Creative People and Places Hounslow

Hounslow community joins in with Compagnie Artonik's thrilling Holi celebration
Hounslow community joins in with Compagnie Artonik's thrilling Holi celebration
Photo: Vipul Sangoi
Hounslow Winter Lights with Same Sky
Hounslow Winter Lights with Same Sky
Photo: Vipul Sangoi
co.LAB.se Bell Square
co.LAB.se Bell Square
Photo: Vipul Sangoi
Winter Lights 2014
Winter Lights 2014
Photo: Vipul Sangoi
Audience for Bilbo Basso, Bell Square
Audience for Bilbo Basso, Bell Square
Photo: Vipul Sangoi

Where: London Borough of Hounslow
With: Watermans, Feltham Arts Association, Hounslow Music Service, Hounslow Community Network, TW4 Community Development Trust; London Borough of Hounslow, Cerillion

Creative People & Places Hounslow is a consortium of seven organisations, including community arts organisations, led by Watermans. The 10-year vision is to build a confident, colourful and creative borough. It is boosting arts capacity and audience through the development of new arts spaces and activities, a programme of large outdoor events and support for small and emerging creative businesses. 

Activity is shaped by a local advisory group, which now tops 50 people - including members of the community, artists and local groups - meeting across four hubs in the borough. The group is central in developing the Hounslow programme and is currently working on the BBC Get Creative weekend in February 2016 as well as Fun Palaces in October 2016.

In line with local desire to increase civic pride and community cohesion, the Houslow project has brought top international performers such as Bilbobasso, Artonik and Co.LAB.se to Bell Square, the outdoor arts space in the town centre, attracting a total audience of over 30,000 per year of whom 65% are not engaged in the arts. 85% agreed these events bring people from different communities together and that they are likely to return, for the performance and the atmosphere.

The outdoor arts programme has also given unique opportunities for community groups to work alongside professional internationally successful artists, raising aspirations and giving them an exciting platform to develop their own audience and talents. 

The Winter Lights event in Hounslow Town Centre is a particularly good example of this. A major event that is now annual, this year’s event saw 900 local people of all ages, and many with disabilities, working alongside outdoor arts company Same Sky to make beautiful lanterns. These participants then took part in a large-scale procession followed by a performance at Bell Square. This event and its large scale participation programme was supported by young people from Creativity Works, a work experience and training programme aimed at getting young people into the arts and creative industries. 

Another important focus is the development of sustainable groups where people can engage with an art form and which, in time, become a resource for the community. These include the Samba band, the brass band and the community choir. The community choir already boosts 35 regular members and gave its first successful performance in December 2015.

Finally, supporting arts organisations to build capacity in a sustainable way, CPP Hounslow is funded by London Borough of Hounslow to offer Community Development Awards to three small arts organisations based in Hounslow.  The successful applicants will be supported with ongoing one to one business support and a significant cash investment over a three year period.