Battersea Arts Centre to create network for socially engaged practice

Geraldine Kendall Adams, 11.04.2018
Co-creation network seeks partners across cultural sector
Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) has put a call out for partners to help it build a network for socially engaged co-creation practice in the cultural sector.

The Co-Creating Change network will be open to national and international partners and aims to bring together cultural organisations and individual practitioners that are involved in co-creation work in their communities.

Funded by Arts Council England and the Gulbenkian Foundation, the network is seeking to transform traditional models of cultural participation. In a recent blog, BAC’s artistic director David Jubb said: “We need to grow our collective purpose beyond a narrow model of participation (to come and join in) towards a model of co-creation (to come and create).”

He cited the Young Carers programme in Salford, a partnership between the Lowry gallery and Salford Young Carers Service, as an example of a co-creation programme that had the power to “transform lives”.

Jubb told Museums Journal that BAC was "taking an iterative approach to the development of the network because we don’t have all the answers and we want to develop it in partnership".

He said: "We want to find individuals, groups, communities, artists, producers and cultural organisations who are passionate about co-creating ideas and projects. Co-Creating Change is a network for people who would like to share their approach and methodology – to find ways to grow the scale and influence of their work.

"There is exceptional co-created practice, nationally and internationally, but it often exists in one location and remains isolated. So we are excited to work with people who want co-created practice to become better understood and better supported – by funders, by journalists and by institutions."

BAC is seeking between 20 and 40 partners to be part of the network, and hopes to connect with people working across the arts and museums sector and beyond.

The network aims to have an initial gathering of members later this summer. The arts council funding will support it for three years, by which time BAC hopes the network will have built its own momentum.  

Once established, the Co-Creating Change network is proposing to offer a range of opportunities to partners, including practical events to exchange skills and knowledge, commissions for co-creating change projects, commissions to grow and spread ideas to new territories, and an annual sharing and marketplace for partners.

Jubb said: "Co-Creating Change seeks to shine a light on practice which is often isolated or atomised by the way our sector currently functions – and aims to find new ways to grow and spread the influence of co-created approaches." 

BAC is inviting organisations and individual practitioners that are interested in joining the network to submit expressions of interest by 31 May.