Fun Palaces is an ongoing campaign for cultural democracy, with an annual weekend of action every October.

The campaign promotes culture at the heart of community and community at the heart of culture.
The weekend of action uses the combination of arts, craft, science, tech, digital, heritage and sports activities, led by local people for local people, sharing their own passions and skills, as a catalyst for community-led transformation, with active participation for all ages.

Our workshops and our Ambassadors Programme support our work with communities; developing local networks, enabling links between individuals and organisations, encouraging large venues to co-create with local people, and small groups to shout about their value as grassroots community activists.

We have pages for each of our years so far, with annual evaluations, short films and brief summaries of the work by people across the UK and beyond, creating in their own communities : 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018.

Weekend of action numbers since we started in 2013
overall : 1367 Fun Palaces made by approx 32,800 local people with approx 450,000 participants
2014 : 138 Fun Palaces made by 3183 local people with 40,000 participants
2015 : 142 Fun Palaces made by 2079 local people with 50,000 participants
2016 : 292 Fun Palaces made by 4800 local people with 124,000 participants
2017 : 362 Fun Palaces made by 13,750 local people with 126,000 participants
2018 : 433 Fun Palaces made by 9000 local people with 110,000 participants

We believe in the genius in everyone, in everyone an artist and everyone a scientist, and that creativity in community can change the world for the better. We believe we can do this together, locally, with radical fun – and that anyone, anywhere, can make a Fun Palace.

We aim to equally value everyone’s creativity and every community, through working together, handing over control and challenging the status quo.

– To shine a light on and value everyone’s existing creative skills and activities.
– To reclaim local and regional public spaces for all.
– To connect people (and organisations) to collaborate for change in their communities.
– To make the most of local, regional and national strengths and assets, including individuals’ abilities.
– To shift the perception of culture to one that embraces and values everyone’s cultural participation and production, and for resources to be apportioned accordingly.

In the early 1960s, Joan Littlewood and architect Cedric Price conceived the original, never-built Fun Palace as a ‘laboratory of fun’ and ‘a university of the streets’. It was to be a local building, home to the arts and sciences, open and welcoming to all. For many reasons it wasn’t possible in 1961 and the Fun Palace building they envisioned never came to fruition, there’s more detail here.
However, the concept of a space welcoming and open to all, led by and for local people, is a GREAT idea and since 2013 we have developed the weekend of action and the ongoing campaign now known as Fun Palaces, supporting communities across the world to create their own events, community-led and locally based, sharing the skills and passions of the people of that community. Co-Director Stella Duffy wrote this piece about the leap from the 1960s idea to now, explaining how the campaign started.

Fun Palaces HQ is Co-Directors Stella Duffy and Sarah-Jane Rawlings, and co-ordinator Ravina Bajwa – Evaluation Lead Kirsty Lothian is on maternity leave until summer 2020. Here’s a bit more about us. Contact us here.

This is Fun Palaces’ Environmental Policy written for us by Paula Owen.