A New Look for Fun Palaces

When we started Fun Palaces in 2013, we didn’t know we were at the beginning of a movement for cultural democracy, we certainly didn’t know that in just three annual weekends there would have been 572 Fun Palaces made by over 10,000 local people with 214,000 joining in across 13 nations. The appetite for the work we believe in – community at the heart of culture, and culture created by, for and with local communities – has surprised and delighted us.

We have met thousands of people all over the UK and beyond who tell us that making a Fun Palace has made a difference to them personally and to their community.

There are no Fun Palaces without the local Makers, who are as varied as the Fun Palaces themselves. Makers may be individuals who come together purely to create a local Fun Palace, many of whom have previously had nothing to do with arts or science. At the other end of the scale, they may be arts, science, craft or digital venues which understand that to truly serve their community, they need to open their doors and knock down the walls preventing access – not just inviting the community in as ‘audience’ but as creators and curators, taking a leading role themselves.

We are very aware that one of the most useful things we can do is to shine a light on amazing work that is already happening, to say that not only does culture belong at the heart of community, but that it is already there, in every community, that identifying it simply means discarding our outdated ideas of what ‘culture’ might be and letting the people show us.

‘Culture at the heart of community’ also requires ‘community at the heart of culture’. For culture to thrive and become the force it needs to be in the 21st century, culture MUST put community at the centre of its work, of its planning, of its dreaming.

Today we launch a set of new images as part of our growing thinking. In 2013, illustrator Emily Medley created the original Fun Palaces design for us – based on what we thought people might want to do, create, enjoy, in their own Fun Palaces. The new design replaces some of the originals with illustrations taken directly from photos sent to us by actual Fun Palaces, people making and leading on arts, sciences, craft, tech, digital and sport, right where they live, whether as a professional, a volunteer or a passionate enthusiast.

We are passionately enthusiastic about the Fun Palaces Makers – and we’re delighted they are now an intrinsic part of our image.

Our new illustrations inspired by real Fun Palace Makers and activities (click to enlarge):

Our new Fun Palace illustration: