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Creative Spaces Creating Communities
13 June 2019
In May Atelier will be hosting the first of a programme of meetups over the next year, which will be a forum for providing mutual support, exploring collaborative working and fostering a greater sense of community amongst creative spaces in Stroud. The events will be structured around keynote presentations that will lead discussion around particular themes.
This launch meeting will set the context and discuss the potential contribution of creative spaces in making sustainable communities There will also be opportunities to shape future discussions and the development of the network. Beyond bringing together anyone with an interest in the diversity of spaces that currently exist; the aim will be to map provision, to connect local groups/organisations, and to identify gaps and opportunities.
More generally, we are interested in exploring the various roles played by creative spaces - in providing workspace, support and shared resources for artists and craftspeople, but also in community building, place-making and as hubs for the exchange of knowledge and experience.
The Stroud Valleys have a long history of attracting and sustaining artists and craftspeople. Creative work, meeting and overlapping with a radical tradition that is also deeply embedded in the town’s history, continues to be a defining characteristic of its contemporary identity.
Stroud supports a diverse range of spaces for the production and presentation of art, design and craft. Often informed by a strong sense of community and the need to be responsive to changing needs and opportunities, these range from permanent studio provision to informal, short-lived, projects that pop up in vacant shops.Whilst having common aims, audiences and memberships, shared visions for the town, and drawing from the same wellspring, there is a sense that these initiatives are evolving in separate, parallel paths - and even in competition with each other.
The recent Cultural Strategy, commissioned by Stroud Town Council highlighted the wealth of cultural spaces and places, but also identified the opportunity for better collaboration, sharing of resources and economies of scale. The network meetings will be locally focused and will test the potential for a creative spaces symposium, which will have a wider scope, bringing together a range of expertise and experience in order to share good practice and reflect on opportunities and challenges, and to encourage a sense of connectedness between creative spaces nationally.
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