The Figures are Stacking Up...
It's been a busy year here at People United. We've been developing our website, our first paper has been published and we've set up our artists' commissions programme. 200 artists applied for the commissions back in November. We now have 5 artists creatively exploring the themes of values, belonging, empathy, learning and kindness. Planning has now started for commissions and partners for 2014.
We've also been helping other organisations to develop good practice. One of our key aims is to be a catalyst; sharing our work so that it can be adapted and replicated in other areas of the country. Most recently we've been working with Oldham Council who are developing a community-led programme celebrating kindness through the arts, and we've visited Plumcroft Primary School in South London who are dreaming up a whole range of altruistic creative ideas and neighbourhood actions for next term. In all, we've spent over 82 hours helping 179 individuals and organisations develop their work and a similar amount of time talking to others about the work that we do. Let us know if we can help you….
There have been over 10,000 unique visitors to our web site, 19% of these registered to download our resources. In fact there were 2,833 downloads – including the Arts and Kindness paper - and we are currently finding out how these were used. At the beginning of 2012, just over 200 people had signed up to receive our newsletters and now we are delighted to report that there are nearly 1,000 on the list. If you have downloaded resources or received our newsletter please let us know what you think (email us at email@example.com). We'd love to hear from you.
A Gathering of Artists, Partners and People United
One of the aims of our commissions programme is to build a community of practice for those interested in using the arts to affect social change. At the end of January, we began this process by gathering the partners (from the National Theatre, Turner Contemporary and Kent County Council) and artists (Sarah Woods, Janetka Platun, Maria Amidu, Phoebe Marsh and Penny Klepuszewska) together to start building the foundations and to establish the principles of how we want to work as a collective.
The weekend was facilitated brilliantly by our associate, Deepa Patel, who asked each of us to bring an object that was illustrative of our work. Through talking about these objects (which ranged from a crystal to a playing card to an art object made of a shell and a cast ear), we began to determine our values and codes of practice, thinking about how we will work together towards our shared aims.
We shared a meal in the evening at the Veg Box Café with our special guests, Peter Firmin, Lucy Steggals and Carl Jeffrey. This gave us all a chance to get to know each other a little bit more before we spent the following day thinking in more depth about the detail of each proposal.
During the process Deepa quoted Martin Luther King:
"Our lives begin to end" he said, "the day we become silent about things that matter".
We think the arts matter, and that by developing arts practice through empathy, belonging, learning and values, we can help build a kinder, more caring society. We want to be rigorous in the way that we measure this, and will continue to draw on academic and practice research.
Keep up to date on the progress of the commissions by visiting the projects page.
A Delegation from Oldham visits People United
We always hope our projects and research will have a multiplier effect and a real legacy both in the places in which we work, and the wider community. So, we were delighted when we were able to welcome a delegation from Oldham who had heard about the We All Do Good Things project in Herne Bay, and wanted to find out how they could use some of our learning in their own community. The group comprised of arts representatives from Oldham Council and a community representative from a women’s support group. We spent a day together sharing People United's work and practices, describing our key learning from the project, and explaining the theories behind our work. We were also really pleased to invite Colleen Ashwin-Kean from Herne Bay in Bloom to share her experiences of the project and in particular the Giant Picnic. The group were keen to discuss how these ideas and principles could be replicated in Oldham, while still being flexible and adaptive to local needs and context. It was a packed day but enjoyable and we’re looking forward to supporting the nascent ideas to flourish over the following months.
For more information about our work supporting others, please click here.
Selected Artists Revealed!
Over 200 proposals landed in our inbox for our inaugural Artists Commissions programme and we have been delighted with the high standard of submissions. Artists from far and wide, of different backgrounds and art forms applied but all shared a common goal of wanting to learn about and demonstrate the potential of the arts to inspire social change. It has been heartening to hear from so many artists and organisations who share our aspirations and we'd like to thank everyone who applied as we appreciate the time and effort that goes in to writing applications.
Informed by our Arts and Kindness paper these four commissions will focus on the themes of empathy, belonging, values, and learning and artists will be supported, connected with wider conversations across disciplines, and feel part of a community of practice.
