Fun Palaces is an ongoing campaign for cultural democracy, with an annual weekend of action every October. Tiny revolutions of connection created by local people sharing skills.
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.
FUN PALACES MANIFESTO
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.
FUN PALACES AIM
We aim to equally value everyone’s creativity and every community, through working together, handing over control and challenging the status quo.
FUN PALACES OBJECTIVES
– 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, remained 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.