Congratulations to the winners of our Blachere Christmas Lights Competition 2017, Combe Christmas, who finally saw their prize light up Ilfracombe at the end of November.
Charmain Lovatt, who entered the competition on behalf of the Combe Christmas Committee said that it seemed that most of north Devon turned up to see the lights being switched on!
She added that “once again, the whole event was fundraised and led by volunteers, so we are so chuffed at how fantastically it went and the new lights look amazing! We want to try and tackle the harbour area next so everyone is asking if we can enter the competition again next year! We can’t thank you guys and Blachere enough as the prize pot has really made such a huge difference to us.”
Charmain also said that the town has an incredible bunch of volunteer electricians who not only installed all of the Christmas lights for free, but they also took on the mammoth job of replacing all the existing “permanent” lights which belong to the town council. The town council couldn’t afford to do it, so a local group raised the money for the equipment and the team gave their time for free, going out in all weathers and times to complete the work in time for the light switch on. It is estimated that they saved the town somewhere in the region of £55,000!
CH1ChesterBID’s CheSTAR has returned to the city centre this year, and with it comes a photography competition where the lucky winner will bag £250 worth of vouchers
The dazzling CheSTAR is back in the city centre this Christmas and to celebrate its return, the city’s Business Improvement District, CH1ChesterBID, has launched a competition to find the best photograph of the giant sparkling star.
Standing 25ft high and 25ft wide, the star is based in the grounds of Chester Cathedral on St Werburgh Street and will be lighting up Chester city centre this festive season as part of CH1ChesterBID’s annual Christmas celebrations.
The show-stopping decoration features almost 19,000 twinkling lights and made its debut in Chester last year, after being handcrafted especially for the city to add to the festive illuminations.
To mark its return, between 16th November – 7th January, CH1ChesterBID is encouraging city visitors and local residents to snap their best photograph of the star and share it on Instagram or Twitter. The contest will be judged by the team at Camera Solutions on Frodsham Street and is open for anyone to enter.
The chosen winner will take home £250 of vouchers to use at Camera Solutions in Chester.
Judy Tagell, marketing manager at CH1ChesterBID, said: “We’re thrilled to see the CheSTAR make its stunning return to the city centre this year. It’s an eye-catching addition to our Christmas activities and we’re really excited to launch our new photography competition alongside it. The competition is open to photographers of all abilities so we’re really excited to see all the creative angles people will capture images of the CheSTAR from.”
To enter, simply take a picture of the CheSTAR and post it on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #CheSTAR and tag @CH1Chester on Twitter or @CH1ChesterBID on Instagram. Alternatively, entrants can also email their photograph to email@example.com.
Ray Fisher, owner of Camera Solutions, said: “We’re really excited to be working with CH1ChesterBID on a Christmas photography competition this year and we can’t wait to see all the entries. We’re looking for something unique for our winning shot, so we’d encourage people to be bold and creative with their photographs and come up with something that really stands out from the crowd.”
The winner will be announced by CH1ChesterBID on 19th January 2018.
On Sunday 17th December 2017, Bournemouth’s Metropole Market returned to Holdenhurst Road with a range of alternative festive entertainment.
The Bournemouth Metropole Market brought a truly weird and wonderful Christmas market experience to Holdenhurst Road. On Sunday 17th December, the fourth in a series of popular street markets took over Lansdowne and will feature, food and drinks stalls, alongside local wares and craft stands. Presenting a Christmas Candyland theme, organisers of the market have now unveiled an eclectic range of entertainment and music for their final event of the year. Visitors, children and locals can look forward to appearances from everyone’s favourite anti-hero Deadpool and traditional folklore icon Krampus, courtesy of local business Dark Side of the Mirror.
Free and family-friendly entertainment at the upcoming Metropole Market also included returning favourites such as the fabulously funny comedy duo, Street Comedy and Lewis Jordan Brown’s energetic Rock “n’’ Roll tunes. There will new names performing too including the Bierfass Band, a group of Dorset musicians playing a unique mix of Bavarian polkas, waltzes and drinking tunes, combined with British pop and other well-known songs.
Furthermore, visitors to the market witnessed the Pantheatrix Fire Show. Dance was high on the agenda this month as well with performances by the First Position School of Dance along with Enrique Perez from Salsa Explosion UK, a Cuban inspired dance school, who was also be heating up the market and encouraging everyone to get up and join in.
Welcoming families, children’s entertainment was provided by Kristin Williams from Fusion Performing Arts. She held disco dancing sessions to keep the kids warm during the market. There was also a Kids Fancy Dress competition welcoming the most alternative Christmas outfits plus a Young Musicians Showcase featuring talented local artists, including Karl Lattimer an acoustic indie pop performer.
