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Calling Fylde Coast Creatives!

Artists, creatives and organisations on the Fylde Coast are being invited to take part in new research to inform Blackpool Council’s Heritage Action Zone plans.

The research aims to understand what creative skills and resources are available in the area and ensure that artists don’t miss out on opportunities to be commissioned as part of the project.

Blackpool based organisations Aunty Social and Abingdon Studios are leading the research on behalf of the council and are encouraging as many people as possible to take part. 

Catherine Mugonyi, Director of Aunty Social, said: “The council knows that there’s a wealth of artists, creatives and organisations in the area, but at the moment there isn’t any significant research into who they are and what they do. This research is designed to understand who’s out there, what skills and resources they have and what their needs are.”

Blackpool Heritage Action Zone

The information collected in the research will help to inform a number of projects and policies, namely Blackpool Heritage Action Zone (HAZ), which is a £1m project funded jointly by Blackpool Council, Historic England and the Department of Culture Media and Sport. The HAZ focusses specifically on using built and cultural heritage to revitalise the high street.

The first strand of the project is all about regenerating streetscapes through improving the condition of historic buildings.  This part of the HAZ builds on the success of the ongoing Quality Corridors project, which has focused on new pavements and road surfaces as well as a £1.5m shop front replacement scheme on Deansgate, Topping Street and Edward Street.  

As part of this project, the Council will restore some of the Victorian shop fronts on the Church Street side of the Winter Gardens, put back the Art Deco frontage of 28 Topping Street which will be repurposed as a creative cooperative hub that provides local artists and creatives with a place to sell their work and run workshops and events.

They will also restore part of the former Black’s building on Edward Street with a view to creating live/work units for creatives; spaces where artists and makers can work in a street-facing shop/workshop and ‘live above the shop’.

£120k for cultural programme

The second strand of the project is a bid for £120k to create a programme of cultural events to bring new offers to the high street and new reasons to visit it. Blackpool’s bid contains proposals for street markets (crafts/farmers/flea/specialist), heritage events, guided walks and using empty shops for exhibitions, art installations, film screening, talks and performances.

By completing the survey, creatives can choose to join a database which the Council will use to share commissioning and funding opportunities linked to the project. They will also be the first to find out about ways to access the new facilities – workshop space, markets, empty shops etc.

Ultimately, the more good quality information that is gathered, the better the council will be able support the growth of the creative scene that we know and love.

What you need to know about completing the survey
  • The survey takes around 15-20 minutes to complete and is open for responses until Sunday February 28. There are a lot of questions, but most of these are multiple choice
  • Everyone who takes part in the survey will have the option to opt in to a draw to win one of three £100 cash prizes.
  • Following the survey, Aunty Social and Abingdon Studios will carry out detailed interviews with some local artists to further understand their needs and finally provide a report to the council.
    The interviews will last approx 45 mins and artists will be paid £25 for taking part.

For more information or to complete the survey, visit www.auntysocial.co.uk/haz 

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