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What it means to work on your doorstep

What it means to work on your doorstep

This is a quick recap of the second in a series of three workshops hosted in collaboration with PlatformThirty1 as part of our new Creative Agents programme. The session was led by Jodie Cresswell-Waring and held at Somercotes Village Hall on Tuesday 17th June, 2024.

How might we step outside or comfort zones, find the courage to get to know ourselves and our neighbours in new ways, and spark creativity where we live?

Ouuufff that’s a big question right (!?!) feeling a wee bit uncomfortable just thinking about it, but with Jodie as our guide and a few lovely old match boxes we had a lot of fun exploring this together.

We kicked off the session with a quick re-cap from workshop 1, The Journey to Co-Creation. Jodie explained that this session was designed to dive a bit deeper into the “muck and the magic” of co-creation and to zoom in on the unique challenges and possibilities of collaborating with your neighbours in the place you live. Jody shared stories of living and working in her community and invited us to think deeply about the many hats we all wear and the role we might play in sparking and spreading magic within the communities we’re part of.

Every match is made to be lit…

Jodie kicked us off with her “Matchbox Musings”. Using matches and matchboxes to help us to think about people and places.

If every match is made to be lit, and every matchbox contains all that’s needed to create fire. How do we create the spark?

Jodie shared stories and experiences of the warmth, light and power that can be kindled when you’re able to create the right conditions for people “to spark”, and for sparks to spread. She also warned us of the incredibly delicate nature of this process and how often, the imbalance of power and agency of “professionals” working in community space, can undermine the potency of the raw materials (… a bit like dunking your match box in bucket of water!)

We talked about the external and internal narratives that a community exists within. And how disempowering it can be to exist within a box or a story that someone else (no matter how generously) has created for you rather than one you have created for yourself.

Before Striking a Light

To get us thinking a bit more about this and the places, people and the grit needed to create a spark, Jodie invited us to create a mini “match-box community”. Thinking about all the elements that might help bring our community sizzling to life.

What excites you?
What’s gonna motivate people to get involved?
What’s the grit you bring?
What do you want to nurture?
What people are you thinking about?

Each question was connected to an object that we added into our matchboxes including a tiny wee bottle filled with the grit (sparkly sea salt!) we need to bring!

Never Play With Matches!

We had so much fun with the match boxes (I still have mine in my pocket) that we started to run out of time!

Jodie raced us quickly through some thoughts on public art and the act of developing something with the intention of permanence. She highlighted the complexities of developing physical interventions that have a life beyond the original creators. Communities often want to celebrate and mark the physical presence of a space, and she reminded us that this is a very different beast from developing temporary spaces or activities that are built for the pleasure of the moment, and for people involved to enjoy. She touched on how important it is that communities feel ownership of anything that is going to be part of their everyday lives and what a difference it can make to involve as many people as possible in meaningful ways. She shared a few examples of high profile projects that have unsettled, and/or were undervalued or rejected by their communities, even when there was a wholesome intention to gift the community with “high quality” art. She also shared a few of her own bumpy rides with working on mural projects and the dance that had to happen between artistic freedom and authentic heritage. We heard stories about the beauty and brutality of these worlds colliding within the community and how important skilled co-design was to finding a way through. We also got to hear about one of her favourite examples of community driven public art Dream St Helens located on the Sutton Manor Colliery in St Helen’s Merseyside.

Getting out of our (match)boxes!

The last area we touched quickly was boundaries. One of the most challenging and beautiful parts of working on your doorstep! Jodes talked about the paradox of needing to “bring your whole self” but “not putting yourself at the centre”. And shared this beautiful quote to open us up to new ways of thinking about our “fertile edges” rather than our “rigid boundaries”:

“Complex networks of relationships offer very different possibilities for thinking about self and other. The very idea of boundaries changes profoundly. Rather than being a self-protective wall, boundaries become the place of meeting and exchange. We usually think of these edges as the means to define separateness, defining what’s inside and what’s outside. But in living systems, boundaries are something quite different. They are the place where new relationships take form, an important place of exchange and growth as an individual chooses to respond to another. As connections proliferate and the system weaves itself into existence, it becomes difficult to interpret boundaries as defenses, or even as markers of where one individual ends”

The Promise and Paradox of Community in The Community of the Future. Jossey-Bass, 1998 Margaret J. Wheatley & Myron Kellner-Rogers

If you’re curious to find out more you can dive into our Creative Agents Padlet and let us know of any other useful resources that we can add in.

