Our Carnival has been running for three years, and is now about to go into it’s fourth year.
We have taken our work into a variety of different settings, and made a major commitment to equality, attainment and belonging which has helped inspire a fundamental change in our community asset. In 2014 we were short-listed as a Creative Place in the large town category, as a result of the work we do. (Creative Scotland, Creative Place Awards, 2014)
At the heart of our strategy has been a participatory model which is focussed on a renewal of the cultural participant in Dumfries & Galloway, which has resulted in a participation base of over 20,000 between 2012 and 2016. .
In 2014 – we undertook a major needs assessment of arts and cultural participants in Dumfries & Galloway, which was a full appraisal of the services that people could take part in. The outcomes led us to understand that there were serious gaps in provision, and that the way that they were being delivered was prescriptive, with little or no involvement for the participants the work was targeted towards.
In the last two years we have piloted the community hub model which has increased participation in communities with little or no experience of the arts. It demonstrated that when activities took part at partner venues which were closer to them – they were more likely to take part. We also piloted the Fringe project which meant that Festival shows and events took place in the very communities we promised to support.
The Holywood Trust have made an ongoing commitment to the mass public participation project, as a key enabler in supporting skills development and economic impact, and particularly those who have had no experience of the arts. In 2015, 85% of those who took part in the project had never taken part in arts or cultural activities outside of the formal learning framework.
Our strategy is ahead of national trends, which can be evidenced in the Thundering Hoofs 2.0 principal outcomes, `that festivals must collaborate to support educational aims and social justice through participation, learning and belonging’