Stimulating Participation in the Informal Creative Economy

 

Resource authors: Steve Thompson, Anny Light and Clare Brant

SPICE (Stimulating Participation in the Informal Creative Economy) investigated the informal creative economies that grow up around cultural heritage in England. Through a series of workshops blending discussion and practical tasks, key issues in developing a vibrant informal creative economy were analysed by participants from four neighbourhoods together with researchers. Participants included social entrepreneurs; artists, poets and photographers; trainers and facilitators; local authority staff responsible for the cultural sector and regeneration; retirees; academics; small business and voluntary sector representatives. Given the importance of place and identity to the project, the decision was taken to run a workshop in each of the four areas, meeting some of the same participants in different places, acting as ‘visitor’ or ‘host’. Although we intended to make local activities the focus in each visit (inviting the ‘hosts’ from the area to present their work and discuss it with the ‘visitors’), this aspect developed further than we had originally conceived and tours of the area and other opportunities for civic pride to manifest became an integral part of the agenda in each place, led by participants’ interests.

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