Massive thanks to Jodie for sharing so openly and generously.

Creative Agents

We ended the session with a bit of a Q&A about our new Neighbourhood Creative Agents programme. You can find out more here and apply by sending us a completed version of this form here by 4th July.

We talked through the dates, application process and some of the requirements. A few questions that came up below:

Q: Can I apply with someone else?
A: You’re welcome to apply with someone else, but you would need to be able to make that work within the same budgets. For the peer learning sessions we would ask you to nominate one person to take part, so that there is a consistency of experience for all six Creative Agents.

Q: Do I need to know where I’m going to work?
A:
 Yes. This is a place-based programme working on your doorstep or in a place that feels like home to you.

Q: Do I have to spend all the money?
A:
 No. Each Creative Agent will have up to £5000 to spend, but not everyone will need / want to use that amount. Pots of funding for each Creative Agent will be held on our Open Collective platform. You will be trained up to use the platform and this will allow you to draw down expenses and make payments as needed, rather than managing expenditure through a personal account. Any unspent money will be rolled over to support future Creative Agents.

Next up!

Join us at Riddings Park Community Centre on Thurs 27th June for: Creative Agents- Planning for change and successful outcomes Tickets, Thu 27 Jun 2024 at 10:30 | Eventbrite

We’ll be talking about how to develop project ideas with outcomes and learning in mind. Thinking about how to juggle timelines, budgets, risks and resourcing when ideas are still forming.

ABOUT US

We are Make/Shift. A growing collective of people, groups and organisations who believe in the creative power of communities to make positive change in the places they live.

We are rooted in Amber Valley, Derbyshire with networks reaching out beyond. We believe everyone is creative and want Amber Valley to be a place full of makers, where everyone’s creativity matters.

A big part of our work is testing new ways of working and learning together, which shift more power and resources to communities to make decisions, take action, and make change together on their doorstep.

Make/Shift is part of Arts Council England’s Creative People and Places programme. Find out more >>> www.wearemakeshift.uk

Platform Thirty1 are a local arts organisation specialising in enabling others to cultivate social change through artistic practice, cultural endeavour and creativity.

We are interested in changing the balance of power and agency through a co-created approach, with partners and participants. There are three core strands to our work:

  • Sector Development: predominately cross-sector work supporting professionals in arts, education, and neighbourhood spaces
  • Community: predominately co-creating with residents and a community-first approach in ex-industrial places in Derbyshire
  • Refuges: predominately women and children who are victims and survivors of domestic abuse

Find out more >>> www.platformthirty1.com

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The Journey To Co-Creation

The Journey To Co-Creation

This is a quick recap of the first in a series of three workshops hosted in collaboration with PlatformThirty1 as part of our new Creative Agents programme. The session was led by Jodie Cresswell-Waring and held at Infinite Wellbeing Community Centre in Heanor on Tuesday 11th June 2024.

What does it take to be a conscious, co-creation Community Facilitator? How can we disrupt the Lead Artist & Project Manager model?
The session was structured to unpack these two pretty epic questions together. Jodie tapped into her vast experience of living and working in her community to help share insights about what it takes to hold space for deep connection and collaboration in the places we call home and how we all have a role to play in shifting how power, resources and ownership flow … and believe it our not it all started with Zebras!

Let’s Dazzle
Did you know that a herd or group of Zebras is called “a dazzle”. What a brilliant word! Like a pod or a gaggle or a swarm but so much cooler! Together, a dazzle of zebras can outwit their predators by combining their unique stripe patterns together into dynamic group patterns that make it almost impossible to separate out individuals from the group.

