Fun Palaces is amazing at community engagement - their numbers show their success
It's no secret that we are admirers of Fun Palaces, featured often here often here on the Daily Alternative.
For those not yet familiar with the movement - Fun Palaces is "an ongoing campaign for cultural democracy, promoting culture at the heart of community and community at the heart of culture, with an annual weekend of action every October".
On this weekend, fun palaces pop up in museums, libraries, theatres, community centres all over the UK (and now also Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Germany and the US). They offer experiences with arts & crafts, heritage, tech, sport, food and science to name a few - and they actively engage participants of all ages. These pop-up palaces of fun are "led by local people for local people, sharing their own passions and skills, as a catalyst for community-led transformation."
A couple of weeks ago, on the same day they opened up for the 2018 registration, they launched their 2017 Evaluation Report. A/UK were at the launch event and got to hear from some of the local makers. We listened to their experience of setting up a Fun Palace, engaging others in the process and the difference it has made in both their own life and the life of their community. It was emotional and inspiring.
The numbers and testimonials in the report speak for themselves. Fun Palaces has developed a strong and successful method for bringing diverse local communities together around fun activities with an educational and cultural purpose that creates value, not just for the weekend but all year around.
83% felt motivated to become more involved in local projects and issues (see last pictures in the gallery above). The question then becomes - how do you keep this motivation alive in the community throughout the year? Their answer is to create a Fun Palaces Ambassadors Programme:
Our Fun Palaces Ambassadors Programme is running from 2016 to 2020, in five areas around the UK: Bristol, Cornwall, Scotland, Sheffield and Stoke-on-Trent. With support from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Wellcome, Fun Palaces and our partner organisations are bringing together grassroots cultural activism with Action Research to enable skill-sharing and learning.
The 6 Fun Palaces Ambassadors work to support Makers and develop cultural democracy, and are hosted by 6 partner organisations: Ceramic City Stories, Cornwall Museum Partnership, FEAST, Elizabeth Blackwell Institute (University of Bristol), Sheffield Theatres, Voluntary Arts Scotland.
We're excited to follow the growth of Fun Palaces throughout this year and in the years to come!