MarketPlace

Boosting arts engagement in market towns
Ann & Friend. Image MarketPlace
Ann & Friend. Image MarketPlace
Ann & Friend. Image MarketPlace
Image MarketPlace
Image MarketPlace
Image MarketPlace
Harvey & Co. Image MarketPlace
Harvey & Co. Image MarketPlace
Harvey & Co. Image MarketPlace
Image MarketPlace
Image MarketPlace
Image MarketPlace
Image MarketPlace
Image MarketPlace
Image MarketPlace

Where: Fenland and West Suffolk (Forest Heath) - March, Whittlesey, Chatteris, Wisbech, Brandon, Newmarket, and Mildenhall.
With: Babylon ARTS deliver MarketPlace as the lead consortium partner. Other consortium partners are Cambridgeshire Acre, Norfolk and Norwich Festival Bridge, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, Wisbech Town Council and Suffolk County Council. MarketPlace is supported by Cambridgeshire County Council, Fenland District Council and West Suffolk Council.

MarketPlace has people at its heart.  It’s about encouraging local people to get involved and share decisions about what creative activities happen where they live, sometimes in unexpected places. We want to get more people creating and experiencing great art in Fenland and West Suffolk.

Working with communities in the seven market towns of Brandon, Chatteris, March, Mildenhall, Newmarket, Whittlesey and Wisbech since 2015, MarketPlace has put local people at the centre of what we do. We support and encourage creative activity in each town, giving residents opportunities to make art and culture part of their everyday lives.

The MarketPlace team includes Creative Agents who work directly with local people and communities to explore ideas. Our Creative Agents play a key role supporting and facilitating creative conversations, introducing ideas and opportunities that may make unexpected things happen.

We established Creative Forums in our towns to give local people a platform to share ideas and network. These groups and forums are made up of residents of all ages including those with little or no previous arts engagement. The MarketPlace team works with our creative forums to develop their skills as individuals working in their own communities. The forums make decisions on what activities take place, and have an important part in helping to make them happen.

We also work with creative practitioners and artists across the area to develop their skills, and to support the network with local people and organisations. An example of this is our Creative Conversations in Isolation programme which launched in 2020 during lockdown and sought to support local artists, creative practitioners and the communities in our area in the form of micro-commissioned projects.

By bringing together different audiences and interest groups, and working with a range of partners, we aim to support the development of a vibrant and sustainable arts ecology across our market towns.

The film below was created in early 2021 and gives a flavour of the MarketPlace work with communities across Fenland and West Suffolk. MarketPlace is very much a collaborative project, working with a range of partners, and with expanding networks and new initiatives firmly on the horizon. There are many ways to get involved - join the Creative Forums, subscribe to the MarketPlace newsletter, or follow MarketPlace on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to find out more.