Blog Post

Artists capture community mood during Covid lockdown


Doncaster based Right Up Our Street reflect on their artist commissions developed to engage their community during the COVID19 lockdown.

Right Up Our Street Lockdown Affinity photo by James Blackey

Like other arts organisations, Doncaster based Right Up Our Street, have had to think differently about engaging with communities and working with artists during a period of pandemic enforced lockdown.

A research and development fund was created to give local artists the space and time to address how their practice might work in a socially engaging way during a period of lockdown. 

Sally Lockey, project director said: “We created an open call to give artists the opportunity to develop work that would see them engaging with the local community, capturing visuals, audio and written word accounts of the impact this period in our history was having on people’s lives.

“Seven Artists were selected by the community programming board and their projects funded during the month of June.

“As an action learning programme, we were able to shape our work to meet the needs of the community and it meant that we could find new ways to reach isolated communities during this time. 

“With the ongoing funding from Arts Council England and DMBC, programmed home grown talent and artists with a track record of working in Doncaster to continue their valuable and much needed work during these times.”

The seven projects include: 

The Lockdown Affinity which saw artist James Blakey, bringing together citizen artists from a range of Doncaster’s communities to stay connected, creative and hopeful during the lockdown and beyond. This group will come together in future to exhibit their work for others to enjoy.

The New Fringe Text Art which saw Sacha Grey, Kim Farr and Anton Hecht explore a new relationship and language with audiences and producers. This is a way for people to make art without worrying about it and opening up new lines of communication with communities across the borough of Doncaster. 

Quarantine Creates, a citizen journalism project exploring the positives of lockdown. Led by Wayne Sables, the citizen journalists have created a series of candid audio interviews with family, friends, neighbours and themselves which will then form the basis of a series of radio broadcasts.

Keeley Lane of Buglight Theatre facilitated Buglight to research the best ways forward to develop their digital offering with  'What's your story?' working on the early stages of a storytelling project with and for the local community of Doncaster.

Thoughts Formed saw James Lockey work with individuals to create new and engaging short vignettes with the focus being on the words and text that individuals share. 

DONCTOPIA, was created by a trio of artists, Richard Hurford, Sharon Richards and Andrew Loretto, who explored people’s natural desire for a return to “normality” and began to imagine how a new “normal” could be made better for everyone.  

All Eyes on Culture gave local artists an opportunity to create and showcase new work, connect with new audiences and communities and stay creative during this turbulent time. Led by Charlotte Felters, All Eyes brought together the creative and business worlds together in a bid to promote local business with local talent whilst engaging new and exciting community audiences. 

“Thanks to these creative artists June has turned out to be a busy month for creative arts and audience engagement in Doncaster. We are now looking forward to working with each project to look at impact on both the participants and the artists themselves.

“With the support of local radio station, Sine FM the artists and community developed work was shared across platforms as a digital and radio based festival: Desert Island DN. Ensuring that we reached as broad an audiences as possible.

“It has been great to see people engaging in community arts projects and sharing their stories and works in a way that will help us to capture a snapshot of Doncaster right now,” added Sally.