The workshop got us thinking about what might become possible if we could all be part of a dazzle of neighbours working together in the places we care about. This was defo my favourite fact about Zebras, but there were loads more and Jodie shared her top facilitator facts in a super playful and creative way using each of the zebra facts to get us thinking about what it takes to hold space as a community facilitator.

Then we each took a bit of time to think about what our own unique facilitator stripes might be. Digging into our unique interests, talents, skills, experiences, passions, place, positionality to create our own zebra stripes.

Before forming our own wee momentary dazzle as a group.

Greater Creative
Jodes went on to talk a bit more about her experience working in Blackwell Parish, where she grew up and still lives. Over the past four years, more than 4000 neighbours have been involved in Greater Creative, working together to make Blackwell Parish a community-led, connected, playful and proud parish that celebrates its people and places. You can find out a bit more about this deep, rigorous and inspiring work (and get along to support it) here.

Buzz Words
We spent a bit of time unpacked some of the buzz words that are currently thrown around and used very differently in different sectors. These are the definitions that Jodes uses in relation to her work:

Culture — the way of life of a particular people

“Culture is made by everyone, everyday in loads of different ways”

Co-Creation — Intentionally collaborating together to decide / make / do

“Co-creation shifts power, resources and ownership towards the people the work is intended to benefit, as opposed to the traditional ‘top down’ approach. It encourages every individual to activate their creative potential and realise their own ability to make change”.

Cultural Democracy — everybody’s heritage and cultural expression is worthwhile and deserving of an equitable share of power, resource and voice.

“Cultural Democracy describes an approach to arts and culture that actively engages everyone in deciding what counts as culture, where it happens, who makes it and who experiences it”

Co-Creation — Processes and approaches:
We talked about some of the different approaches and methods that underpin co-creation.

  • takes places with and not to
  • is process driven not product driven
  • has no set outputs but is outcome focused
  • prioritises how not what
  • shifts agency and power and challenges privelge
  • brings partners together on an equal footing
  • is relational not transactional
  • empowers and includes
  • requires transparency, self awareness and honesty
  • the end goal is for community to own and lead / and that you are no longer needed

And about some of ways of doing and being that make this work possible:
# Listening #Responding #Caring #Adapting #Representing

Power
The standout theme from the session was around power and ownership. Getting us to think much more deeply and honestly about this. And sitting with some of the discomfort that this can throw up.

What power have you got? Where did you get it from? How do you use it?

Everyone had a go at using the Agency Scale designed to help people and organisations think about where power and agency sits for different activities and projects they are involved in. The tool was originally developed by Co-Creating Change a network and programme exploring the role artists, cultural organisations and communities can play in co-creating change together. Jodes made it clear that there is no right and wrong but that it can be a really important and humbling part of the process to be open and honest about where you’re at, how long it can take and how much work goes into really getting power, resources and ownership flowing in new ways.

If you’re curious to find out more you can dive into our Creative Agents Padlet and let us know of any other useful resources that we can add in!

Massive thanks to Jodie for sharing so openly and generously!

Creative Agents
We ended the session with a bit of a Q&A about our new Neighbourhood Creative Agents programme. You can find out more here and apply by sending us a completed version of this form here by 4th July.

We talked through the dates, application process and some of the requirements. A few questions that came up below:

Q: What if I live just outside Amber Valley
A: This programme is about working in a place you care about. The place, neighbourhood, street, village, community you choose to work with as a Creative Agent will need to be in Amber Valley. If have a meaningful connection and can tell us why you want to work here, its definitely worth applying.

Q: Can the budget be used to pay for my own time?
A: Yes. If that’s needed and important to making something happen where you live. Each Creative Agents budget / approach / situation will be different so we’re happy to explore what might work best for you in your context.

Q: Will shortlisted applicants be interviewed?
A: We’ll arrange an informal zoom call with all shortlisted Creative Agents in July.

