We Create began in 2016 as a collaborative venture between Hardwick Gallery, Take A Part, and residents of St Peter’s and St Paul’s with discussions around how we could work together to share resources and support and develop creative practice.

Through regular meetings an Arts Action Group (AAG) was formed. Drawing on the interests of local arts and craftspeople the group looked into artist commissioning, and in 2017 devised Love St Peter’s, Love St Paul’s to start conversations and connect people through arts activity, and to map creativity in the area. The AAG obtained Arts Council funding to commission four artists to work with groups of residents to investigate the rich history of the locality, through activist baking via Cheltenham’s historic ‘Dripper’ with Samantha Jones, film-making with Jack Price and young people at Bramah House (view the mockumentary, Bramah Drama, here), Thomas Goddard worked with pupils at Gardner’s Lane Primary School on creating the Museum of St Peter’s and St Paul’s, and Scott Farlow worked with local ceramicist Kate Anderson on the Mobile Clay Experience, which took clay dug from local soil into communities on a trolley and invited passers-by to make small objects. All resulting artwork was presented in an exhibition at Hardwick Gallery in September 2017. A conference, Cultural Dreaming, was held at the University of Gloucestershire in June 2017 which examined the role of the gallery in community activism.

As a result of conversations with residents during Love St Peter’s, Love St Paul’s, a further project, DIG! is in development for production in 2019. This two-stranded project will deliver a training & mentoring programme for local artists and crafts people, and an artist commission to devise a year-long programme of arts activities that will include growing food locally, and cooking and eating collectively. The project will culminate in a festival to showcase the year’s activities.

Please contact Sarah at hardwickgallery@glos.ac.uk or Tess at wecreate.cheltenham@gmail.com if you would like to join We Create or if you have creative ideas you’d like to see developed with the community.