After four days of interviews, and much deliberating and discussion, People United and our partners, Arts Council England, Kent County Council, National Theatre and Turner Contemporary are very pleased to announce the artists who will be working on this exciting series of commissions in 2013.
Empathy in association with Kent County Council: Sarah Woods
Sarah is a playwright and campaigner, writing for theatre, radio and television. Sarah will ask through writing, performance, multimedia and science - what actually IS empathy?
Belonging in association with National Theatre: Janetka Platun
Janetka creates work to interpret the lives of people through alternative archives, photographs and installation. For this commission she will be working on a site-specific installation that explores interpersonal relationships and how we find ways of belonging.
Values in association with Turner Contemporary: Maria Amidu
A visual artist, Maria will use participatory practice to explore and reveal the commonality (and division) of values between visitors to Turner Contemporary. Maria's artistic practice explores the social relationships between people mediated by objects and places.
Learning in association with Kent County Council: Phoebe Marsh
A solo performer, producer and recent postgraduate from The University of Kent, Phoebe will share her learning through blogs, podcasts and performance.
In addition, Penny Klepuszewska will be creatively responding to the overall programme. As a photographer interested in exploring and revealing aspects of contemporary life, Penny will develop a series of photographs investigating the four themes of the commissions programme.
We are thrilled to be working with this group, and over the coming months will profile the work of each artist. In addition, we’ll be regularly blogging, posting photographs and film and keeping you up to date with the progress and results of each commission.
Collaborating to Measure the Social Impact of the Arts
People United are delighted to have been chosen as one of the partnerships for the Prosper programme. This programme offers support and investment to discover how working together and the power of the arts can enable East Kent and its people to thrive. We have partnered with the University of Kent and Michele Gregson, an independent arts educator. Using the framework described in Arts and Kindness we are developing a tool which evaluates the social impact of the arts based on what we know about the science behind kindness.
Our collaboration is yielding valuable insights and throwing up plenty of challenges; we want our tool to be easy to use, interactive and creative whilst at the same time preserving academic rigour. We are due to start trialling the first version of the tool with arts organisations in January.
Canterbury Festival, Workers of Art and The Map Consortium are the partnership behind Prosper.
How to Get Your Copy of the Arts and Kindness PaperOur Arts and Kindness paper is available as a free PDF download from here or you can purchase a hard copy for £5 - this price includes post and package. To obtain one of our lovely hard copy versions please send a cheque for £5 payable to People United, to the address below and please remember to include your name and address.
Canterbury Innovation Centre
People United's Arts and Kindness Paper Launched
Could arts be a 'superconductor' for kindness?
Written in association with the Centre for the Study of Group Processes at the University of Kent, this paper is for practitioners, arts professionals, policy makers, researchers, funders, and all those who have a passion for building kinder, more caring communities.
Much is claimed for the transformative power of the arts. Driven by curiosity and a desire to understand how our work can be more effective we have been exploring those claims and examining them more closely. Drawing on evidence and research across a range of academic disciplines including psychology, sociology, philosophy, economics and neuroscience, this paper proposes a model for how the arts might create the conditions for kindness to grow.
People United thinks the arts have an important and unique role to play in exploring questions of kindness and inspiring change. This paper is just the beginning of our exploration, and we look forward to your creative ideas and thoughts on how we might develop it further. To read the paper, download it from here.
People United Artists Commissions 2013
New commissions explore empathy, belonging and values
We are delighted to announce the launch of a new national Artists Commissions programme to take place in 2013. In collaboration with the Arts Council, National Theatre, Turner Contemporary and Kent County Council, we are looking for four artists from a wide range of art forms and disciplines to deliver stimulating and ambitious work that can help grow a more caring society.
Stephanie Fuller, Regional Planning Senior Manager, South East, Arts Council England says:
"We are really excited by People United's new artists commissions - they are challenging, thought provoking and completely have the enrichment of both society and individual artists at the heart of them. The collaboration with National Theatre, Turner Contemporary and Kent County Council gives the commissions a wonderful sense of place and time and will anchor them in Lambeth, Margate, and Kent.