Feedback
Some lovely comments at the end of the session:

“Definitely got the cogs moving on what is possible to be part of for this community”

“I had quite a few “aha” moments”

“Its got my brain whirring!”

“I’m thinking about how I can change what I do already”

Next up!
Join us at Somercotes Village Hall on Monday 17th June for:
What it means to work on your doorstep Tickets, Mon 17 Jun 2024 at 10:00 | Eventbrite

We’ll be diving into what it means to work on your doorstep. Exploring the hats we wear as professionals, & the hearts we have living in a community. Sharing tales & talking through the beauty & brutality of these two worlds meeting in this practice.

ABOUT US
We are Make/Shift. A growing collective of people, groups and organisations who believe in the creative power of communities to make positive change in the places they live.

We are rooted in Amber Valley, Derbyshire with networks reaching out beyond. We believe everyone is creative and want Amber Valley to be a place full of makers, where everyone’s creativity matters.

A big part of our work is testing new ways of working and learning together, which shift more power and resources to communities to make decisions, take action, and make change together on their doorstep.

Make/Shift is part of Arts Council England’s Creative People and Places programme. Find out more >>> www.wearemakeshift.uk

Platform Thirty1 are a local arts organisation specialising in enabling others to cultivate social change through artistic practice, cultural endeavour and creativity.

We are interested in changing the balance of power and agency through a co-created approach, with partners and participants. There are three core strands to our work:

Sector Development: predominately cross-sector work supporting professionals in arts, education, and neighbourhood spaces
Community: predominately co-creating with residents and a community-first approach in ex-industrial places in Derbyshire
Refuges: predominately women and children who are victims and survivors of domestic abuse
Find out more >>> www.platformthirty1.com

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Join us!

Join Us!- Creative Community Builder

We’re on the look out for a new Creative Community Builder to join the Make/Shift team, helping to set up and lead a new community fund where decisions about what happens are made directly by the community.

Creative Community Builder — Participation & Networks

- 3 days/week
- Fixed term contract until March 2025 (with possibility of extending)
- £30,950 to £34,027 pro-rata

What’s it all about?

As Creative Community Builder you will play an essential convening role as part of the Make/Shift team. Helping to grow a network of movers, shakers and community makers, who have access to the skills, resources and platforms they need to make decisions and take action together in the places they live and to invite their neighbours along to join them.

To thrive in this role you will be:

  • passionate about the creative power of communities
  • committed to strengths based community development and curious about working proactively with communities
  • excited about testing different ways of shifting more power and resources to communities to make decisions for themselves about the cultural and creative experiences they want to grow in the places where they live
  • experienced in creating space for people with different lived, learnt and practiced experience to share, learn, collaborate, make decisions and take action together.

This is a new role in the team. Working alongside our current Creative Community Builder, with a specific focus on embedding participatory practices and growing networks. As the lead on our new Movers, Shakers and Community Makers work strand, we’re particularly keen to hear from people who have experience in facilitating citizen-led decision making, and/or nurturing peer-to-peer networks.

Applications deadline: Tuesday 25 June 2024
Interviews:
10th July
Apply 
here

About Make/Shift

We are Make/Shift. A growing collective of people, groups and organisations who believe in the creative power of communities to make positive change in the places they live. We are rooted in Amber Valley, in the heart of Derbyshire with networks reaching out beyond. Together we want Amber Valley to be a place full of makers, where everyone’s creativity matters as part of everyday life.

Our mission is to put communities — their strengths, ideas, energy, ambitions & stories — at the heart of making positive change where they live. Collaborating together to nurture the conditions needed for people to unleash their creativity, and power us towards our vision.

Over the next 10 years we will weave together a network of makers, doers & connectors, trying things out together with neighbours in the places that they live. Inspired by thinkers, creators, artists, makers, activists, dreamers, and story tellers from near and far. Supported through access to shared resources and creative platforms that are agile and responsive to needs.

You can find out a bit more about our approach, governance and programme via our slide deck here and on our website www.wearemakeshift.co.uk.

