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Place Partnership unveil new vision for Warrington Arts Festival after £840k revamp

1 month ago

Place Partnership unveil new vision for Warrington Arts Festival after £840k revamp
Place Partnership launch

A vibrant new vision for Warrington’s annual arts festival has been set out following the launch of a £840k project.

Creatives from all over the north west recently gathered at Pyramid Arts Centre to learn about Culture Warrington’s ‘Place Partnership’ programme and the transformative change it will unlock within the town’s cultural offer over two years.

It has been made possible following a huge grant from Arts Council England, Warrington Borough Council and Warrington BID.

The game-changing programme will centre around a revamped, refreshed, renamed and rebranded Warrington Arts Festival which will take place between 19 and 27 July and celebrate the town through arts, culture, people and place.

A platform for creatives since 2010, it was previously known as Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival.

The new title is to reflect an ambition to make the event more accessible and wide-ranging as the word ‘contemporary’ was sometimes misunderstood or perceived as a barrier to people getting involved.

Place Partnership launch
Place Partnership launch

The main change that visitors will see in the first instance is a broadening of the festival’s reach with more accessible family-friendly installations and memorable largescale events that bring everyone together and aim to develop more of a sense of pride in the town.

But the programme has also created five jobs and three new project areas – ‘community engagement’, ‘artist development’ and ‘young people’ in a bid to reach both new audiences and emerging creatives.

For example, a Young Producers Programme has been launched to provide direct pathways for young people to upskill and access careers in the creative industries as well as retain and celebrate talent in the town.

The team are also actively engaging with communities across Warrington whose involvement with the festival and other Culture Warrington events may have been limited until now.

From neighbourhood groups in the districts around Warrington to the LGBTQIA+ community and Warrington’s Hong Kong community among many others, the goal is to make Culture Warrington’s work as inclusive and far-reaching as possible.

This, in turn, will help give more people access to Warrington Arts Festival and to shape the programme in future, as well as broadening the scope of Culture Warrington’s activities throughout the year.

Meanwhile, a new artist development strand will support and nurture creative talent in the area through a skill development programme. 

Place Partnership launch
Place Partnership launch

Four associate artists of varying disciplines who have close links with Culture Warrington – Marie Jones, Sarah Harris, Close to Home Productions and Night People – will also help guide the charity’s programmes while some of Warrington Arts Festival’s most popular and regular elements such as the Open Exhibition will return.

Leah Biddle, Cultural Director for Culture Warrington is leading on the Place Partnership Programme and Warrington Arts Festival.

She said: “This is just the beginning of a vibrant two-year programme that will transform culture in Warrington. The team have been busy meeting and consulting with artists, young people and the wider community over the past few weeks and we are already starting to see some exciting developments within our programme, 

“The aim of our Place Partnership is to strengthen existing cultural activity in the town, working collaboratively with the community at all stages to create more opportunities for the people of Warrington within the arts.

“The summer festival is already starting to take shape – we are identifying national touring work that is relevant to our community which we will combine with local artist commissions to ensure that Warrington Arts Festival is made with, by and for the people of Warrington.”

Warrington Arts Festival will take place between 19 and 27 July with the line-up to be unveiled closer to the time.

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