Submission from Tim Wilson, Kind of Digital

Why do you think people in the South Holland and Boston areas don’t get more involved in the arts?

There are a number of reasons why people don’t get involved in the arts:
– It’s not for them
– Social class / it’s elitist
– Not involved in planning (proscriptive)
– Financial aspect
– They don’t think they’re artistic or creative enough
– It’s deemed pretentious
– They don’t see the benefits
– The rural element (cut off/isolation/accessibility/transport)
… and so on.

So there’s no one exclusive reason in my opinion but clearly a large overriding element behind the lack of involvement is down to the nature of communication and engagement i.e. understanding individual and community benefit first (and weaving the arts/cultural offer in); balancing a language of inclusion and community benefit; the ability to take risks artistically and culturally (even with the evaluation/target limits that external funding places upon such an approach)

What do you think should happen to encourage people to get more involved in the arts locally?

I think there needs to be a shift in emphasis and to think bigger picture. Rather than talking about the arts or cultural activities, we should understand what will build community “buzz” and get people involved – and how arts and cultural practise fits in.

It is about understanding the opportunities to bring people together across all ages (and what can create unique feelings of the sense of place and identity within community).

It is about using the spaces that people naturally gravitate towards – where’s the ‘spike’ or a ‘sticky spaces’. It’s also about innovating in the use of space – not being afraid to use unorthodox spaces (part-time, temporary, pop-up culture), garnering curiosity and interest from the unusual.

It is about capturing content – demonstrating the exciting things that go on in a place, getting people to feel involved and gain a sense of pride for the things that they do. Using social and digital media is a very important part of that mix.

Whilst need to fully understand the local cultural ecology, resources and places that make activities happen and tick, I think this is our opportunity to also understand people cultures (customers, audiences, clients, businesses, creative) and engage them fully.

I think from addressing some of these points, arts/cultural developers and organisations will be able to work more closely with local communities and find ways to address community needs better.

What do you think should happen to encourage people to get more involved in the arts locally?

– Creating content that people can own and create … video / audio / text …
– Storytelling / narratives – creating hyperlocal blogs/social media presence
– Facilitation – harnessing creativity and new ways of thinking both within local arts organisations and communities
– Having fun! Putting this at the heart of everything.
– Thinking about (indoor and outdoor) spaces in South Lincs and how to use them in unusual and innovative ways
– Coworking days (such as jelly) where people can come together, work and collaborate

Aside from my and other people’s time, most of what can be done here can be implemented for FREE or at relatively little cost.