Background

Make/Shift is part of the Creative People and Places programme, initiated and funded by Arts Council England thanks to the National Lottery. Creative People and Places is about more people taking the lead in choosing, creating and taking part in creative and cultural experiences in the places where they live. There are now 39 projects, covering 56 local authorities across England.

We have funding secured until April 2025 with extension funding pending (decision in Sept 2024) until April 2026. As an action research project, Make/Shift is committed to being experimental and innovative in its approach, testing new ideas, tools and participatory practices.

We are supported by a consortium of partners bringing together expertise from across culture, environment, and community. This includes Amber Valley Community Voluntary Services, Belper and District U3A, Derby Museums, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and University of Derby.

We are hosted and employed by the University of Derby as part of their CivicLab.

Apply online

Creative Community Builder (0217–24) — Current vacancies — University of Derby

You can apply by submitting an online application to the University of Derby. Once you have signed in or registered you will be able to begin your application. If you are creating an account for the first time, please ensure you provide an email address that you access regularly as this will be our main means of contacting you regarding your application.

Support

If you require any assistance, including the provision of any documentation in an alternative format, please contact the University Of Derby Recruitment team at recruitment@derby.ac.uk.

Please note all applications must be submitted online by Midnight GMT on the closing

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Creative Agents

Neighbourhood Creative Agents

  • Do you believe in the creative power of your community?
  • Are you curious about the talents, treasures and possibilities of your place?
  • Would you like to share and learn together with your neighbours?
  • Join us – make something happen where you live!

We’re looking for six Creative Agents to join us on a 9-month peer learning adventure, to activate and mobilise creativity in your community. You will be supported to share and learn alongside others about how to nurture and enable the unique possibilities of your place and to work with your neighbours to make something happen together on your doorstep.

Find out more on our Creative Agents Page

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Stories of Change

Make/Shift evaluator Ruth Melville shares her reflections on how to evaluate a project like Make/Shift and how to talk about approaches, values and outcomes in a holistic and accessible way.

As an action research project, Make/Shift is all about learning, adapting, changing and responding to possibility and need. ‘Success’ isn’t clearly mappable through outcomes alone. The very set up of the project centres ‘how’ something is done over ‘what’ is done — so how do you design evaluation within this approach — and make it work with the programme, rather than being an add on (or hindrance)?

Getting started

I have to admit that when we found out that we had been selected as evaluators for Make/Shift I responded by ringing Rachel and leaving an over-enthusiastic message about how excited I was.

This is because Make/Shift seems to me to be designed to have learnt from the best of the Creative People and Places experience in the past. That is, starting from scratch to really lean into the principle of taking time to get to know the place, building relationships with people, uncovering the assets in the communities and place.

This is what action research looks like.

Not being sure of the right way, trying things out and sometimes getting it wrong but learning from that. Taking time and building relationships can be nerve wracking as you don’t see the outputs immediately. You can’t ‘count’ the people reached (or you can but it isn’t many).

And it can seem even to those with a real commitment to an asset-based approach that they ‘haven’t really done anything’.

It has been a delight to be able to remind Rachel and the team that this is in fact the best way to do things, and that in the long term this will lead to far greater longevity of the value of the work. The scale is different, but it reminds me of the early work of Transported — both the evaluation and the strength of ongoing relationships there show the value of working in this way.

I am also reminded frequently of the learning from the first phase of Creative People and Places. This was drawn out so well within More Than 100 Stories one of the best creative evaluations I’ve ever seen.

Starting With A Story Of Change

We started — as we try and always do — by putting together a Story of Change. This is an approach which has two key purposes:

1. It gets people thinking about where they want to get to — rather than focusing on what they need to do right now.

2. It is a really good way of sharing intentions and co-creating not just the evaluation, but also the overall approach to the work.

Story of Change, as we use it, was developed as part of the Happy Museum project — a fantastic project and resource bank of ideas, it’s well worth a look. There’s a brief video guide to doing your own and many templates to download.

