Earlier this year, Culture+ collaborated with Bournemouth Emerging Arts Fringe (BEAF) to produce Culture³= Let’s Make Space. The event came about because we recognised that there is a lack of space for artists in Bournemouth to both showcase and develop work. We invited:

    • Jessica Tsang from Meanwhile Space
    • Lydia Fraser-Ward from Fantasy High Street

They both talked about how they faced the same problem and how they overcome the challenge. I was particularly impressed that both companies started from grassroots and how by sheer determination they succeeded. Meanwhile Space now not only brought space into productive use in London, but also helps creates other similar projects across the country. Fantasy High Street partners up local business and artists to deliver unforgettable events, which remind communities that their high street is an important local resource.

After their inspiring talk, we ran a world cafe method with those who attended the event, which were mostly artists from Bournemouth. The result of this is that people had the desire to

  • Meet up and form a team
  • Map – identify partners, expertise, existing venues, spaces etc
  • Plan – Taking baby steps towards clarified goals that can lead to a well thought out proof of concept
  • Share the plans- making it known that we want to have this ongoing conversation

Let’s Make Space 2nd Meeting

Can you believe it? We actually had another meeting. The meeting was voluntarily set up and organised by those involved in the event, namely Daisy Carr, Oya Allen and Sue Jones. You may say, why is that a surprise? Well, I have attended a number of gatherings that tend to be just a talking shop. People were not willing to take a lead and action from it, unless they are dragged along. So for me to see this, it is amazing! I love action taking groups.

Anyway, so what happened in this meeting? We all brought food to share and did exactly what we said we would: form a team, map,  plan and went away with actions.

Mapping

From the conversations and recognising what we need, we mapped:

  • Existing Spaces
  • Unusual Spaces ideas
  • Existing & Past Cool Creative Stuff
  • Supportive Media
  • Helpful People and Organisations
  • Funding
  • Gathering & Networks

You can have a look at more detail what they are here. We know that this is far from being a perfect map, but more of a working document that that we can add and change. The group will be relying on people’s input and ideas on the document.

We went away thinking that there might be people or groups out there that are also doing the same kind of exercise. If there are, it would be really useful if we can join the dots, and make a concerted effort in tackling the challenge. So, if you are doing the same things or know of anyone who is doing this, we would love to know more.

What’s Next?

Everyone has gone away with a task to contribute to add to the mapping exercise further. A group of people are going to look at funding. Another group will look into what would be the best way to share the conversation. At our next meeting, we will look at clarifying our objectives as a group, and setting up more small steps to finding spaces for artist and creatives to use.

If you are a Bournemouth based artist or interested in creative culture development and you want to join the group in any way, please email Daisy: daisy@bournemouthscene.co.uk.

Don’t forget to also let us know if you are creating spaces for artists and creatives across Bournemouth.