These commissions remind us that art should take risks but can also be about social change. They are well placed during a time when the value of art is being questioned – with a focus on empathy, belonging, values and learning as social outcomes, People United’s commissions truly show how great art can make our lives better."
For more information about this national programme and for details of how to apply, please download the brief by visiting http://www.peopleunited.org.uk/resources.php
The deadline for submissions is Monday 5 November 2012, at noon.
Autumn Walk with People United
Join us on Saturday 22nd September, the first day of Autumn, for a gentle walk in the lovely Blean Woods just outside Canterbury and then a picnic. People United staff and their families will be meeting at 11am by the picnic tables. If you’re interested in our work, have worked with us before and would like to catch up, or would just like to spend a morning on a nice walk, please just turn up. All welcome.
The walk is in support of the first ever Waste Less Live More week run by Waste Watch between 17th and 23rd September. To find out more about the week visit www.wastelesslivemore.com
Meet at the picnic tables by the Car Park at 11am – the walk will take one to one and a half hours – bring a picnic.
Blean Woods National Nature Reserve Car Park CT2 9DD Grid TR122594
Welcome to a New Member of the Team
We are delighted to welcome Jo Broadwood who has joined us as Head of Research and Innovation. She has a wealth of experience in working with communities, and has researched and written a number of practical publications. She was formerly Director of the Leap Academy of Youth and Conflict, and for ten years worked as a specialist cohesion adviser for Communities and Local Government. In addition to her role with People United she is also a Director of Talk for a Change, a community interest company specialising in dialogue facilitation and conflict transformation. We are all looking forward to working with her.
It's August, It's Time for a Giant Picnic
On Sunday 26th August 2012, the Giant Picnic will take place for the third year running, at the Memorial Park in Herne Bay from 11am - 3pm. The Giant Picnic, originated by People United during the We All Do Good Things project in Herne Bay in 2010, is now being run by Herne Bay in Bloom and other local organisations and is part of the Herne Bay Festival. We are delighted that this legacy continues to get bigger and better each year.
There'll be live music, games, singing, art activities and some interesting chatter...and it's all free. The People United team will be there so please come and say hello. Bring a picnic, a blanket to sit on and join in the fun.
People United Have Won a Better Places National Award
The awards were organised by New Start - the UK's leading magazine about making places better. They were searching for projects and programmes that demonstrated innovation and a commitment to inclusive approaches and wanted to celebrate initiatives that have gone that extra mile, reaching out to all sections of society and blazing a trail for others to follow.
People United won the Social Enterprise Award for their We All Do Good Things project in Herne Bay, Kent. The project was launched in 2009, collecting stories of kindness and love from the local community. Artists worked across the town to uncover and celebrate positive stories from bingo halls, schools, residential homes and hairdressing salons.
The project culminated in an exhibition and giant picnic for the community attracting more than 1,000 local people. Overall, the project involved around a sixth of the town’s population.
A research team at the University of Kent is now analysing its wider impact and We All Do Good Things has already inspired similar projects elsewhere.
The winners of the first Better Places National Awards were announced at a ceremony in Manchester on 3 July.
The judges said: "The exciting thing about this initiative is that while it’s already demonstrated success, it’s also acting as a catalyst – and it can clearly be replicated elsewhere."
People United are delighted with the award as it recognises a project that harnessed the power of the arts to make a positive difference.
For further information about the awards go to New Start
One of a Kind
Arts Professional magazine recently published an article by Tom in their issue on arts and wellbeing. In One of a Kind he discusses how our arts programme celebrating kindness has made a difference to the way primary school children feel and act towards other people.
To find out more about the schools programme visit We All Do Things: Schools
To read Tom's article see One of a Kind
People United Shortlisted for the Better Places National Award
The Better Places National Awards celebrates initiatives that go that extra mile, reach out to all sections of society and blaze a trail for others to follow. It rewards the projects and people that have made a tangible difference to the quality of life in cities, towns and villages.
