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About the project

Ideas4Ordsall was an academic project that supported local organisations and individuals to develop their ideas for cultural activities.

Despite the rhetoric around big society or self-determination, most government initiatives are still top-down, command-and-control operations. Local people are only invited to 'have their say' after the key decisions have been made. Similarly, academic projects tend to ask people to 'perform' for them to provide data for the research.

Ideas4Ordsall was different. In this project, academics worked alongside local cultural intermediaries to gain insight into how cultural activities develop and to support local people to developing their own ideas for projects. The mutual benefit made all the difference.

If you are interested in doing community engagement differently, watch each film to find out how Ideas4Ordsall affected the people involved.

To find out more about the project go to www.ideas4ordsall.org

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Jessica Symons

Jess is an urban anthropologist. She explores how organisational structures affect people's ability to realise their ideas. She spent 18 months in Ordsall working alongside local people and organisations. Jess is Research Fellow at the University of Salford.

Amber Sanchez

Amber is an artist based in Salford. She employs a broad range of media for various creative, community, and heritage projects at landmark locations such as Salford Arts Theatre and Salford Lads Club. Amber supported the development of ideas during the Ideas4Ordsall project.

Rosemary Swift

Rosemary is interested in local history. During the Ideas4Ordsall project, she developed a social history play, animation and genealogical records focusing on the early history of Ordsall's New Barracks Estate. Rosemary is now researching the founding members of Salford Lads Club.

David Winston

David Winston has a keen interest in Edith Cavell, a World War 1 nurse who was shot by the Germans for helping wounded soldiers escape after being treated in her Belgian hospital. Edith used to worship at St Trinity Church in Salford where David also attends regularly. Her name is on memorial outside the church.

Chris Doyle

Chris is a 'cultural intermediary'. He runs Chapel Street Community Arts with people in the Islington area to develop and share their local history and culture. Chris supported the development of ideas during the Ideas4Ordsall in particular sharing stories and photos about the Islington area.

Beckie Hough

Beckie is a talented photographer born and raised in Ordsall. During the Ideas4Ordsall project, she set up a pop-up photo booth at Ordsall Community Festival to capture portraits of local people. She now has an online gallery.

Mike Kelly

Mike is keen member of St Phil's Camera Club. He worked with photographer Len Grant to set up a mobile photoshoot capturing images of local people in Islington. He also supported training and development of photo skills.

Gail Skelly

Gail is a 'cultural intermediary'. She is Creative Producer at Ordsall Community Arts and has worked with local people in Ordsall for many years developing their ideas and creative talent. Gail supported seven ideas during the Ideas4Ordsall project providing advice and enthusiasm. Gail is now doing a PhD about Ordsall's annual lantern parade.

Greg Haden

Greg is an artist and member of Ordsall Art Collective. He worked with local artist Ronnie Crowther to develop the collective including popup art galleries in Lowry Outlet, On the 7th in Mediacity and the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester.

Karen Shannon

Karen is a 'cultural intermediary'. She connects together people and resources to spark imaginations, learn new things, and to create work that has impact and meaning on the here and now, and the future. Karen was Founding Director of Let's Go Global. She is now Chief Executive of Manchester Histories

Explore the recommendations

Based on the insights from this project, we provide the following recommendations. They can be incorporated into cultural strategies, cultural policy, community engagement and any other activities that aim to include local people and support them to develop their ideas. Go to www.ideas4ordsall.org to find our more.
Local cultural plans need to be coproduced with citizens. Culture is a right, not a gift. Local people should be centred in developing plans that support their aspirations and creativity.

"Culture should be something that we all own and make, not something given, offered or delivered by one section of "us" to another" (John Holden, 2008) Freelance writer, speaker and cultural commentator.
Individuals and organisations can help animate existing and spark new creative activities. They can create linkages (connections) between formal and informal cultural fields and between citizens, communities, the public and private sectors.
Cultural democracy in our cities means transparency over and participation in decisions on priorities, resources and activities.

"Cultural goes beyond a focus on access to cultural works to incorporate access to the means of cultural production and distribution" (Gattinger, 2011).
Initiatives must recognise existing 'assets' (organisations, networks, skills, resources and capacities) in communities, whilst respecting the value of fresh perspectives and cultures.

"We can't do well serving communities... if we believe that we, the givers, are the only ones that are half-full, and that everybody we're serving is half-empty" (Michelle Obama, in Foot and Hopkins, 2010)
Arts and culture is a dynamic force that is often seen as a luxury rather than an essential component of any initiative. Supporting cultural engagement will enrich strategies from health to welfare, infrastructure to learning.

"Cultural dialogue and diversity should continue to be tools at the disposal of sovereign states in their bilateral or multilateral relations between one another or with third countries" Ward Report adopted on the 19/01/2016 by the European Parliament.
Cultural expressions and practices outside the mainstream matter. There are multiple ways of living creative lives. Greater support needs to be given to making meaning and sharing cultures within increasing multi-cultural communities.

"We live in a remarkably diverse society and how we evolve and face the challenges of the future will depend on how we can us the resources that diversity gifts us." Sir Peter Bazalgette. Chair of Arts Council England.
Pathways must be forged to enable people to benefit from and contribute to more formal creative economic activity. This requires confidence, capacity-building and social and emotional support prior to accessing the job market. It also requires skills development, such as in business planning and digital technology.
Large cultural organisations, including universities, should support the development of a cultural urban ecology to support capacity-building across the sector and work in partnership to improve access to and participation in the arts.

"A cultural ecology deep rooted in locality...a cultural ecology in which artists and small companies are critical...an arts infrastructure built on a spread of intermediate organisations" (Stark, Gordon and Powell, 2014)
Communities with high levels of segregation and loneliness can benefit from knowledge and information sharing activities to increase local cultural participation and improve well-being.

Cultural mapping is an important process that can build a network utilizing assets found in a community. It allows a community to discover the resources that contribute to the unique environment and qualities of that place. Stephanie Moore and Tom Borrup. Arts Engaged
Community spaces are important and need to be open and available. Grassroots organisations provide spaces and/or opportunities for conversations with people experiencing different kinds of problems, or for those who want to contribute to improving their area.

"It is the local youth theatre, arts centre, dance class or back room of a pub which provides the incubator for every actor, writer, dancer or musician who later takes on the world." Dramatist Lee Hall