Lyn Turnbull, Co-Organiser of Metropole Market and Co-Owner of Mexigo Burrito Bar, said: “We’re thrilled to unveil all the wonderful and electrifying entertainment that we have in store for our final event of the year, especially the visit from Krampus and Deadpool! I would also like to encourage you all to dress up in line with our Candyland theme, especially all the children, to make this colourful pre-Christmas event truly special and unique.’’
According to PPS, placemaking is both a process and philosophy, strengthening the connection between people and the places they share. It capitalises on a local community’s assets, inspiration, and potential with the intention of creating public spaces that promote health happiness and well-being. Stimulating public artworks play a key role because they offer more than just passive observation. Culture is the perfect vehicle to engage communities and promote conversation about heritage, identity and sense of belonging. Great art makes great places, great places attract great talent, and great talent creates great jobs!
How UK BIDs can work with cultural organisations
Improving Places, a new report produced by Arts Council England, examines how culture is key to the success of UK BIDs. By collaborating with cultural organisations, they can drive economic growth and help local communities thrive. In the uncertainty of post-Brexit Britain, they can also offer a potential solution to falling public funding and rising business rates. BIDs and cultural organisations that are positively connected can share information and plan joint marketing campaigns for maximum reach and impact. The report identifies six ways in which they can work together:
Placemaking, by using local knowledge to help develop innovative neighbourhoods.
Place branding, by promoting an area as distinctive and attractive for locals and visitors.
Business development, by helping industry professionals and entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
Providing affordable spaces.
Involving local people will build stronger communities.
Design a programme of creative activities to highlight a location’s unique offer and raise the public profile.
Obviously, there is no one-size-fits-all solution and local challenges will require local responses. But, to ensure coherent policies there needs to be an element of joined-up thinking with private enterprise, local government, BIDs, and cultural organisations all involved at the early planning stages.
Commissioning public artworks
The Great Places conference last month, launched a year-long programme of initiatives from the BFP (British Property Federation) to examine the dynamics of successful places. The project aims to showcase the real estate industry’s collective role and social impact across the UK to clients, communities and government. Coinciding with the conference was the joint publication of A Guide to Commissioning Public Art by BPF and Contemporary Art Society which highlights how art contributes to a sense of place and identity.
Ian Fletcher, Director of Real Estate Policy at the BPF said:
“The real estate industry provides value to society beyond its economic contribution, but it needs to communicate the benefits that flow from long-term investment if it’s to win the hearts and minds of the people it serves. We hope our Great Places campaign hardwires placemaking into the real estate industry’s contribution to the nation’s social well-being.”
Fabienne Nicholas, Head of Art Consultancy at the Contemporary Art Society said:
“Truly ambitious public art is now a key component of cultural placemaking, animating public realm and creating encounters that humanise and create meaning for places. It is often the art that contributes the most to that unique sense of place, supporting the identity and visibility of new developments and creating thriving sustainable communities.”
Cities of Culture
An example of how the arts can shape modern placemaking. Inspired by Liverpool’s 2008 European Capital of Culture status, the concept continues in the UK and in 2013 Derry/Londonderry reported that for every £1 of the £100m investment, £5 was earned for the city.
The University of Hull is about to release statistics on its tenure as 2017 City of Culture and the benefits to the economy. Key findings from the first 3 months include:
90% of Hull residents attended or experienced a cultural event or activity as part of the UK’s City of Culture.
70% of resident agreed it had a positive impact on the lives of local people.
342,000 visitors came to ‘Made in Hull’ during opening week and 94% of the audience agreed the event made them feel more connected to the city, the stories of its people, the history and heritage.
Of the 1.1m people passing through Queen Victoria Square during the Blade installation, over 420,000 interacted with the artwork. 50% said it was the main influential reason for their visit that day and 46% said they would not have come if the Blade wasn’t there.
Last month, Manchester joined a network of 180 world cities recognised by UNESCO for their commitment to the arts. With over 10 UK cities already accredited by the organisation, Manchester follows Nottingham, Norwich and Edinburgh in becoming a UNESCO Creative City of Literature. Winning is a real accolade and not just a title for one year, that reflects the depth of community involvement. Cities must have plans in place that continually improve access and participation in cultural life, especially for marginalised or vulnerable groups and individuals.
Earlier this week, at STC2017, I met Jean Cameron, Project Director for Paisley’s BID to be UK City of Culture 2021. A town of contrasts, Paisley’s heritage is stunning, thanks to its transformation into a textile hub during the industrial revolution, it is home to the largest concentration of listed buildings outside of Edinburgh. World-class business and international talent sit side by side with some of Scotland’s most deprived communities. Winning UK City of Culture 20121 is a chance to change that by reinventing the place and transforming the lives of locals.
Investment in culture has the power to do all that.