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Turning Engagement Patterns Upside Down

Creative People and Places Executive Summary cover pageThis article explores the community engagement approach taken by the UK's Creative People and Places initiative.

The article provides an inspiring overview of the project, as well as linking to CPP's Executive Summary and Engagement Analysis. All three provide inspiration and resources for a new approach to community engagement that truly places the community first.

The CPP analysis (carried out by Sarah Boiling and Clare Thurman) found that the program found a way to genuinely connect to new audiences - "the Audience Spectrum groups least likely to engage with the arts overall are the most likely to be found among CPP audiences."

A few factors were key to the success of the program. As Sarah Boiling writes, "So, what did we discover? The bad news is: nothing new, and no magic. The good news is: lots of transferable practice and principles:"

  • Values and beliefs really matter
  • Involve people in decision-making
  • Invest in building relationships
  • Find the natural networkers
  • Make it easy
  • Speak their language

As one participant phrased it, "“It’s not somebody coming in to tell us we’re so uneducated we need to draw pictures!” 

For more information...

Read the article

Explore the Executive Summary

Check out the Engagement Mapping and Analysis


Community Engagement Resources from Doug Borwick

Doug Borwick is a US-based artist, arts administrator, and leading advocate for community engagement in the arts.

Nurturing Local Culture: Stories from Creative People and Places

The following is a summary of key learnings and resources from a virtual con

Power Up

"This think-piece by Chrissie Tiller unearths and explores some of the complexities and challenges of sharing power, drawing on thinking

Shared Decision-Making

This toolkit offers tips, tools, and case studies from Creative People and Places projects.


Will Weigler - community based theatre


Why - community engagement with youth and community Choreographer Keira Martin


Karen Kaeja - Green in the loveliest way

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