Fun Palaces Ambassadors

Phase 1 of our Fun Palaces Ambassadors Programme was in five areas around the UK from October 2016 – October 2019.  With funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, and partnering with Wellcome, Fun Palaces and our partner organisations are bringing together grassroots cultural activism with Action Research to enable skill-sharing and learning.

From September 2019 to the end of 2024, with the support of The National Lottery Community Fund we are extending this programme to Northern Ireland with partners Big Telly Theatre, to Inverness/Highlands and Islands with Eden Court Inverness and to Wales with National Trust Wales and from 2021 to Rotherham with Rotherham Council, Gateshead with Sage Gateshead and Devon with Libraries UnLimited.

Here are a number of Ambassador Case Studies 2018 in Ambassador areas that co-created Fun Palaces in 2018.

The Ambassadors are already-engaged, already-active local people and organisations, extending the work they do locally and regionally, learning from the interdisciplinary nature of the programme, supporting and engaging with each other across the UK.

Our Ambassador/partner organisations are :
Bristol : hosted by Elizabeth Blackwell Institute, University of Bristol
Cornwall : Chloe Hughes hosted by Cornwall Museums Partnership and Jack Morrison hosted by FEAST
Scotland : Lewis Hou hosted by Voluntary Arts Scotland
Sheffield : Beverley Nunn hosted by Sheffield Theatres
Stoke-on-Trent : Danny Callaghan hosted by Ceramic City Stories
Prof Eleonora Belfiore from the Centre for Research in Communication and Culture at Loughborough University is also working with us as part of the project.

The Ambassadors, their colleagues, volunteers and host organisations come together four times a year to discuss their work, share local initiatives and to develop our joint work for cultural democracy. The learning we are gathering from this work is proving invaluable and we expect to have a great deal to share as we progress.

“We seem to be forgotten down this way. We seem to be pushed out because we’re a long way out the way.”  (Dave, ex-serviceman, Redruth food bank)
In the face of huge pressures inside Cornish Communities, Fun Palaces in Cornwall are a real attempt to stop the culture that sees people being told what to do and allowing people to do what THEY want to do.
In 2017 we saw people handle tools, paint, babies, machinery, cardboard, planets, lego, poppies, fishing nets, wind turbines and a wealth of other things.
People sang, played, danced, ate cake, drank tea and saw how other people make things work and we think 2018 will be bigger and more beautiful.
All this led to a kind of euphoria amongst those that gave precious time and made Fun Palaces.
It was a privilege to talk to these people about what they do.
Doing real stuff. Doing real stuff that really means something. Doing real stuff that really means something in real communities.
Contact Chloe Hughes at Cornwall Museums Partnership and Jack Morrison at FEAST

Ambassador Lewis Hou has been working over the last year to build links between science/public engagement and arts and heritage sectors across Scotland with his residency in Voluntary Arts Scotland.  He is trialling projects including long-term science-residency in a shopping centre, Leith Labs, providing microfunding for science-art engagement, and working with the New Scots community to build our understanding of how we can empower community groups. As well as supporting grassroots activities (including the Fun Palaces weekend), he is interested in documenting what works and what challenges there are for different groups in Scotland and feeding this into the broader action research and larger conversations such as the Scottish Culture consultation. Find out more: email Lewis Hou, or check Fun Palaces Scotland page here, @funpalacesscot on Twitter and Fun Palaces Scotland on Facebook.

Beverley Nunn is the Fun Palaces Ambassador for Sheffield, hosted by Sheffield Theatres.  Since taking on the role she has been primarily working to engage with and build relationships with community organisations, paying particular attention to areas that don’t ordinarily engage with arts and science.
As a community development worker, with 15 years’ experience of working at a grassroots level in Sheffield, Beverley says: “This is such a rewarding role, as I’m able to draw upon my skills and experience to get people involved.  I’m developing a Sheffield-based Fun Palaces network of makers, in 2017 we had 6 events across the city with a great deal more interested and ready to join in this year.  Exciting times are ahead!”
Contact Beverley here : Beverley Nunn

‘The Potteries’ is an area synonymous with ceramics & creativity. Grass roots led ‘small change’ action is an important & valuable ingredient within & without the city’s current renewal strategy. Ceramic City Stories is proud to be a Fun Palaces Ambassador. We have a strong affinity with the movements’ core values & ethos: community at the heart of culture.
We encourage, support & enable Fun Palaces in Stoke-on-Trent & North Staffordshire. There were 4 registered Fun Palaces in 2017 including: KT Lala (Hanley), Liberty of Cooking (Blurton), Dudson Museum (Hanley) and Secret Museum (Stoke).
Our local Ambassadors Programme is committed to year-round support for Makers and ongoing activities.
Are you interested in Fun Palaces 2018 & making positive change happen? Please get in touch: Danny Callaghan

The Ambassador role supports local residents, university researchers and community partners to catalyse and host their own health-inspired Fun Palaces across the city over the Fun Palaces weekend of action every October. Bristol Fun Palaces have included graffiti-ing health messages on YoBikes; covering the Bristol Ferry in health advice pom poms; taking over train carriages with portraits for mental wellbeing and making, felting, cooking and so much more across partner community centres. Follow us on Twitter @Fun_Bristol for updates