to feed into our enquiry. The next video will be available on November 25th and will focus on communicating about the arts as a library.

If you haven’t already, please complete and share out surveys below.

Final Libraries Button  Final Artists Button Actual

An Important Date for your Diary

A reminder for our South East Libraries Touring Enquiry: Please keep Friday 20th March available in your diary for the upcoming Pitch Up Libraries event – open to all South East libraries as CPD, to attend a carefully curated day enabling direct conversations with artists, arts partners and other library services about future possibilities for enhancing your library service’s cultural offer.

Pitch Up Libraries will include a Library Service networking session, a key note from Sue Williamson, Arts Council England Director of Libraries, presentations from artists who want to take their work to libraries, and opportunities to meet local arts partners.

The event will be available from 29th November so watch out for the link we will be sharing.

CAE 4 Col CMYK New.eps  Print

Touring Arts To South East Libraries – Partnering with Arts Organisations

Our enquiry has enabled us to speak with many people experienced in touring arts to libraries. We want to share our findings with libraries across the south east.

Here is the first of our video series for libraries who are looking into broadening their arts and cultural offer, or looking into ways to do it a little bit differently.

The thumbnail below takes you to the video on our YouTube channel, where Lyndsey Wilson from Spot On Lancashire will talk to you about how rural touring schemes can support libraries with arts events, and how a partnership might work. This video is about 18 minutes and is an ideal resource to focus a team meeting around.

We welcome your comments and questions to feed into our enquiry. The next video will be available in November and will provide information about challenging the perceptions of libraries to promote engagement with arts in library spaces.

If you haven’t already, please complete and share out surveys below.

Final Libraries Button  Final Artists Button Actual

CAE 4 Col CMYK New.eps  Print

Touring Arts to Southeast Libraries

Are you from a library in the south east? Are you an artist who has toured work to libraries, or is it something you are considering? You may even be from a library elsewhere in the country but have had a fantastic experience with touring arts you’d like to share.

In partnership with Arts Council England, over the next seven months we are looking into south east libraries touring. We want to find out how library services have been getting involved with touring arts and finding ways to provide their users with opportunities to experience arts and culture. We want to know what sort of work artists and touring companies have been touring to libraries, their motivations, highlights, and what insights they’ve had into good libraries touring models.

We aim to support libraries and artists offer more touring arts to communities linked with libraries, some of whom may not usually visit an arts venue. Libraries offer a neutral, familiar and welcoming space for everyone; the ideal setting for offering an arts event which provides enjoyment, learning, new experiences and a sense of community.

We would like to introduce Claudia West from Arts Council England, who is supporting our enquiry into libraries touring in the south east. Hear Claudia talk about our project and what’s up and coming for you to get involved with.

Survey

If you are an artist, touring company, or from a library service in the south east, please complete either the artist or libraries survey below, to help us find out ways to support more libraries touring in the southeast. The deadline for this survey is Wednesday 30th October. Please share the relevant survey with your network – we want to hear from artists and touring companies, library assistants, volunteers, senior management; people getting involved with touring to libraries in diverse ways so we can see the bigger picture.

Final Libraries Button  Final Artists Button Actual

Video series

Next month we begin collaborating with people with libraries touring experience, across the south east and beyond, to offer videos covering several topics surrounding arts in libraries. On the Mondays below we will release a video on this blog, and we will invite you to pose any questions to the presenter who can address those in their video.

Monday 14 October

Lyndsey Wilson, Company Manager at Culturapedia talks Spot On Libraries in Lancashire, focusing on her unique approach to working with libraries

Monday 11 November

Krystal Vittles from Suffolk Libraries discusses perceptions of the library in libraries touring

Monday 25 November

Joanna Gray, Partnerships, Projects and Funding Manager at Cambridge County Council talks arts partner and effective communication between libraries and artists

Monday 9 December

Dayna White, Programme and Development Officer from The Curve in Slough – with topic ‘knowing your communities, and knowing quality’

Monday 17 February

Sarah Bedingfield, Service Manager Innovation, Digital and Libraries, Kent County Council, discusses feedback and evaluation strategies which support more consistent arts activity

The deadline for submitting your questions for each presenter will be two Mondays before the video release – email questions to juliastafford@creativeartseast.co.uk

Learning Resources to support libraries touring

Based on our research, and what we learn from you through the survey, we will be creating a toolkit to support you in libraries touring. The resource will be available both online and as a handy booklet, which will be available at the Pitch Up event taking place on March 20th – see more about this below.

Pitch Up Libraries

An important date for your diary: Friday 20th March

Invitations for this event are to follow; for now keep the date in your diary to join us and library services from across the south east at a Pitch Up Libraries event. Taking place at Chesham Library, it will be an exciting day for libraries, artists and arts venues to initiate conversations for possible collaborations on touring work to libraries, and meet arts venues with the potential for partnerships in providing more enriching arts and cultural experiences for library communities.

If you want to find out more email juliastafford@creativeartseast.co.uk

SURVEY

Once again here are the survey links for artists and for libraries.

Please share this as widely as possible with your network: the more people we hear from, the more we can help people access arts in libraries.

Do get in touch with Julia at juliastafford@creativeartseast.co.uk if you would like to find out more about any of the above, or simply to share your libraries touring experience.

CAE 4 Col CMYK New.eps Print