For people who’ve done evaluation before, it is similar to a Logic Model or Theory of Change approach — focusing on the inputs, outputs, outcomes and impacts, but kept as simple as possible. We try and use accessible language throughout — so ‘story’ feels more accessible than ‘theory’ for example.

Building A Story Of Change

We like to involve a range of stakeholders in building the Story of Change. So in the case of Make/Shift, the Consortium and all active collaborators were invited — and we ended up with a real range of people. For the future, it would be good to include an even wider group.

Everything is done via a workshop approach — in practice this means big pieces of paper, post-it notes and examples. For Make/Shift, we ended up discussing someone’s ‘Uncle Tony’ as the sort of person who might be interested in one aspect of the work. But there are many approaches — other projects we’ve worked with have thrown themselves into acting elements out to explore things.

So we get to the four key elements of a Story of Change — The Why, The Who, The How and The What.

The Why — what’s the difference we are trying to make?

We start by looking at the ‘Why?’ — which is ‘why are we doing this’ — ‘what’s the difference we are trying to make?’.

Otherwise known as the outcomes and impacts. At a basic level you can combine these, and decide within each what are the short, medium and long term steps on the way.

The Who

Next we consider ‘Who?’ — ‘who matters?’ — ‘who are we trying to make a difference to’. This can be the beneficiaries (in traditional language). But bear in mind it is about difference.

So these people might be:

· Potential ‘blockers’ we want to challenge over their power, or

· Potential funders we might want to notice the quality and value of the work, as well as

· The people involved.

One of the ‘who’ groups I nearly always have to remind people to include are themselves.

In an action research approach, we all change — if we don’t change then we aren’t learning. As action research is about learning, then it is about changing ourselves as well as others. It isn’t ‘self-centred’ to include the delivery team in the Story of Change — it is essential!

The How

Having oriented ourselves in terms of the difference we want to make, we then think about how we get there — the ‘How’ is about what we put in:

· Where are we starting from? The context of the project/place,

· What is on offer? The assets and resources we can draw on — which do include money but also so much else

· What principles, values and approaches do we think really matter in making the change we want to see.

The What

Finally — we go to the ‘What’.

What are the activities which we plan to do to make this difference. We list them in a high level way — bearing in mind that nothing will be fixed at the time.

It’s action research — we test and learn — and then check the logic. Do we think that by doing this activity we’ll achieve this difference with these people?

It is pretty easy to see some issues. If you have a change happening to a group, but nothing you are doing will reach this group, then it is likely that you might not have that effect. Often, we map out communication — to reach funders or others, or explicitly add in time for reflection so we can learn and adapt.

Make It One Page

Finally (but not really finally), I have a (self)discipline of ensuring it can be written up on one page.

This does tend to (over) simplify things, and can be a bit uncomfortable. But it is also a way of checking we are clear on the most important things, the essence of the plan.

Suitably for an action research-focused organisation, we are adapting and trialling new ways of writing these up. Our neurodiverse team realised that we all prefer different approaches to laying information out, so we assume others might too.

As a result, Make/Shift has three versions of its Story of Change:

  1. A visual model (below)
  2. A diagram
  3. A text version

You can click on the links above and choose which you prefer and we’ll adapt them based on feedback.

Incidentally we checked in with a group of Make/Shift stakeholders and the preferences were almost exactly split — with some finding they couldn’t use or read one model, while another was perfect, with others saying the exact opposite — conclusion — you need multiple formats!

So what next

We use the Story of Change to design our evaluation — to decide on all the evaluation questions. These turn into a range of data collection methods including observation and discussions, as well as the unfortunately necessary questionnaires.

We will look at whether, and to what extent, Make/Shift is reaching its ‘Who’s and ‘Why’s, but more importantly how the ‘How’ affects this.

Our evaluation is about finding out what it was about how Make/Shift works that made the difference — we aren’t looking at if there was a difference or what that was.

Through this they can change their approach to make it as effective as possible. And we approach all of this by inviting and supporting the team, collaborators, decision-makers and friends to take part in an ongoing discussion about what matters and what works.