People United have been shortlisted for this award for our We All Do Good Things project in Herne Bay, Kent in which we collected stories of kindness and love from the local community. It was about telling good news stories using arts and creativity across a whole town. Artists worked with every section of the community to uncover and celebrate positive stories working in bingo halls, schools, residential homes and hairdressing salons. The project culminated in an exhibition and giant picnic for the community.
We will find out the results at an awards ceremony in Manchester in July - wish us luck!
The awards are organised by New Start - the UK's leading magazine about making places better.
For further information about the awards go to: Better Places National Awards 2012
Wanted – Head of Research and Innovation
We are delighted to announce that we are recruiting for the brand new post of Head of Research and Innovation. We are looking for an experienced, creative and committed person to join our small team. The post holder will deliver People United's mission through developing new research, integrating this learning into our programme of work, and communicating and sharing this widely. To find out more please download the full job description here.
The closing date for applications is 12 noon on Monday 11th June. If you require further information please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01227 811800.
Welcome Back Sarah
Our Project Manager, Sarah Fox has returned to work after her maternity leave. Her little boy Evan is now six months old and thriving. Sarah says she is glad to be back and is excited about developing our new projects and preparing to go and see innovative companies and artists to learn about best practice.
She's working two and a half days a week (Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays) and looks forward to catching up with our partners and colleagues.
A Bit of Friendly Advice
This was a really successful (and friendly) session about mentoring and advice-giving within the arts sector in Kent. We’ll put some of the notes on the website soon. We hope to build on this by exploring how those giving informal advice can learn together and support each other and those in need of guidance/mentoring.
If you’d like to be part of this next stage, please let us know email@example.com
A Bit of Friendly Advice
A People United event for those who would like to learn more about mentoring and advice-giving within the arts sector - on Tuesday 13th March from 10am - 1pm.
The session is primarily aimed at Kent-based individuals who already informally offer advice and guidance to other arts colleagues but would like to know more. This interactive session will take place at the Canterbury Innovation Centre. It will be led by Sara Robinson, who currently coaches and mentors arts leaders on the Clore Leadership Programme, and will feature a range of presenters including Joanna Jones, Director of Museums and Galleries at Canterbury City Council and Mary Ann le Lean from Year One Consulting.
Booking Information: The event is free but places are limited – to book your place please go to http://abitoffriendlyadvice.eventbrite.co.uk or contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
Monday wasn't blue at the Canterbury Innovation Centre
People United introduced the Blue Monday Brigade to the centre on Monday 16th January. This happy crew offered businesses a menu of kindness. They could choose cake, a performance, an office survival kit or a surprise, in addition these were all delivered with a smile. Eleven businesses joined in the fun which resulted in a very happy work place and smiles all round. To see more Blue Monday activities go to www.bluemonday.org
Emergence: Creative Practice for a Sustainable Future
A partnership project between Volcano and Cynnal Cymru - Sustain Wales supported by Arts Council Wales and British Council.
In 2010/11 the arts sector in Wales came together at three major conferences in Cardiff, Swansea and Caernarfon to share ideas, ask questions and get practical tools for a more sustainable practice.
Emergence focuses on two main themes : developing a low-carbon infrastructure, including management and development of venues and developing the role of the arts as a crucible of ideas and visions for a low Carbon Sustainable Wales. The report compiled by Fern Smith (Volcano) and Rhodri Thomas (Cynnal Cymru) documents the visionary and practical talks given at the conferences from Satish Kumar (Resurgence Magazine), Paul Allen (Centre for Alternative Technology), Alison Tickell (Julie's Bicycle), John McGrath (National Theatre Wales), Tom Andrews (People United) and many more.
People United - in the Top 10
People United has been voted one of the Top 10 Community Volunteering Placements in Canterbury by University of Kent Students.
Kent Union Volunteering Committee visited a number of volunteering placements. This information along with the results of a questionnaire completed by students has been used to create the current top 10 community schemes in Canterbury.
Students who volunteered for People United were involved in the research and development of a number of our projects such Welcome and Hut 136.
