Four months into my role as Director of Creativity Works, and at last I feel that I may be able to write something of some comprehension and value for our newsletter! I have recently surfaced from developing our NPO bid, and from meetings as varied as the B&NES Health and Wellbeing Network where I sat with the chair of the CCG and talked through the merits of social prescription, to the Cultural Forum Executive Committee meetings that I am fortunate to sit on and which provide so much excellent strategic thought for our sector.
Thank you to everyone who has welcomed me so enthusiastically into the role, including Creativity Works staff and trustees, and stakeholders, partners and collaborators from a plethora of fields. Creativity Works is an organisation that means many different things to many different people. This is a strength and is also sometimes a burden, as it is often difficult to pigeonhole and classify what exactly we do. Well, we do a lot of things to be fair. And we do them very well.
Just this week we have been highly commended for Re|source, our virtual studio at the Lemos and Crane and Lankelly Chase first Digital Empowerment Awards, the Hillview project, a collaboration between ourselves and many key local organisations, is drawing to a close and participants and staff are busy preparing for their upcoming exhibition as part of the Bath Fringe Festival. Tiny Monuments, a collective of Artists and peer group which grew from one of our wellbeing projects and which we continue to support, are also gearing up for their own exhibition at the Bath Fringe and looking forward to a new painting course in June. Not to mention other creative groups such as Kitchen Creations and peer led groups Breathing Space and Writing Space to name just a few who we continue to support and work with.
Our purpose and speciality is one of Socially Engaged Arts practice. For me this encompasses ‘Quality Artistic Engagement’, both with communities and with artists that we develop and support, and Community Development where our methodology of progression and empowerment is evidenced so fruitfully in the work with participants and of the peer-led artistic communities that we incubate and support. What exactly Socially Engaged Art is, is open for debate, as it should be, as all art forms and art movements should be. They must always adapt, modify, change with the times and within the contexts they are employed. A passion and focus for Creativity Works is to be at the forefront of this debate, through our projects, our research, and our evaluation. Socially Engaged Arts practice is ever-evolving and we, through our work within the Health and Wellbeing sector, in our forthcoming work with Elders and Dementia, as part of our Co|Create programme, and vitally through our partnership working, are at the cutting edge of this exploration.
Our current work within the Mental Health sector includes delivering, in partnership, the Mental Health Creative Support Service. We are also working in Bristol with Second Step on The Golden Key project. Very soon, we will start work in care homes as part of a wide-scale project entitled Home Service, and in the near future we will be re-launching our Co|Create programme. This will sit at the heart of our work and influence everything we do. We very much look forward to continue to collaborate with many different organisations, statutory bodies, funding bodies, Universities, and individuals to really break boundaries with our practice. We look forward to working with many Artists, volunteers and arts organisations, including Museums and Libraries, to develop and deliver exemplary arts projects, with social benefit at their core.
Please do contact us if you would like to work with us, and if you are able to contribute to the vision we have at Creativity Works: to change people’s lives through Creativity.
Oliver Jones, Creativity Works.