It’s our job to retell this in ‘evaluation language’.

Ever Changing

And finally… a Story of Change isn’t static, it changes.

There will be review and reflection sessions every six months or so — anyone is welcome to get involved in contributing to this and the evolution of the evaluation.

This blog was written Ruth Melville.

Ruth is Director of RMR and an experienced social researcher and evaluator who has advised both UK and international cultural organisations on best practice in evaluation and monitoring. Find out more about Ruth and RMR here

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Golden Glue Awards

Golden Glue Awards

On Sunday 12th November we came together with friends and collaborators to celebrate almost a year of starting Make/Shift, collaborating with Maison Foo and Infinite Wellbeing.

We had a fun filled afternoon as we shined a light on the everyday makers, connectors and shifters of Amber Valley doing extraordinary things to stick communities together. There was comedy, cake and a serving of homemade sparkle in this spoof awards ceremony, hosted by local mischief makers Maison Foo Theatre.

The Golden Glue Awards has been created and hosted by Maison Foo as part of their Make/Shift commissioned project 'Vallerie's Gallery'

The event was lovingly stitched together by community makers, bakers and growers from Amber Valley and beyond.

Photo credits: Pictoria
Video credits: Luke Galloway of Space Face Films

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The Making of Amber Valley

The Making of Amber Valley

As Amber Valley Borough Council marked its 50th birthday, Ripley Market Place hosted a day of celebrations on Saturday 6 April 2024.

The programme included live entertainment by movers, shakers, dancers and musicians from across Amber Valley’s communities, with free interactive activities for everyone.

Not-for-profit arts organisation Furthest from the Sea, mischief makers Maison Foo Theatre, and local community makers, sewers, growers and shedders collaborated with Make/Shift and Amber Valley Borough Council to deliver a birthday party to remember.

Photo credits: Pictoria

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Muddlin’ Through Together

A place for freelancers, small business owners, creative practitioners and community organisers to get together, make connections, share skills, and show off about what you do. Some weeks you’ll be able to learn something new, other weeks you might just want to work alongside people who share your struggles and triumphs. There’ll always be a cuppa and a chance to chat. And we’ll end each session with a few minutes of mindfulness or reflection to send you off into the world feeling ready to take it on.

Sound like something you’d be interested in? Our first session on 28th February is a chance to come along, find out more, and make suggestions for what you’d like to see from the upcoming programme of sessions – we’re not creating the programme until we hear from you first.

12.30pm – Arrive, light lunch provided
1.15-2.30pm – We’ll run a friendly workshop to share ideas and invite your feedback: come prepared to tell us what you need
2.30pm- Session ends
2.30-5pm – Chance to stay on and chat, meet, use the space to hot desk.

You’ll be able to pop your name and contact info on the list for the future sessions – and we’ll let you know as soon as we put the programme in place.

We’re aiming to run an initial series of six sessions all 12.30pm – 2.30pm 28th Feb, 12th March, 27th March, 10th April, 24th April and then based on feedback we hope to keep them going into the summer and beyond!

Muddlin’ Through Together sessions will be hosted by Infinite Wellbeing in collaboration with Make/Shift. Find out more about us at the links below:

Community Centre | Infinite Wellbeing | Heanor, Derbyshire (infinite-wellbeing.co.uk)

Hello we are Make / Shift (wearemakeshift.uk)

Photo credits: Pictoria

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Zine Library

Zine Library, Alfreton Library

Over six months Make/Shift collaborated with  No Jobs in the Arts and Alfreton Library to host free zine making workshops imagining the future in Amber Valley. The workshops ran from October 2023 to March 2024.

   No Jobs in the Arts hosted drop-in workshops which were unique, each led by a different early-career creative. During the arty workshops, zines- a handmade leaflet or booklet - were made in response to the question, ‘What can we make together that will shift us towards better futures?’

You can visit the brand-new Zine Library in Alfreton Library and add your own to the shelf using the make a zine materials and activity packs provided during the Library’s opening hours.

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