A summary of the findings can be found here.
The Giant Picnic - A Great Community Event
Following on from a successful picnic in 2010 as part of People United's We All Do Good Things project, the 2011 event was organised by Herne Bay in Bloom, under the guidance of People United.
On the day over 1,000 people attended the Giant Picnic. Visitors had the opportunity to take part in 30 different free activities for all ages, including street theatre, dancing to a live band, and music workshops. The picnic brought together 27 different community groups and organisations working in the Canterbury district however most were from Herne Bay. 30+ volunteers supported the event. For more on the Giant Picnic 2011 go to the project page.
Giant Picnic this Sunday 28th August 2011
11am - 2pm
Now being run by Herne Bay in Bloom, the Giant Picnic will be even bigger than last year with over 30 stalls to delight and entertain you. Have your old vinyl records played, try a trick cycle, watch Dizzy O'Dare in her tiny travelling tightwire show, play giant games, have a cuppa and a chat, say hello to Pip the Clown and find out about lots of activities you can be part of in Herne Bay. There will be live music from Sambapelomar, Invicta Concert Band and the Ian Petrie Band. So, bring a picnic and have 3 hours of fun!
Go to Herne Bay in Bloom for more information.
People United - Award Winners!
At the first ever Culture Awards held at Augustine House in Canterbury on 16th June 2011, People United were awarded the Community Award for our year-long project in Herne Bay: We All Do Good Things. We were delighted to be nominated but then to actually win the category was a real testament to the work of our small team. Over 6,000 residents actively participated in the project telling their stories of kindness and generosity at over 90 free creative workshops and events.
We'd like to extend our thanks to Canterbury City Council and Canterbury for Culture for their support, and congratulate them on a very successful first awards evening.
Herne Bay Beach Hut
Hut 136 at the West Beach Herne Bay is about to become a quiet and welcoming place for people to read, think and reflect on ways to help their community. We envisage that the hut will be made available to individuals, community and social groups as a space to develop their work.
We would like to offer a variety of options from monthly residencies to one-off visits.
In the next few weeks we will apply another coat of paint to the exterior, and decorate the interior (hang pictures/soft furnishings) to create a warm and welcoming space. We look forward to hearing from you if you are interested in using the Beach Hut. Click here to contact us or take a look at the project page.
National Portfolio Funding
People United has been awarded National Portfolio funding for the first time. We are grateful to Arts Council England for their support; it's heartening and exciting that our work across communities has been recognised.
Tom Andrews spoke at the Arts and Sustainability conference Emergence in Swansea, Wales. This was a fascinating and challenging day looking at the role of arts, climate change and interconnectedness. Other speakers included Satish Kumar, Lucy Neal, Judith Knight and Axel Tangerding. To read more about this event please see this page.
Giant Picnic 2011
Following on from its success in 2010, we are pleased to say that the Giant Picnic will be running for a second year on Sunday 28th August 2011. This time organised by local Herne Bay groups including Herne Bay in Bloom. The picnic will run in a similar way as last year (but hopefully be bigger and better!). If you're interested in getting involved or would like more information, please get in touch or visit the Herne Bay in Bloom web site.
New Job Opportunity with People United
We are looking to recruit a Project Development Manager to join our small team and help us take our work out into the world. The Project Development Manager will help to extend the legacy of our projects, to develop our income generating services, to grow our national network and to communicate our work. The position is 3 days a week and the deadline for applications is Monday 21st March 5pm.
Today is Blue Monday!
Today (24th January) is Blue Monday! So why not do something good that will make someone else's day? Blue Monday is now being run by staff and students of Canterbury College. A whole range of exciting activities are taking place. To find out more go to the Blue Monday website www.bluemonday.org.
Following our work across Herne Bay, we are continuing to support a number of locally-led community / arts initiatives. These range from a choir with adults with dementia, a social action youth group doing positive things about the town and a community cinema initiative. If you'd like to get involved and help out these groups, please get in touch with us.
New Website Coming Soon
We hope to have our new website up and running by the middle of February - thanks for your patience!